I can think of many reasons to put together a DIY vertical garden. Small outdoor spaces, cooling shade, fresher air (especially on a city patio) and privacy definitely top the list.
We built our DIY vertical garden not on an actual wall, but on a arbor that acts a little like a wall.
If you read our before and after patio post a couple of weeks ago, you'll remember we had a rather ugly old fence at the border of our side patio. When we removed it, we decided we liked the open feel, but still desired a small measure of privacy and property boundary.
Which made us reconsider building our DIY vertical garden on a exterior wall of the house and build it as a stand alone “wall” instead.
DIY VERTICAL GARDEN
- 2 – Ground Spike in Khaki (4 In. x 4 In.)
- 2 – 4″x4″x8′ cedar posts
- 3 – 2″x6″x8′ cedar planks
- scrap length of 4″x4″
- 8 – 1/4″x3″ lag bolts
- 1 pkg Hex Wire Netting 24 inches x 25 feet – 1 inch
- 3/4″ fence staples
- 19 gauge plated steel wire
- 4″ terra cotta pots (we used 35)
- small plants (30-35 depending on whether you'd like empty pots or not)
- potting soil
1. Make SURE that you do not have any utility wires or pipes running in the area you want to build your garden wall. If you are at all doubtful, call your local utility companies to come and check for you (it's free).
2. Measure out and mark where your posts will go on the ground. Ours are seven feet apart, centered on our patio space.
3. Using a sledgehammer and a scrap piece of wood (you don't want to damage the good cedar posts or the ground spikes) , hammer ground spikes into the ground at spots marked out in step 2.
4. Cut 4″x4″‘ cedar posts down to the height you'd like. Ours are seven feet tall.
5. Place one cut 4″x4″ post into ground spike and level (the ground spikes we purchased have a swivel top that is used for leveling). Tighten bolts in ground spikes to keep posts level. Repeat for second post.
6. Using clamps place 2- 2″x6″x8′ cedar planks at top of cedar posts (one on each side front and back). Measure and adjust if necessary so that overhang is equal on both sides and at each end.
7. Pre-drill countersunk holes for bolts.
8. Attach planks to posts with two bolts on each side of each post for a total of four bolts on each post. Be sure to stagger as shown so they don't run into each other.
9. Decide how many pieces you'd like on the top of your arbor framing, then cut and angle them to desired angles. We toe-nailed ours on top of the two planks, but feel free to do it “the right way” and use specially designed brackets. 🙂 Toe-nailing was cheaper and faster and they've stayed up straight just fine!
10. Unroll wire netting. Measure and cut to width between two posts plus a little extra. Because it is only 24″ wide you will have to use about three lengths (sort of stacked one on top of the other) total. Using fence staples gripped with pliers and a hammer, affix wire netting to the bottom of the back piece of planking (as shown above). Also affix to the back of the side posts as shown. Repeat and repeat again to give a wire netting “wall”.
11. Using small pieces of wire, attach each piece of netting together at the seam to create a solid wire mesh “wall”. Trim off any excess.
Now you're ready to add some lush greenery or flowers!
12. Using a small amount of potting soil if necessary, transplant your plants from their little plastic pots to the new terra cotta pots.
13. Cut 35 pieces of wire, each about 16-18″ long. Wrap one around each pot and twist as shown above.
14. To attach pots to wire netting “wall”, feed each of the two wire ends through separate hexes and twist together. If you find that posts tilt down too much, add a second loop and attach higher.
After about a month or more we adore our DIY vertical garden wall and have received many compliments on it from neighbors and friends. And so far the only drawback has been watering it everyday to keep the plants from drying out. We're already thinking of a way to make it self watering for next summer – maybe a pump, tubing and trough system?
Do you have a space that could use a little greening up? Or a patio that could use some privacy? Have you thought of building a vertical garden?