Vertical gardens are typically used as a decorative feature, adding color and life to urban cityscapes. But, many people don’t realize that the benefits of vertical gardening go far beyond aesthetics. Vertical gardens can help the environment by reducing urban heat, delaying stormwater runoff, and improving indoor air quality.
A vertical garden is also a practical way to grow food in less space, allowing you to maximize your growing ability in a small space.
The Basics of Vertical Gardening
When it comes to the “wow!” factor, no one does vertical gardening like French botanist Patrick Blanc, known as the “father of living walls.” His gardens run up entire faces of multistory buildings and large walls inside corporate lobbies. Blanc’s stunning vertical gardens are nourished by elaborate soilless hydroponic systems that keep greenery thriving.
These impressive projects are giving creative home gardeners food for thought. In the past, vertical spaces have gone bare on patios, decks, balconies, fences, and yards, but that is changing. There’s a whole movement blossoming to maximize those overlooked upright spaces and add new dimensions to your gardening palette. Vertical gardens for the home expand your planting space, turn walls or fences into focal points, and show off your garden mastery.
You don’t need to possess Blanc’s experience or artistic eye to create a vertical garden. It’s something beginners can do. “It’s quite easy for the home gardener to tap into living walls modestly,” said Susan Morrison, a Northern California residential landscape designer, Master Gardener, and co-author of “Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.” Morrison notes that she loves stepping outside and snipping herbs for the kitchen from the wall right next to her back door.
But Colleen Dudley, a senior horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, suggests that you ease into your first vertical garden. “It can be cool looking and novel,” she said, “but you might want to start small because when it comes to Automatic Self Watering Garden and plant maintenance, vertical gardening can be labor-intensive.”
Living Wall Plant Picks
When selecting plants for your outdoor vertical garden, take into account your USDA hardiness zone, and choose accordingly. Beginners can start with herbs and edibles, such as lettuces and strawberries, or look for interesting combinations of colors, textures, and shapes in local plants and flowers.
So for Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces,” follow these suggestions:
Succulents require little water and are low maintenance. Good choices include Sedum such as Carnea, Dragon’s Blood, and Red Carpet; Echeveria; and Crassula such as Jade Plant, Pygmy-weed, and Rosary Plant.
Cold-tolerant plants include Carex or Sedges such as Sparkler, Evergold, and Everest; and Heucheras or Coral Bells such as Caramel, Beaujolais, and Plum Pudding.
Trailing plants for dramatic effect include Dead Nettle (in a variety of colors), Petite Licorice, Limelight, and Million Bells.
Unlike the costly soilless method used in major projects, beginners first need to choose a container system to hold potting soil and plants. According to Morrison, the four to consider include tray systems, pocket systems, kits, and create-your-own solutions.
Trays have many grid-like plastic planting sections held together in a frame. You put the unit flat on a table to pack each cell with soil and a plant or two and then mount it on the wall. The cells are slanted so the soil does not fall out. These come in modular sections that can be snapped together to expand your living wall.
The pocket or pouch system works well for both Indoor smart gardens and outdoor plantings. These felt like pockets wick moisture to your plants while having a plastic barrier to keep walls dry. They come in a large variety of sizes and configurations.
Kits can provide just the raw materials for a framework that you construct yourself or a box with a planting diagram to show you exactly what to do. If you prefer instant gratification, purchase a completed “living picture” shipped with the greenery in place and ready to hang.
Not a kit type? Some inventive do-it-yourselfers eschew boxed solutions, instead of turning anything from a discarded hanging pocket shoe organizer, old gutters, or a dented teakettle into a vessel fit for wall-mounted plants. Your imagination is the only limit here.
Tips for Success Vertical Garden
For the highest rates of success with your vertical garden, monitor moisture levels carefully. Because the plants are growing in a minimal amount of soil, they tend to dry out more frequently than those in the ground. Many gardeners install automatic drip watering systems for their walls or choose to display them in protected areas that do not get full sun all day.
Another consideration is planting matching. “You have to make sure they will all do well with the same amount of water,” said Dudley. For example, although both herbs and succulents work equally well on living walls, herbs need a lot of water and succulents need little, and that makes them less compatible.
Grow Fresh Healthy Food patterns are also of concern. If you use trailing species, place them near the bottom so as not to shade out and kill what is trying to grow beneath them. Plants that hug the ground or are naturally dwarfed will stay close to the wall and take well to snipping and shearing. For a more attractive look, avoid plants that get leggy or have lots of woody stems showing. Add more interest to your design by taking into account the colors, textures, and aromas of your choices. Wanting to reach out and touch or smell your vertical garden elevates the effectiveness of your wall and moves any garden in new directions.
“Whether you live in an apartment, townhouse, or single-family home with lots of yards,” said Morrison, “we all have vertical spaces just waiting for us to exploit their potential.”
Best Smart Vertical Garden That You Can Buy
1. 6-Ft Raised Garden Bed – Vertical Garden Freestanding Elevated Planter
6-Ft Raised Garden Bed – Vertical Garden Freestanding Elevated Planter
Raised Garden Bed – Vertical Garden
- Easy to assemble with a perfect solution for a narrow space, with easy-to-follow instructions included, assembling your garden pots will be quick and simple. Each plastic hanging container measures 27″; provides suitable space for your plants without wasting precious space in a small apartment, balcony, or any other outdoor space. Grow a variety of herbs, seeds, flowers, succulents, or vegetables in an area at home.
- Modern and Aesthetic Ergonomic Design: If you can’t enjoy gardening due to hip and back problems, this is the product you are looking for. Having an agricultural garden has never been easier, especially for the elderly. Add unique beauty and style to your patio, patio, or patio.
2. Semblis Vertical Planter Raised Garden Bed with Extra Gardening Gloves
Semblis Vertical Planter Raised Garden Bed with Extra Gardening Gloves
6ft Standing Tiered – 4 Box Planters
- Grow Fresh Healthy Food (fruits and vegetables) – the perfect solution for those with limited space. The 1.6ft raised garden bed allows you to grow more products in a small area, such as a balcony, terrace, or patio. Or use it as an Indoor smart garden during the colder months. It’s a big jar of strawberries!
- Includes 4 boxes of pots, available in 3 different colors Growing a variety of fruits and vegetables all year round. Easy access for irrigation. Each flower pot box includes a lower filter to allow for efficient drainage.
- Gardening Gloves Included: Each order receives a pair of gardening gloves. These high-quality gloves have removable claws for easy digging. The combination of garden pot and gardening gloves is also a great gift package.
3. GRO Products CGS-2048-LG Color Vertical Garden Cedar Planter
GRO Products CGS-2048-LG Color Vertical Garden Cedar Planter
Planter Boxes, 24 x 48″, Light Green
- Independent Vertical Growing System
- Kit includes 3 removable 20″ wide pot boxes; can be moved to suit different plant heights
- Planter boxes include light green removable plastic liners with interlocking tank bottoms built here in the United States with western red cedar.
- Plastic coatings are made in Italy.
- Overall dimensions: 24″W x 48″H x 18″D; includes all mounting accessories.