Introduction: How to Make a Hanging Gutter Garden
If you want to have a more untraditional and bizarre garden in your home, why not try making yourself a hanging gutter garden. It is quite easy and cheap and it looks great. It is suitable for growing spices, strawberries or other shallow-rooted plants.
Step 1: Find Yourself Some Gutters
The idea of the project is that it is really cheap and affordable. You can always buy brand new gutters, but it is useless. If you haven't changed your guttering system and you don't happen to have old gutter pipes laying in your back yard, you can always go check the neighbours. You can also search at sites such as Craigslist, eBay, Gumtree or similar one.
Step 2: Clean Them Thoroughly
There should be no dirt, rust or flaking paint as you are going to grow plants in them. Be sure the old paint isn't lead-based as lead poisoning is a very unpleasant experience. You can use a power washer or a hose for the water treatment. After that, apply soapy water and scrub hard with a good scrubbing brush. Make `em shine.
Step 3: Paint the Gutters
This step is optional, but it is very beneficial and I wouldn't advice you to skip it. The painting will increase the gutter's durability and it will protect if from rusting. Plus, the whole idea is for the gutter garden to look awesome. Pick a bright colour that will match or contrast your home.
Step 4: Drill a Series of Small Holes at the Bottom
If you have pot plants you should know this step. The holes will be your garden's drainage path.
Step 5: Select a Suitable Site on Your House
Ideally it should be a sunny spot, protected from strong winds. The South wall of your house (North if you are reading this from Australia) is usually the best place. Your fence is an alternative. Measure carefully and cut your gutters accordingly.
Step 6: Attach Your Future Gutter Garden
This step varies, depending on the material you're attaching your gutters to. If it's wood, you can simply drill holes in the gutters and nail them. For cement or bricks, it might be a bit different. You should consult with your local hardware store on that. The bottom line is you have to tighten the screws and make sure the construction will stand the extra weight once you put soil in it.
Alternatively you can make a frame out of pallets like in the picture. It is more work-demanding but sometimes it can be the only option.
Step 7: Add Soil and Plant the Seeds
Pick a suitable soil for the plants you've chosen to grow. Have in mind that the gutters aren't very deep and whatever you decide to plant should have shallow roots. As said, herbs and berries are a nice choice, but you shouldn't be limited to them only. Don't fill the gutters all the way up with soil. Leave some space to protect the plants as well. Adding a fertilizer might be a good idea.