How to Design a Vertical Garden In Your Backyard

Gardening
Outdoor and Gardening
Outdoor Additions
By Contractors.com Team July 16, 2021

Everyone in suburbia has a garden, complete with a manicured lawn and at least a few sad little lawn ornaments. Some adventurous types might even have a little vegetable garden (gasp). If the past year of being cooped up in our homes has taught us anything, it’s that our abodes could do with quite a bit of sprucing up. And a lot of joy can come from spicing things up from time to time.

So instead of sticking with what’s known, it’s time to branch out to something else. It’s time to try something novel, modern, elegant, and classy. One way to do that is by creating an indoor/outdoor room. Another more affordable solution is a vertical garden. They are an interesting and rather unique addition to any garden that’s sure to make any cookie-cutter garden a cut above the rest. 

What Is a Vertical Garden? 

A vertical garden is a great example of how you can make the most use of the space you have. Unlike a conventional garden bed, a vertical garden is a trellis that is hung from the wall. Also known as a living wall, vertical gardens create a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to growing plants and reimagining outdoor spaces. A vertical garden bursting with color and luscious plants is very pleasing to the senses and can have a nice soothing effect. It’s no wonder then that living walls have been soaring in popularity in recent years.  

Everything You'll Need to Build an Indoor Garden

Everything You'll Need to Build an Indoor Garden

Aside from the visual aspect, there are many more benefits of having a vertical garden. For one, they take up relatively little space and are therefore quite versatile even if you have a cramped garden. They represent a great way of adding texture and depth to a standard garden in a way that’s affordable and easy. You don’t need to be a master gardener to create your vertical garden, and you don’t need a big wad of cash either. Vertical gardens can also enhance privacy by blocking off any gaps in your fence or wall and enveloping you in your serene green cocoon. A living wall can work well in almost any space whether you have a big backyard or a tiny urban garden.   

How To Set Up a Simple Vertical Garden Yourself 

A DIY vertical garden can be something as intricate as a huge, multicolored tapestry of plant life or as simple as a vine-covered trellis bordered with shrubs. Put another way, a vertical garden can be as complicated or as easy as you want it to be and that makes it a great project for novice DIYers who are still finding their comfort zone. Once you get started it won’t be long before you have your very own living wall.  

1. Choose a Wall

This first step might seem obvious, but it’s still quite important. The wall or fence you choose is an important detail because it determines how much light your vertical garden will receive, how big your living wall can be, and how it will look. 

Choosing the Right Accent Wall for Your Living Room

Choosing the Right Accent Wall for Your Living Room

As a rule, you want to choose a wall that is getting plenty of sunlight and is easily accessible. The wall also needs to be big enough to support your vertical garden and should be easily visible. If you’re being strategic, you want to pick an ugly wall that you can beautify by covering with plant life. 

2. Build a Trellis (Or Frame)

The most common design for a trellis uses PVC pipe, plastic sheeting, and fabric. To make a basic trellis, use ¾ inch PVC pipe, four-way joints, and elbow pipes to construct a basic rectangular frame. You can also use wood or even metal to build the trellis, but this adds extra weight. Also, wood requires treatment beforehand to protect it from moisture and insects. You want your trellis to be designed to hang on the wall via hooks, as this will make it easy to attach and remove as needed.  

Once the trellis is built, add plastic sheeting to the back of the frame, and then add two layers of fabric (felt carpet is fine) on top of it. This gives your plants a place to grow, helps with distributing water through the trellis, and acts as ventilation.   

3. Irrigation

A basic irrigation system is a must-have as watering manually is a bit of a challenge with a living wall. The simplest way to do this is to take a hose and perforate it with holes that are at least two inches apart. Then, take the perforated section and run it across the top of the trellis frame (use zip ties to attach the hose to the frame). 

This allows water to drip down and soak into the fabric layer, keeping your plants well-watered. Run the water for 10 seconds each day for optimal results. If you want to be fancy you can get a propagation timer to automate the process.   

4. Choose Plants for Your Vertical Garden

The rule of thumb when choosing plants for your living wall is that when in doubt, go native. Plants native to your region will do better than the fancy exotic stuff. If you want your living wall to survive the winter, be sure to get plants that can deal with the cold. As you select your plants, think about the look you’re going for. Some basic color coordination can produce rather marvelous plant tapestries.    

The Easiest to Grow Indoor Plants

The Easiest to Grow Indoor Plants

5. Get Clever

A fertilizer injector can also be installed that will send fertilizer into the irrigation system. This is a cheap way to keep your plants growing strong. Some of the water from the trellis will runoff, so place plants under the trellis so nothing goes to waste. 

Designing the Irrigation System for Your Interior Garden

Designing the Irrigation System for Your Interior Garden

Vertical Garden Ideas 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how many vertical garden ideas you can play around with. 

Wall Of Succulents

Succulents are like the Tom Hanks of the plant world: everyone likes them. Succulents don’t ask for much but they’ll give a lot in return. They don’t need much water, making them a good first plant if you’ve just started your gardening hobby. Once they reach their full size your succulents will reward you with some rich desert hues, a lot of texture, and many different shapes. 

Indoor Succulent Garden Design Ideas

Indoor Succulent Garden Design Ideas

Mediterranean Garden Wall

Lightly colored flowers are the best way to give your vertical garden some Mediterranean flair. Look for flowers such as Chinese Dregea, Rock Purslane, or Kangaroo Apple. Lightly colored flowers will help produce a bright “rainbow effect” that evokes a Mediterranean seaside. The casual look of this garden coupled with the rich texture makes for a look that just can’t be beaten.

Everything You'll Need to Build a Vertical Garden Wall

Everything You'll Need to Build a Vertical Garden Wall

Urban Green Alignment

There’s just something so modern and elegant about living wall planters in an urban environment. A nifty vertical garden can work wonders when it comes to transforming a tiny garden space into something unique and beautiful. The standard walled-in gardens in urban areas tend to be somewhat dark, so brighten things up with some greenery on the walls. Try to incorporate some reclaimed wood into your living wall design for an even more rustic urban look. 

Garden Additions That Will Keep Your Plants Healthy In the Concrete Jungle

Garden Additions That Will Keep Your Plants Healthy In the Concrete Jungle

Tropical Hideaway 

Of course, no law says you can only use native plants for your garden wall, so why not think out of the box if you’re up for the maintenance? Because they are so luscious, tropical plants do a good job of encapsulating a garden, especially if it’s small. The result is a serene little hideaway perfect for taking a break from the stressors of everyday life.   

How to Create Your Own Terrace and Deck Nature Hideout

How to Create Your Own Terrace and Deck Nature Hideout

Cool Alternative Designs 

Trying something means taking a risk, but it also means having some fun. If you like fun, you’ll love these alternative wall garden ideas

Terraced Vertical Garden 

Assuming you have the space, the tiered design of this setup can produce a really neat staircase effect in your garden. From a distance, it looks like the greenery of your living wall gracefully cascades down each terrace to meet you.  

Biophilic Terrace Design Ideas

Biophilic Terrace Design Ideas

Wall Pockets

If a big bulky frame isn’t your thing, there are other ways of achieving a vertical garden, and this is probably one of the most unusual alternatives. It is, however, quite simple to make. All you need are some vertical garden planters, which should ideally be made of synthetic cloth. Simply hang these on a fence so that they are horizontal and stick the plants in them along with some soil. With time, the plants will grow to cover the entire wall, especially if you choose grapevines and other such fast-growing wall-crawlers.

Zen Paradise 

To achieve this look you’ll need to go shopping for some plants native to Southeast Asia. Look for plants such as Pachysandra terminalis, azaleas, and get some bright flowers to offset the green. An authentic zen garden is distinctively minimalist, so no excessive lawn ornaments (in fact, no lawn ornaments is the better option). To augment the zen ambiance, couple the living wall with a rock garden.  

Zen Garden Designs for the Most Serene Nature Escape

Zen Garden Designs for the Most Serene Nature Escape

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team