Vertical garden: create gardens to airy heights


Ich habe einen Master-Abschluss in Gartenbauwissenschaften und bin zudem gelernter Zierpflanzengärtner. Das Thema Anbau lässt mich seit meiner Kindheit einfach nicht los: Egal, ob auf der kleinen Stadtfensterbank oder im großzügigen Garten - Gärtnern muss ich auch in meiner Freizeit immer und überall.

Lieblingsobst: Himbeeren
Lieblingsgemüse: Brokkoli

In the cities of the future, green façades are a permanent feature. However, a vertical garden can also find its way into your own home.

Planters above one another on fence
The range of vertical garden designs is as wide as your choice of plants [Photo: CGN089/]

For several years now, vertical gardening has been receiving more and more attention. Instead of looking for the space needed to grow plants in a flat area, they are cultivated upwards. Various constructions go steeply into the air and offer the possibility of growing plants on several levels. There are two main forms of vertical gardening:

  • Vertical gardening as façade greenery or as an indoor wall garden
  • Vertical gardening for growing vegetables in limited spaces, for example on the balcony

Vertical garden: wall garden for more quality of life

Whether in a modern skyscraper, on the façade of an old building or on the interior of an open-plan office – vertical gardens or façade greenery are increasingly finding their way into our living space. The vertical use of plants as a building element is the passion of many forward-looking architects. In models of modern future cities, green towers that stand out from the cityscape are an integral part. They are intended to improve the quality of life in an increasingly congested urban environment and also to clean the polluted urban air.

Stripy green vertical garden on wall
Bring dull façades to life with plants [Photo: Poring Studio/]

Now you could simply have an ivy or vine climbing up the wall and the façade greenery would be ready. But the innovation of vertical gardening on houses is that constructions are created through which plants can live in the air on their own roots, without having to climb the wall from the very bottom. Devices that provide space for substrate into which the plants of the vertical garden can spread their roots, are the basis of this sensational form of cultivation. However, in this case, the irrigation of the height plants can also be carried out by hydroponic systems. In this case, no organic substrates such as those based on peat are used, but the plants are only supplied via special nutrient solutions. No matter which substructure is selected for the vertical garden indoors or on exterior façades – the wall garden is always cost-intensive.

Build your own vertical garden for the balcony

DIY projects are just as trendy as vertical gardens, for example for your own balcony. What’s more, you can easily build even the towering structures yourself to grow ornamental flowers and crisp, fresh vegetables in a small space. At the same time, having your own vertical garden has several advantages:

  • Effective use of very limited cultivation areas
  • Cultivation (also of vegetables) possible in a very limited space
  • Possibility to make urban spaces greener
  • Decorative and cheerful eye-catcher
Vertical garden using facade pockets
Over time, the plants will make the façade green [Photo: Rene Notenbomer/]

Of course, there are a wide variety of ways to design and build a vertical garden yourself. The integration of an irrigation system into the vertical garden should also be considered because, depending on the system, watering is difficult to administer to the plants in need.

Possible constructions for a vertical DIY garden

  • Wall garden with substrate
  • Wall garden with hydroponic feeding system
  • Vertical garden made from pallet
  • Column construction with tubes from the hardware store

If you have a large wall space available for vertical gardening, it is a good idea to create a wall garden. However, this means intensive care and it requires a sophisticated irrigation system to provide optimal care for the plants. If there is less space available, you can easily resort to using pallets or tubes. These are also easier to install.

Vertical garden made from pallet or pipes

The use of pallets as a living element is absolutely trendy. And this all-rounder piece of furniture can also be perfectly used as a vertical garden.

Vertical garden planters using pallets
Pallet designs provide a solid framework [Photo: Dagmar Breu/]

A pallet becomes a vertical garden

Below is a brief tutorial on how to turn a pallet into a vertical garden for the balcony or terrace:

  • Place pallet upright edge so that the boards of the top side lie horizontally.
  • From the inside, staple some hessian to the top boards.
  • Staple pond liner from the back, bottom and both short sides. The upper side of the pallet should remain open to fill with soil.
  • Fill in substrate suitable for the plants to be grown. Since substrate should not be constantly replaced, it is advisable to use a rather nutrient-rich substrate such as our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost from the beginning.
  • From the front of the pallet, cut small slits in the canvas. These should be just large enough for the root ball of the plants to fit through and be placed in the substrate inside the pallet.
  • Water can be supplied either through the upper open side of the pallet or directly at the roots through the small slits in the canvas.
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
  • For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Learn more about growing herbs in a herb wall from pallets, how to build it yourself and plant it properly in our dedicated article.

Pipes from the hardware store become a vertical garden

The garden made from a pallet shown above looks trendy and makes optimal use of the limited space available. The disadvantage, however, is that the wooden pallet is in direct contact with the permanently moist substrate – just like the linen that holds the substrate in the body of the pallet. This means that such a construction is not made to last forever and will have to be replaced as soon as the ravages of time have taken their toll. Alternatively, you can create a vertical garden for the balcony using weather- and water-resistant pipes from the hardware store. These constructions are reminiscent of Mediterranean herb pots for balconies and terraces. You can find out how this is made here:

  • Procure some plastic water/sewage pipes from the DIY store.
  • A diameter of 110 mm ideal, lengths from 0.5 m to 2 m are well suited for a vertical garden. However, the higher the vertical garden is built, the more complicated it can become with regard to irrigation.
  • Make holes 3 to 4 cm in diameter in the pipes using a saw drill. These will later represent the planting holes – so choose the distance accordingly. From the point of view of irrigation, it is smart to put more holes in the upper part than in the lower part of the pipe.
  • If you want to dose the plants skilfully, you can simply put an end cap on the lower end of the tube. Otherwise, drainage can still be installed.
  • Fill in the substrate and insert the plants.
  • The longer the vertical pipe garden, the more likely it is to tip over. Therefore, it should be fixed in a suitable place.

No matter which type of vertical garden you choose, you will always have an eye-catcher and more opportunities to grow plants even when space is limited.