DIY Projects | Garden | Home Decor | Indoor Plants | Living Rooms

DIY Indoor Vertical Garden

Build a DIY indoor vertical garden for indoor hanging plants with this detailed tutorial. This living wall planter is a showstopper!

DIY indoor vertical garden: indoor hanging plants on a wall above a sofa with Boho decor

My first big social distancing project is a makeover of our TV room/ Peter’s office. I painted the walls the first week we were home. Then we changed out the legs on the Ikea sectional to give it a classier look.

And last week, I built this fun vertical garden. Quick note: these are all fake plants. I’m trying to keep the real plants limited to the main floor of our house, where they’re more likely to get watered. Also, I don’t want to have water dripping down onto the couch.

Aren’t Faux Plants from the 90’s?

It’s okay to have faux plants again. I know they’ve been out of vogue for at least 20 years. But they’re making a HUGE comeback- especially at my house. The key is getting nice quality ones that look real. Here are my very favorite artificial plants that I use in my own home and for clients.

One of the big challenges with faux plants from the ’80s and ’90s was that they faded easily, so a lot of them ended up looking more teal than green. No Bueno. But they’re making much nicer and more realistic-looking ones now. Click here for my best tips for decorating with plants!

Alright, enough about that. Let me show you how to make a hanging garden.

How to Build an Indoor Vertical Garden



  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • speed square
  • drill & bit
  • drill press
  • hole saw
  • chop saw or reciprocating saw
  • paintbrush
  • rag
  • orbital sander & 120 grit sanding disk
  • clamps
  • stud-finder

1. cut boards in half

My garden is 3′ wide, so I cut each of my 6′ boards in half, to give me 4 3′ pieces. I only used 3 of them, but the fourth was nice to have as a test piece for drilling holes and testing stain.

woman cutting board with a chop saw in a garage to make an indoor vertical garden planter

2. Measure & Mark Hole Locations

I wanted four evenly-spaced holes to hold four pots on each shelf.

measuring tape and hand with pencil marking board to make DIY vertical garden planter

3. Cut holes

My neighbor was kind enough to help me use his drill press to cut the holes. I was hoping there would be a quick and easy way to cut them, but in the end, the drill press was by far the best choice. Not gonna lie, this was probably the most intimidating tool I’ve ever used. But totally doable. If you don’t have a neighbor with a drill press and hole saw, a jig saw could also work.

woman using a drill press and hole saw to cut holes in board to hold indoor hanging plants in terra cotta pots
close-up of woman using drill press to cut hole in indoor vertical garden shelf to hold pots with faux hanging plants
hands using screw driver to remove wood cutout from hole saw on a drill press to make a vertical garden

We cut 4 holes in each of the 3 boards.

4. Drill Holes

I clamped each board down and used a 5/8″ drill bit to drill four holes in each shelf- one at each corner for the rope to go through.

close-up of hands clamping vertical garden shelf to workbench
close-up of handing using drill to drill holes in a wood vertical wall garden shelf

5. Sand

Sand the boards with 120 grit (or finer- the numbers get bigger as the grits of sand get finer) sandpaper. I used my orbital sander, but you could do it by hand if you prefer. Wipe it down with a damp rag when you’re done to remove the sawdust.

close-up of orbital sander sanding wood vertical garden shelf with holes  for faux hanging plants

6. Apply Wood Conditioner

When I’m working with a softwood like pine, I always apply a pre-stain wood conditioner. It helps the wood absorb the stain more evenly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blotchiness. And no one wants that! I used a disposable paintbrush and let the conditioner dry overnight.

7. Apply 1st Coat of Wood Stain

I brushed the stain on with a disposable brush, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, before coming back and wiping it off with a clean rag.

wood stain being applied with a paintbrush to vertical garden planters

The cut ends of the wood always absorb more stain than the sides, so I usually wipe the ends off right away. Let that dry for at least two hours.

8. Apply 2nd Coat of Wood Stain

I wasn’t quite happy with the color after the first coat of stain, so I added a second coat, using the same method as before, and letting it dry for a few hours. As you can see, now it has a much darker “walnut” color, which is exactly what I was going for.

brush applying 2nd coat of wood stain to artificial vertical garden planter

9. Apply Polyurethane

I used a disposable brush to brush on a thin coat of polyurethane to protect the wood.

close-up of paintbrush being dipped into open can of Varathane polyurethane clear coat sealer with vertical garden shelves in the background

It looks milky out of the can, but it dries clear. Again, let that dry for a few hours before moving on to the next step.

close-up of wet clear coat sealer on a n indoor living wall planter shelf

10. Cut Rope

Cut 4 equal lengths of rope.

lengths of rope cut to hang a DIY vertical garden with faux hanging plants

11. Tie Knots

Tie a knot at one end of each of the four lengths of rope. Don’t tighten them yet- there may be some adjusting to do later.

close-up of hand holding end of rope with a knot being tied to hang a  diy vertical garden planter

12. String Rope Through Holes

Use something sharp and skinny (I used a shish-kebab skewer) to poke the rope through the holes of the bottom shelf.

close-up of hand using a skewer to poke rope through a hole drilled in a vertical garden shelf

Put one of the lengths of rope through each of the 4 holes, and tie a knot underneath. Again, don’t tighten these knots yet.

all three vertical wall garden shelves on the floor, and the bottom one being strung onto rope.

13. Measure & Mark

Lay the shelf on the floor and hold one of the ropes straight up. Use a tape measure to measure and mark a small dot on the rope where the next shelf will hang. Mine shelves are ___” apart.

woman using measuring tape to mark the correct length of rope to hang an indoor wall garden with faux plants

14. Tie a Knot

Tie a knot right at the dot. Repeat this for all four ropes.

close-up of hand holding rope tied in a very loose knot to hold up an indoor vertical garden

15. String Ropes Through 2nd Shelf

String all four ropes through the 2nd shelf, and repeat everything until you have all the ropes strung through all three of the shelves.

16. Install Hooks

The hooks need to go into something solid since this whole thing is going to be relatively heavy. My tall dad helped me get the hooks in place. He drilled a hole first, then screwed the hook into the hole.

hand holding a drill, drilling into upper corner of a white wall to hang an artificial vertical garden
hands screwing a hook into the wall to hold up a vertical wall garden
two hooks in the wall, ready to hang a vertical wall garden with faux hanging plants

17. Hang Vertical Garden

man hanging DIY vertical garden on hooks on the wall

18. Adjust Planter Shelves

Now it’s time to futz with the shelves and get them level. Start with the top shelf. You can move the knots up and down to make adjustments. Hopefully your fingernails aren’t too short! This step turned out to be easier than I expected.

close-up of hands adjusting knots in the ropes suspending wood vertical garden shelves

It may help to set a level on each of the shelves. I also found that adding some pots helped weigh the shelves settle.

wood vertical garden shelf being measured with a level

Add Pots and Indoor Plants

Some of my plants are just stems, so I cut cubes of floral foam and stuck the stems into that to keep the plants in place. Here are my favorite faux indoor plants… and you’ll recognize some of them in this project (the plant in the pic below did not make the list- too fake).

hand placing faux plant stem into floral foam in a terra cotta pot

And It’s Done!

I’m pretty excited about how this one turned out! Peter even told me his coworkers have been noticing it behind him in his conference calls. Here’s the watermelon vine in the photo below.

side angle view of DIY vertical garden with terra cotta pots and indoor hanging plants
Boho DIY indoor vertical garden with indoor hanging plants in terra cotta pots
close-up of indoor DIY vertical garden with indoor hanging plants and terra cotta pots

More Plant-Lovin Ideas…

My Favorite Artificial Plants

How to Style Indoor Plants: 6 Designer Tips

Easy DIY Indoor Plant Pots

DIY Vertical Garden

Easiest Vertical Garden Ever!

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