Garden and Yard Care save space and water with vertical gardening

Published on January 10th, 2012 | by Vivian Nelson Melle

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Save Space and Water with Vertical Gardening

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If you are looking to try something new for your garden this year, or if you’re a grower with limited space for traditional gardens, vertical gardening is great option. Water-saving, space-saving, air-purifying  and just simply beautiful vertical gardens are increasingly popular for home owners and apartment dwellers, but it’s also a much welcomed feature of green buildings across the globe.

Not only is vertical gardening beautiful and functional for the home gardener, it’s a great way to green our cities and towns. Cities as diverse as Cairo, Manhattan and London have integrated living walls into their cityscape. Just like trees and other plants, living walls can help beautify the area, but also works to clean the air. Green spaces of all sorts are also important for boosting the happiness of residents.

{Related: How Houseplants can Clean Your Indoor Air}

Below some of the best examples of vertical gardening, including an awesome infographic for how to build a vertical garden with a pallet.

Sack Gardening

Sack gardening is a simple way to integrate vertical gardening into your life, especially if you have limited space. The sack has strategically placed holes where seedlings are planted in traditional soil. The sack is watered as needed with little water waste. Chicken wiring may be added for extra support and also allows climbing veggies braces on which to adhere. As the vegetables or herbs grow they are cultivated and can be replaced with new seedlings. This is a great solution for greens and herbs, especially those that are quick growing and won’t have to dangle too long! If you choose a totally natural sack, you can compost the whole project once it’s not as productive or when the cool weather hits. Here’s a tutorial for how to build a sack garden.

how to build a sack garden

An overflowing sack garden. Image from Appropedia.

Hydroponic Window Gardens

Hydroponic window gardens are another great way to bring the garden into your home, especially if you have limited space or if you live in an apartment. These gardens are quite a popular urban farming trend because of pure simplicity, the resourcefulness of it all, and the space saving features. Also, it’s just beautiful to see all that greenery when looking out the window, right? Most basic systems use stacked water bottles with strategically placed holes that allow nutrient-rich water to seep down to each lower level. If you are super crafty, you can rig up a water pump for automation, or if you like the process, you can manually water your greens. What’s not to love about a living art piece that re-purposed waste and produces food? Learn more about window gardens here on NPR.


how to build a hydroponic window garden

how to build a hydroponic window garden

Vertical Backyard Solutions

Whether you have space for garden boxes in your garden or not, every backyard can benefit from vertical gardening. Building vertical gardens or green walls in your backyard can make the yard feel more natural, provide food (depending, of course, on what you plant), and provide more valuable habitat for birds and bees. As long as you have a wall, you can find dozens of ways to turn them greener.

Some solutions call for using traditional clay pots, or making use of recycled bottles (like in the window gardening seen above), while others just look to find creative ways to grow plants vertically on fences and trellises instead of on the ground. Adding multiple pots beneath one another allows water to flow throughout the system with reduced water waste. Here’s a tutorial for building a trellis system from Organic Gardening magazine, and here’s ideas for building a green wall with plants growing out of sacks, reused containers, old windows and more!

{Related: Learn which plants are best for container gardening}

vertical gardening with soda bottles and trellis

Outdoor garden

Wall Gardening (Living Walls)

Using hidden mesh and wiring, wall gardens are a beautiful solution for growing greenery, edible plants or succulents in with minimal space requirements. They make stunning living art, and bring the great, green outdoors inside. Not only is it beautiful, it’s a fun alternative to traditional gardening as it doesn’t require kneeling or weeding, and no rabbits or kitties will be able to make it into a playground.

There are so many options for creating vertical gardens for your home. As this green trend becomes more popular, there are easy solutions to build your own or buy pre-made green walls. This article from Treehugger shares five easy solutions for green walls, and this post from Organic Authority shares a half dozen more ways to build green walls along with tips and tricks for growing plants and edibles inside. Here’s a cool infographic for how to build a living wall using an upcycled pallet.

{Related: Don’t forget to turn your trash to gold with these composting basics!}

vertical gardening

Have you tried vertical gardening? What ideas have you found useful and what materials have you used?

Image credits: featured image (orchids) from Flicker Creative Commons, window garden photo from of Ars Electronica on Flickr, backyard vertical garden image from basswulf  Flickr, wall garden photo from of Ivan Lian Flickr

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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a former educator and community counselor who decided to follow her dream of writing. She balances work to home school her daughter and enjoy crafting, photography, gardening, natural healing, cooking and anything that helps heal the earth and its inhabitants. She also writes for Green Living Ideas, Ecolocalizer, Mamita’s Creations and Phoenix Neighborhood Blogger. She is a writer for hire with a soft spot in her heart for non-profits and indie businesses.



  • http://www.barnyardproducts.com/ dave

    Great Article Vivian, Always looking for better ideas for people to garden in in small spaces. I will tweet this to my followers as well.

  • http://hometipster.com Hometipster.com

    Some really great ideas, especially for those who don’t have big gardens. Like the idea of the living fence as well. I’ve seen people make a living wall for the inside of their home, these do take a bit of looking after but the results are stunning.

    Nice read, thanks.

  • http://greeninsomanyways.wordpress.com/ Christi

    I really like the idea of going vertical with plants. We just recently bought the house we are working on and while we are not short of space, we do have an amazingly ugly privacy fense around part of the yard. The idea you showed for a living wall looks like a great way to hide some or all of it. Do you know what kinds of plants they used for it?

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/nelsonmelle/ Vivian Nelson Melle

      I think they look like greens, maybe types of lettuce? Probably herbs would be a good choice as well. The wall gardens also work well with succulents. I have a frame garden with succulents and it’s doing great.

  • http://simplicityinstages.wordpress.com Julia

    I’ve been wanting to do the plastic bottle window garden for a while now! Maybe I’ll be able to make it work in my next apartment.

  • http://fb304msociety.com Lynn Radford

    Blown away by the window garden . . . gotta give it a try. Thanks!

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/nelsonmelle/ Vivian Nelson Melle

      It’s gorgeous isn’t it? Sigh.

  • Cathleen

    Hi. I love the idea of a vertical garden. I would like to find instructions on how to make one and also on the window with bottles.
    Thank you for your help.

  • Cindy Clark

    Do you have directions/supply list for making the vertical garden wall? It would be perfect around my patio. Double Duty – privacy and food.

    • http://vibrantwellnessjournal.com Andrea Bertoli

      Hi Cindy- Unfortunately we don’t! This post was written years before I became Editor; I wish I knew how too!

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