Climbing Up: 10 Innovative Vertical Garden Ideas

September 18, 2014 by

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I often think of vertical gardens as the utilitarian cousin of the decorative container garden. You’d love a vegetable garden, but your studio apartment in the city didn’t come with an acre of land. Enter the vertical garden. Focusing only on the utility of these gardens often ignores their creative potential.

The injustice ends now. Rise to the occasion with ten innovative vertical gardens that will inspire you to create that small green space of your dreams.

vertical-garden-made-with-pvc-pipes Image from Crest Hardware & Urban Garden Center

1. Repurpose Plumbing Pipes
Nearly anything that has an opening to hold dirt can be used as a vertical garden and that includes plumbing pipes. Whether the pipes are metal or plastic, you can turn them into an artful design with off shooting pipes that almost resemble trees.

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2. Create a Living Wall
Scotscape Living Walls specializes in creating vertical gardens that are essentially plants growing on a wall structure. The company not only creates designs, such as the stunning one pictured, but it also takes charge of the irrigation system, as well. If you choose to build a living wall in your backyard, keep in mind that the integrity of the wall you build on will be affected, so choose something sturdy.

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vert 4 Image from Self Sufficient Living

3. Turn a Wooden Box Into a Vertical Garden
Think of it as a garden box turned on its side. With a wooden frame, wooden back panel, some dirt and a wire screen, you can have a beautiful garden hanging on the side of your house. For step by step instructions, check out the blog Inspired by Charm. These wooden box gardens are perfect for succulents, as the plants have shallow root systems.

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4. Use Hydroponics Indoors
Who says that gardening needs to stay outside? Forego the dirt and use gravel or water to create your garden indoors using a hydroponic system. While most indoor hydroponic systems span the length of a window, that’s not the case in this office space, which was designed by Biotecture who has their own patented hydroponic system to keep the plants thriving.

  vert 6 Image from The Possibility Blog

5. Turn Recycled Bottles Into Containers
You can throw those recycled bottles into the recycling bin or you can turn them into your own wall garden. Simply cut out the side of the plastic bottle and nail them to the wall. Then you can fill each bottle with soil and small plants, like herbs. This particular garden is in a family home in Sao Paolo.

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6. Create a Thriving Garden Using Florafelt Planters
Florafelt planters aren’t only designed to hold soil and growing plants. They also make sure moisture is distributed evenly across all plants, whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers or herbs.

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7. Shoe Rack
While cloth shoe racks might not distribute water like florafelt, they’re a great and inexpensive alternative to florafelt. And they look just as interesting.

vert 8 From Risse Greenhouse

8. Hanging Basket
Want to repurpose more of what’s around the house? Look no further than your hanging fruit basket. Or, take an old shower caddy and use that as part of your vertical garden.

9. Turn a Window Into an Herb Garden
Windows are the perfect place for an indoor garden, as you can control both the temperature while also giving your plants plenty of sunshine. To make a hanging garden, complete with terracotta pots (top of post), visit Homemade Modern.

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10. Mason Jars as Planters
Mason jars might be great for canning fruits from your garden, but they can also help grow your fruits, and herbs, too. To learn how to build this vertical garden, visit Camille Styles.

What’s your favorite innovative vertical garden?

Guest contributor, Kate Wilson, is an urban garden enthusiast who likes to think that she does as much with her 3×5 balcony as others do with sprawling acres. You can read more at her blog,, where she writes on writing and all things outdoors.

The freshest innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for urban gardens and stylish small places.

Visit Robin Horton @UrbanGardens's profile on Pinterest.