DIY Projects | Garden

DIY Vertical Garden

Build a simple DIY vertical garden for decorative succulents or modify it for vegetables, herbs, or flowers. It’s the perfect addition to any outdoor space.

image of wood vertical garden with succulents and sedum plants

Last year for my birthday, I asked for a patio makeover. And as part of that, Peter built me an awesome vertical garden. He even installed irrigation tubes! I wrote about the patio makeover last Spring, and everyone wanted to know how we made the vertical garden. So here you go!

The back side of our house is pretty boring builder-grade bland, so it really needed something interesting to break up all the grey. Oooh here’s a picture of the back patio pre-makeover. See what I mean? You can check out the rest of our one-weekend patio makeover here.

Here’s What We Used

Vertical Garden Structure

  • weed paper
  • scissors
  • potting soil
  • fertilizer (I use Osmocote)

Here’s a picture of the 2×4’s and cedar fence boards:

image of 2x4's and fence boards for vartical garden

How to Build a Vertical Garden

1. Cut the fence boards down to size.

We just cut these ones in half to make them 3′ wide. Our vertical garden has 12 troughs, so we needed 24 3′ pieces of fence board.

image of cedar fence boards cut down to size for vertical garden

2. Measure out the plant shelves.

Using one of the side boards, figure out how far apart you want your shelves to be.

image of 2x4 with lines drawn measured with a speed square
image of 2x4 with lines drawn measured with a speed square

3. Measure and cut triangles.

Using the speed square, draw lines and cut one of the pressure-treated 2x4s into triangles. You’ll need 2 triangle pieces per shelf, so 24 in our case. Cut the triangles with a chop saw.

image of 2x4 with lines drawn measured with a speed square

4. Screw the triangle supports into the long side pieces.

Line up the two remaining 2×4’s so that they’re side-by-side. Then line up the triangle pieces with the lines you drew on the 2×4’s back in step 2.

image of side pieces for vertical garden with triangle supports being attached

Use the drill to pre-drill holes, then attach the triangle supports to the 2×4’s with the 2″ screws.

image of side pieces for vertical garden with triangle supports being attached
image of hands assembling pieces of wood vertical garden
image of wood vertical garden partially assembled

5. Stain.

I stained all sides of all the pieces before we assembled them. This protects the wood from the elements (and especially all the water that will be dripping through this thing) and gives everything a more uniform look. As you can see in the photo above, the pressure-treated 2×4’s and the cedar fence boards don’t really match. We let the stain dry overnight.

image of woman staining wood vertical garden pieces

6. Attach the front fence boards.

Use 1 1/4″ screws to attach the fence boards to the diagonal front face of the triangle supports. Use 2 1 1/4″ screws on each side of each board.

image of man assembling wood vertical garden with screw gun
image of wood vertical garden half-assembled
image of wood vertical garden half-assembled

7. Attach the back boards.

Now flip the whole thing over. Attach the fence boards to the back of the 2×4’s using 1 1/4″ screws. There should be 2 screws on each side of each board.

image of man attaching cedar fence boards to wood vertical garden structure
image of wood vertical garden assembled on the ground

8. Mount the vertical garden.

We mounted a piece of 2×4 (the leftover piece after cutting all the triangles) to the side of the house. Then we attached the vertical garden structure to that. We’re planning to paint our house this Summer, so it will need to be easy to move.

image of man attaching 2x4 mount to the side of house with screw gun
image of wood vertical garden mounted on the side of the house

There are cracks at the bottoms of each trough, so I cut long strips of weed paper to cover them before adding soil. This will keep the dirt from falling through the cracks, but the water will still be able to drip through to the levels below.

image of wood vertical garden from above with weed paper

We chose sedum tiles and hardy succulents for this vertical garden, since the troughs are pretty shallow. Other more delicate plants would likely dry out during the day. If you’re hoping to plant herbs, veggies, or flowers, I would recommend modifying the plans to make larger, deeper planting troughs.

I tried to get a bit of variety with the plant colors- some lighter and brighter greens, some darker, and some plants with reddish tones.

image of hen and chicks plants ready to be planted in wood vertical garden
image of sedum tile ready to be planted in wood vertical garden

We added Osmocote slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting. I like to use it for all of my non-edible plants because it provides long-lasting nutrition and I don’t have to remember to fertilize them again all season. Pretty sure it wouldn’t happen!

image of child planting sedum plants in wood vertical garden

And we’re done!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

image of close-up hen and chicks plant in wood vertical garden
image of wood vertical garden with sedum and succulents
image of patio dining area with wood vertical garden in background
image of outdoor dining space at dusk with wood vertical garden in background and lit by string lights

more outdoor decor ideas…

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27 Comments

      1. What a beautiful design and easy to make. I ‘d like to make one.
        By the way, does it works well against wet soil and water ?

  1. Useless to me. It uses ancient imperial measurements. None else in the entire world uses inches and feet any more. Wake up and join the 21st century. Use millimetres!

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