Vertical gardens, really? This weekend I went on the Modern Architecture tour of homes here in Atlanta—after the 6th or 7th house, they were starting to look pretty identical; sharp angles, grayish colors, stone floors, and lots of glass. One feature caught my attention, however—so many of them had vertical gardens or living roofs. I was jealous. Why should these people have them and not me? Sure, they probably hired a landscaper to make the most perfect garden, but, I can have this too if I make it myself.
Started a vertical garden today, so pic.twitter.com/YM3CdQYfUr
— Sarah Lawrence (@whiskeyfoxxtrot) June 7, 2015
After seeing my tweet, several friends asked me how I put the garden together. I read several DIY posts before starting, but I wasn’t really pleased with how any of them looked. I come from the camp of people who like DIY projects but don’t want them to look like unskilled DIY projects. You’ll never see me hanging earrings on a used cheese grater, for example.
I started with 16 soda bottles—most of these were nasty Special K sodas I bought for $.79 each (sure beats $4 each for a flower pot) and dumped all of the soda out. One bottle was club soda, which is delicious, and I used a little to make some mojitos while I worked.
I drilled a hole in the cap so that water would be able to drain through.
Then, I tore the label off from the side.
I cut the bottom off of the bottle (as shown in the diagram above) and used my little drill to make two holes in the sides. This is to tie the bottle to the fence, but can help with drainage as well.
Once the holes were drilled, I grabbed some twine and tied each bottle to the fence. You don’t have to use a fence—most people use a wooden shipping pallet. I found this fence in the shed of my rental house, and figured it was cute enough to do the job. I also conveniently found some hooks that were perfect.
Now, here, you can trim the twine to make it look nice—I left mine long and just tucked it in the back, in case I need to move these later and don’t want to add all new twine.
Fill up the bottle partially with soiled—the plants do come in their own soil, but need some extra to grow big. I found a potting soil designed for planting in containers and figured it couldn’t hurt.
Next, I carefully placed my plants (cilantro, in this picture) into the bottle. The potted plants are roughly the same width as the bottle, so it takes a little bit of coaxing to get it in without ruining the herb.
Gently pack some more soil around the sides, and that’s it!
So far, we have tomato, jalapeno peppers, bee palm, aloe, eggplant, sage, lettuce, and cilantro planted. I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the spaces!
Vertical Garden Recap:
1. Either buy 2-liter soda bottles for cheap, or collect them from your friends for free.
2. Wash out the bottles, remove the label, cut the bottom off
3. Drill a hole near the top, and a hole near the bottom
4. Feed twine through the holes, tie to fence/wooden pallet
5. Add plants (or seeds, if you’re adventurous)
4 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Vertical Garden”
really fantastic.very cheap and efficient way of having vertical garden.
thanks a lot.
I’d love to see the plants full grown. How well did the tomato plant produce? How often did you need to water? I’m new at this and trying to figure it all out.
Hey! This was a few years ago so the plants are gone now, but they did do well! I think the tomatoes ended up outgrowing the container and had to be transplanted, but everything else did really well.