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Guide for Vertical Gardening Systems

April 12, 2020

Stylishly elegant or very easy to plant for yourself - gardens are a beautiful, modern and environmentally friendly highlight for every owner or even in every apartment. Even if you want to stay at home while letting your plant family grow, there are a couple of options to have in mind. Let us introduce you to different garden systems - if you want to build a new home for plants or upgrade your existing garden.


Garden Eco Systems Guide



  1. DIY vertical garden wall
  2. When a pallet becomes a vertical garden
  3. Vertical succulent garden frame
  4. Vertical garden ladder systems
  5. Vertical garden hangers
  6. Vertical gardening strawberry tower
  7. Vertical garden on a fence
  8. Plants are made for the vertical garden



DIY vertical garden wall

Vertical gardens are space-saving and green, simple walls. They are used both indoors and outdoors. Professional models have a sophisticated irrigation system, but are unfortunately quite expensive and use a lot of water. There are plenty of helpful options for your garden and it is cheaper if you build the vertical garden yourself. 

Furthermore, such a green oasis takes up very little space. It is placed vertically and can also serve as a living wall decoration. These are enough reasons to create a vertical garden yourself. Indeed, this is not very difficult and is definitely worth the effort. Well, at least if you don't plant over a whole house complex.


Vertical garden (green wall) in Paris. from r/interestingasfuck


Plants that are well suited for a vertical garden are, for example, herbs such as thyme, mint and others, as well as succulents, various types of cactus, moss, small flowering plants and even strawberries.


When a pallet becomes a vertical garden

Vertical gardens are space-saving and safe for greening indoors and outdoors. Even fruit and vegetables can be grown in the walled garden. They become more and more popular for people who live in a city. 

They don't take up much space, can be an appealing addition to your garden and you can be as creative as you want with it. The more creative you become, the easier it is to save money for your garden. Here's a guide on how to turn a pallet into a vertical garden for your balcony or apartment: 

What you need:

  • Wooden pallet
  • Paint or glaze to protect the wood
  • Brush for painting
  • Sackcloth
  • Pond liner
  • Soil
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors


My Office Pallet Garden is just getting started! Will update when the just-planted rows take off. (6b, but inside) from r/gardening


A pallet can be used or new. Most important is that they are not rotten so that they can withstand the weight of the earth and plants. You can also use an untreated palette. But be sure that over time you might encounter it to rot. To avoid that, you can paint your palette. If you want to maintain the naturalness, you can simply use a colourless glaze or paint your palette brightly. 

Set the pallet upright so that the top of the boards are across. Cover the boards with sackcloth. Staple the pond liners from everywhere possible, except the top of the pallet which remains open to fill in soil. Pour in a suitable substrate for the crops to be grown. Since substrate should not be continuously replaced, it is advisable to use a more nutrient-rich substrate right from the start.

Cut small slits in the linen from the front of the pallet. These should be just big enough that the root of the plants fits through and can be placed in the substrate inside the pallet. Water can be supplied either from the top open side of the pallet or directly at the root through the small slots in the line. 

The denser you plant, the more it becomes a plant wall. If you want to plant strawberries, lettuce, herbs or other vegetables or fruit yourself, you must keep a distance between the small plants so that they can develop and carry.

Your vertical pallet garden is already finished. Only the attachment is missing. Now you can attach the palette or screw it on a wall. The gap between the rear wall and the pallet is in most cases already tight due to the tension of the screws (especially if you have chosen a thick film). But if you want to be on the safe side, you can also seal the joints with silicone. You can cut the film on the front, between the struts of the pallet, where your plants can grow later.


Vertical succulent garden frame

As a unique eye-catcher, a picture frame with plants is perfectly suitable. Here you can find out how to make your vertical garden with succulents. If you only have a small apartment with little storage space, you are often restricted when choosing your house plants. Nevertheless, you don't have to do without the green roommates - by creating vertical gardens, you can not only plant houseplants in the smallest of spaces but also put them in the spotlight. How about, for example, a picture from succulents?

The robust plants are perfect for roommates because of their easy-care nature and become a living work of art in the vertical garden. We have put together all the tips and tricks that you should keep in mind when planting succulents in the picture frame.

Choose the right succulents

Unfortunately, not all succulent species can be used for planting in the picture frame. Plants, which usually grow long and upright, are particularly unsuitable for vertical gardening with succulents because they do not find enough stability. Even deep rooters are not happy with the limited range of substrates. Smaller, more herbaceous or creeping plants are better.  

Houseleek (Sempervivum), for example, is particularly popular because it is not only extremely robust but also varies significantly in growth form and leaf colour depending on the species, making it wonderfully versatile. But even the Echeverie (Echeveria agavoides) with its beautiful colours and its small stature is widely appreciated. However, some types of Sedum such as Sedum spathulifolium purpureum also feel comfortable as succulents in the picture frame.

Framing it right

Any deeper picture frame that is relatively stable is suitable for the design of a succulent-picture. You can use old or cracked picture frames particularly well. Since covering glass is not required, picture frames can be recycled whose glass is broken or has disappeared, but which are otherwise in good condition.  


Succulent frame I made during quarantine from r/succulents


Ideally, the picture frame should have a depth of three to four centimetres, as this means that more substrate is available for the plants. However, large picture frames should not be too deep (maximum five centimetres); otherwise, they will quickly become too heavy and can no longer be securely attached to the wall. 

Which soil do succulents need?

Succulents are considered particularly sturdy but have exceptional demands on their soil. In the case of succulents in the picture frame, it is vital to use a suitable substrate, since the plants have little soil available. The requirements are that the soil is loose but stable in shape, has functional drainage capacity, but can also absorb water even after it has completely dried out. 


Vertical garden (green wall) in Paris. from r/interestingasfuck


Also, the nutrient requirements of the succulents in the picture frame should be optimally covered by the soil. Regular potting soil, unfortunately, does not meet these requirements - instead, one should use particular cactus or succulent soil such as the Floragard cactus soil, which is adapted to the needs of the plants.

How to plant succulents in the picture frame

Planting succulents in the picture frame sounds complicated, but it's not that difficult. Only a few household products and a little bit of craftsmanship are required to create a succulent picture.

What you will need:

  • Wire or a fine-meshed metal grid
  • Wire cutters and staplers
  • Wooden nails and hammer
  • Moss
  • Succulent soil
  • Succulents
  • Plant stick or chopstick

First of all, the selected picture frame must be freed from its glass pane and the rear wall and placed face down on the table. Then cut the wire to the size of the frame. You can place it on the inside edge of the frame. If the wire is cut to size, you can cut off any excess edges. 

Now the moss panels are placed on the picture frame with the green side down. You have to make sure that all edges and corners are well covered and sealed. In the case of smaller holes or uncovered areas, you can simply shred a moss plate appropriately and fill in the spots. 

Now spread cactus or succulent soil over the moss until the frame is filled to the top. In order to achieve an even result, it is worth shaking the frame gently in the meantime.

Next, the back wall - or, if it is damaged, a piece of chipboard cut to size - can be reattached to the picture frame. Small wooden nails that are hammered in at regular intervals are best suited for this. Alternatively, you can attach the back with wood glue. If the back is attached, turn the picture frame over so the moss side is facing up.

It's time to plant: the succulents are carefully selected, and their roots carefully removed from the earth. With a plant stick or chopstick, make a hole in the desired location in the moss. Press the roots of the succulents carefully into the soil.

With larger plants, it may be necessary to enlarge individual meshes of the wire with scissors to be able to place the plant appropriately. The plants are now pressed on well, and single leaves are draped under the wire for a better hold. You should repeat this step until all plants are draped appropriately.


How to maintain the succulents

Succulents need a little different care in the picture frame then you know from typical houseplants. The plants need special attention, especially in the first few weeks. To ensure that they find the necessary hold in the substrate and do not simply fall out of the moss, you should first keep the succulent picture lying flat for two weeks until the succulents are rooted sufficiently. 

During this time, they should be placed bright, but without contact with direct sunlight. After hanging the picture, you can pour with a spray bottle. For this purpose, water is sprayed directly onto the moss every ten days (if possible without wetting the succulents).

Also, liquid fertilizer can be mixed into the irrigation water once a month in the growing period. In winter the watering intervals can be extended. Faded inflorescences and dead or diseased plants should be removed immediately - this does not work


Vertical garden ladder systems

Instead of expensive materials, you can use old things for vertical planting. As shown above, this means that pallets, wine boxes, old bookshelves and other furniture or kitchen utensils can be recycled and brought back to life.

Wooden pallets are one of the most popular upcycling ideas for the garden. They allow you to build various furniture and decorations. You decide whether you fill the wooden pallet with soil and plant it, or simply attach a few flower pots to it.

If you cannot build the vertical garden yourself, you can use the old ladder. Its steps are perfect for vertical planting, and you can put flower boxes, small flower pots and beautiful decorations on them.



Instead of throwing away the old chest of drawers, you can turn it into a creative garden decoration. For this purpose, place the chest of drawers in the garden and fill it with soil. Open the drawers in stages so that a waterfall effect results.


Vertical garden hangers

Instead of placing plants in pots or flower beds, they are stylishly hung on the wall using pallets or colourful disposable bottles. Sounds complicated, but it's worth the shot. 

Colourful green plastic

Plastic bottles have a bad reputation. In the world's oceans, they pose an immense problem for fish and plants, and in waste incineration plants, they create toxic fumes. Time to do something meaningful with them. 

If you want to recycle pet bottles, we recommend designing a green wall out of them. For this, the bottles can be filled with earth and hung on a clothesline. This vertical planting is perfect for the fence or an outside wall.

What you will need:

  • Sufficient number of plastic bottles
  • A large pair of scissors or a box knife
  • Tear-resistant yarn, such as fishing line or wire
  • Any number of plants of your choice or corresponding seeds
  • Potting soil

To fasten, you can either work with long nails and a hammer or use a curtain rod or a branch for other purposes. For example, a birch trunk looks very decorative and is a beautiful hanging point to attach the bottles to.

Preparation: Find the wall of your choice and measure the necessary space. It is best to sketch how the bottles should hang later. You should also think about the later suspension - not that the project fails due to lack of space or weak wall strength.

Let's start: Rinse bottles, remove labels, and let them dry. Lay the bottle on its side and cut a sufficiently large opening at the top. Round or square is up to you.

In the beginning, you can paint and decorate the bottles so that they don't hang on the wall quite as bare. Give the bottle a structure you like; a painting roller can also be used. Then mark with a pencil where the holes for the plantlets are to be made later. It's time to cut out and insert the plants. Carefully fill new soil through the bottleneck.

Now just attach the cord to the bottle and nail it to the wall. Make sure there are enough large holes when cutting, then repotting is easier or plant seeds directly. We recommend spray bottles for watering. Then neither the walls get wet, nor the water overflows. 

It is best to choose plastic bottles that do not have a green dot and are not recyclable. By continuing to use them, you give the bottles an additional benefit and protect the environment. 

 The alternative: Hanging storage for the door with pockets can also serve as a vertical garden. For this, the individual bags are filled with an appropriate amount of soil and then planted with herbs and different plants. 

The right spot

The bottles look nice in the apartment, for example in the kitchen or in the living room. The bottles on the wall can also be a nice highlight in the garden shed. Because they hang on the wall, they do not take up any space on your stand. It can also be a nice idea for handicrafts with children or in kindergarten.


Vertical gardening strawberry tower

Would you like your own and fresh strawberries? We show you how you can build a strawberry tower yourself in just four steps. A quick strawberry column without drilling and screwing.

Advantages of building your strawberry tower:

  • In the strawberry column, the fruits do not become rotten so quickly - they do not touch the ground
  • Your plants are protected from slugs
  • Many plants take up little space
  • The plants get a lot of sun in the strawberry column
  • You can harvest very early - the tube heats up in the sun 
  • The strawberry column is a real eye-catcher
  • Strawberry towers are perfect for small gardens
  • DIY is cheaper than bought
  • Building your own strawberry tower is easy
  • Upcycling of old materials
  • You don't have to bend down when picking

If you are interested and want to add a different approach to your garden, have a look at this simple tutorial:




Vertical garden on a fence

A vertical garden can also fit on a fence. Fence plants provide the necessary shade and have a calming effect on people. In addition to the relaxation effect, green walls improve the urban microclimate. The green balcony privacy screen also fulfills a safety and wind protection function.

Plants on the fence can be used as a boundary for balconies as well as for terraces or gardens. The balcony privacy screen should, of course, also correspond to the taste of the owner and, last but not least, optimally match the living style.


The fencing outside this restaurant is also a vertical succulent garden. from r/mildlyinteresting



Plants are made for the vertical garden

If you want to have less work, you should choose plants for your vertical garden that need little water, e.g. succulents. However, these grow very slowly, so that a densely overgrown green wall will not arise. But if that's your goal, you should use larger plants that quickly cover gaps, such as ferns. Climbing plants are also ideal. Flowering perennials and herbs are often used outdoors, while the green lily and ferns are used indoors. An edible vertical garden is also possible, e.g. with vegetables or fruit. 

Since the boxes and pallets are extremely stable and can also be placed on the floor, almost all plants are possible. Small and easy-care plants are more suitable for the living room, otherwise grasses, heather or climbing plants look very nice. A nice highlight for the apartment: strawberries.

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