For as long as we can remember, gardens and potted plants have always been formed into horizontal shapes and angles. Much to our delight, some creative peeps out there have thought outside the pot and presented the world with this brilliant, one-of-a-kind idea: Vertical gardens !
The process of building vertical garden isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. All you need is good equipment, material and some effort. And as always, we’re here for sincere help to walk you through the project.
1. Choose a Wall
The name itself is suggesting what you’re gonna expect: a garden literally placed onto a wall. Unlike horizontal gardens, vertical versions don’t occupy much space but you’re really gonna put some effort to build it for once and for all. First step of this project: choose your wall.
Keep in mind that your wall of choice should be durable enough to support and hold the heavy garden in place. Plus it should be located in a sun-catching corner because vertical or not, plants do require sunlight to survive and thrive.
2. Build a Frame
This structure will form the backbone of your garden. You can build the garden directly onto your wall, but we recommend the portable version where you can simply hang it wherever you want and take it down anytime.
A frame will hold your settings and plants together. To hold everything intact, the frame must consist of a fierce three-layer sheet of plastic sheets and fabric. Measure the dimensions, build the frame and secure sheets.
Use stainless steel screws (or hooks, for portable garden) to secure the frame onto the wall. Make sure to use durable material to avoid collapse.
Tip: It’s recommended to use ¾ inch PVC pipes with elbows for the main frame. You’ve probably thought of wood or metal, but there will be issues of moisture with wood and metal will be way too heavy and expensive. Go with plant-safe plastic or polished and cured wood if you insist, to avoid further problems.
3. Attach Plastic Sheet
First layer of the frame should be a thick and durable plastic sheet; this establishment will hold in the moisture and prevent humidity to travel through the frame and possibly damage the wall. PVC sheets are perfect for this matter.
4. Setup Irrigation System.
A main difference between vertical and horizontal gardens is about the watering. For horizontal pots, all you need to do is pour adequate amount of water onto the soil and plant will be fine; but imagine what a mess that method will create in a vertical garden! Don’t get discouraged, this is what tube irrigation systems are for.
Drippers with proper circulation settings will work best for vertical gardens. You can purchase poly tubing drippers at local irrigation shop. Make sure to also equip it with a timer so watering will be done at certain intervals, this will help with meeting requirements and avoiding excessive saturation problems. Install tubes and drips at the top of your frame and secure drippers in place. When done correctly, water will drip down and travel all through the sheets and plants will be irrigated just fine.
5. Add Fabric Layers.
This is basically where your plant roots will be at, so a rather dense fabric is required to preserve adequate water and hold roots in place. We recommend you to use carpet pads, but any material that’s able to hold water will work just fine.
There should be two layers of fabric installed onto the frame to ensure plants’ safety and proper irrigation. Secure the fabrics in place using stainless steel screws or staples, and stretch the fabric as you go so it will end up in a completely solid and smooth surface. Wrinkles may induce rotting and mold, thus you’d want the layers to be as smooth as possible.
6. Choose Your Plants
Final and probably the most fun part of establishing a vertical garden. Consider environmental conditions when choosing your plants; check the amount and intensity of light, make sure temperature is optimal and the breeze doesn’t blow too hard. If you’re planning to place the vertical garden outdoors, it’s a wise idea to make it detachable so you’ll be able to move it indoors during cold seasons.
Plants such as vines, spider plants, hostas, iberis, phlox and crawlers will look and do perfect on vertical settings. Try to choose native plants for more durability.
7. Insert Plants in Place
To insert the plant onto the garden, get a razor blade and cut a horizontal slit into the top layer. Gently wipe soil off the plant’s root, get it as clean as possible and carefully insert the roots into the slit. Secure the plant in place by stapling the edges of slit. Then create a stapled semi-circle around the root area. This will sew together the layers, providing enough room for the root to receive water and grow. Remember to always use stainless material for your vertical garden.
You can arrange your plants in zig-zag or vertical rows, any shape will be fine as long as you provide enough space for each plant.
Last but not least, remember to trim your plants once in a while to prevent the risk of heavy plants collapsing. With enough care, your vertical garden will be able to shine brightly for prolonged times!