How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens
“Vertical gardening saves time and work, allowing you to spend less time tending and more time enjoying your garden.”
Derek Fell, author ‘Grow Up, Not Out, For More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space’
In Part 1, we looked at some creative vertical structures to help you grow plants ‘up’ and save space in your garden. This post inspires you with more ideas on how to use two other types of vertical structures – ones to grow down and stackable systems.
Growing Down (Top-down Planting)
These vertical garden structures make the most of ‘aerial space.’ They are ideal for those living in apartments or where a ceiling, fence or railing can be utilised to make the most of the overhanging space. Use hooks and brackets to mount these vertical garden systems but make sure you check the strength of the support structure first and the weight limit for the hooks.
- Upside down grow bags (also known as Topsy-Turvy planters) – eliminate the need to weed or stake plants like tomatoes and are a good solution for those with poor (or no) soil or very limited space.
- Hanging baskets – can be positioned at different levels or hung in tiers and make excellent use of aerial space. Can be used as a vertical screen to increase privacy, add shade and colour.
- Wall mounted planters – while these planters are used for displaying and growing plants that cascade down, often the wooden or metal containers are decorative, focal points in themselves. They can be used indoors or out to help bring dull walls and rooms to life. Here are some examples:
Recycled bag planters by Lenny Librizzi
- Deck or balcony railing planters – available in a variety of sizes and styles that either sit on top of the railing or rest in brackets mounted on railings. They increase your planting area along the length or in corners of decks or balconies. Some railing planters are intended to hold pots, while others can be planted directly and planter styles include straight, corner and even stacking shapes. Available in a wide variety of materials including wood, resin, fiberglass and metals in different widths and lengths. They are ideal for low and trailing plants and can add height to railings for privacy.
- Window boxes – although originally designed to sit on a windowsill with plants cascading down, they can also be attached to the wall below a window or hung off balcony railings. One of the benefits is the convenience of reaching out to harvest fragrant edible herbs or an eye feast of colourful flowers from indoors.
You can imitate nature where you find understories and canopies and plants that grow in nooks and crannies, by taking a layered approach to maximise vertical growing space.
Some options include:
- Multi-tiered shelving – all sorts of furniture items have suitable shelves or you can make your own.
- Tiered stackable planter systems like this Stack-A-Pot with a self-watering system and drip tray are neat self-contained mini gardens.
- Greenhouses and shade houses with shelves are a tiered growing system. Many are now small enough to fit on a balcony.
- Planter boxes – available in a variety of sizes, they can be positioned in tiers to maximise a tiny space like a balcony or verandah.
- Strawberry and herb pots with multiple planting holes make practical micro gardens, maximising use of vertical space even in a container.
- Raised garden beds - a popular choice in many small gardens – particularly those that have no or poor soil, raised beds can also be terraced to stack one space on top of another, maximising the growing area. This vertical solution also suits sloping gardens which naturally lend themselves to terracing with raised beds. With pavers or stepping stones in between for access, this opens up the possibilities to what you can grow!
- Ladders and plant stands – with a little imagination, you can create plant stands with anything that has steps.
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Want more space saving garden ideas? If you missed it, read Add Space with Creative Vertical Gardens: Part 1; 12 Reasons Why You Should Garden Vertically and 15 Helpful Design Tips for Vertical Gardens. You can find more Clever Design Ideas in the Container Gardening category.
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