Small-Space Dwelling: Vertical Gardens

Maximize your green with a garden that grows up instead of out.

By: Rebecca Orlov

One of our favorite small-space tips is to “go vertical,” using wall space to add style and dimension to a room. Now that it’s officially summer, we thought we’d take this idea outside and freshen up a small balcony or patio with a dose of DIY. Vertical gardens, which started popping up in the design world a few years ago, allow you to add some color and natural texture to your space without sacrificing valuable patio real estate.

Here are three easy, affordable projects that will allow you to create a vertical garden with your own personal design stamp.

DIY Wood Palette Garden

Photograph by Rebecca Orlov.

Pick up a palette at your local home store (tip: be sure to ask to if it was sprayed with any chemicals, which would be best to avoid). Lay the palette down to get started. Next, attach a garden liner to the bottom of the palette, then add soil and small plants. In a few weeks, once the plants have taken root, you can move your palette garden to a vertical space, like an exterior wall.

DIY Geometric Hanging Garden

Photograph by Rebecca Orlov.

If you have a free weekend, you can accomplish this project in a few hours. Pick up a few thin wooden sheets at a home-goods store. Cut four shapes (we like rectangles, but you can use any shape you’d prefer): three for the bottom basket to hold the plant and one for the top to hang the planter. Fasten together all of the pieces using wood glue and nails. Paint your planter and then line the basket with garden liner. Add your favorite plants and hang the DIY garden using hooks and wire.

DIY Vertical Herb Garden

Photograph courtesy of Brooklyn Limestone.

We spotted this one on Brooklyn Limestone, a popular design blog. The blog’s author, Stefanie Schiada, wanted a stylish way to grow fresh herbs in her small outdoor space. Using wood and terra cotta pots from a local home store, she put together this vertical board, which has a cool flower box, as well. Consider using just the board and pots for an inside version—perfect for hanging on a wall.