Picture of Plant tower made out of PVC pipe (15 pockets)

In this instructable I'll try to show you how to build a planting tower out of 1 meter of PVC pipe. The planting tower can be used (based on the diameter) for strawberries, lettuce, (bigger pipes) pansies and other small summer flowers (smaller diameters)
I made a couple of them already and the minimum diameter is 125mm otherwise there is not much room for soil anymore.

The hardware:


  1. 1 meter pipe min. 125mm diameter
  2. 1 pc endcap for your tower
  3. Optional a irrigation pipe (32-50mm depending on your tower)
  4. A plastic cap to plug the irrigation pipe
  5. An old T-shirt or old piece of long cloth
  6. Steel wire
  7. A small strip of (waste) cardboard
  8. Some small screws




  1. Marker
  2. Ball point
  3. (Foldable) Ruler
  4. Plumb line
  5. Heat Gun
  6. Garden gloves (with leather patches)
  7. Multi tool
  8. Drill


Ready to get started?

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Step 1: Preparing your PVC tube (I)

Picture of Preparing your PVC tube (I)

First you determine the 4 sides of your PVC tube. This can be easily done by calculation Pi * outer diameter / 4. In my case the outer diameter is 200mm

3,14159 * 200 / 4 = 157,07mm or 15,7 Cm.

Now you take your scrap piece of cardboard and cut out a piece of 15,7cm long and mark the center of this piece of cardboard. (You are going to use this piece of cardboard later)

Put a random mark on top of the pipe and use the cardboard strip to put the next mark 15,7cm further and than the next and the next. You should be ending at approx your first mark. Mark one line as "Front" and two marks as "Side" the back isn't used.

Use a plumb line or something similar to copy the marks to the other side of the pipe.

Step 2: Set out your grid

Picture of Set out your grid

The next step is to set out your grid.

Take the foldable ruler and place over the two adjecent lines and fix it with a clamp.

Start with the "Front"

Place your first mark at 20cm from the top, the 2nd, 3rd, 4rth and 5th 15cm apart

Then do both the sides

Place your first mark at 27cm from the top the 2nd, 3rd, 4rth and 5th 15cm apart

brunasco made it!2 months ago

Nice work!, I made it with a 4" PVC pipe and just 4 pockets, a want to put a strawberry in the upper side, what do you think?

Thanks for yor idea :)

algert555 (author)  brunasco2 months ago

Hi! This was my Version one as well. but it turns out that the Irrigation pipe doesn't work with smalle diameters. Personally I also figured that the irrigation pipe does not bring the desired effect. So I decided to leave it out for next years use..... The irrigation pipe is taking up precious soil space for the roots to grow.. and the water drains very rapidly to only the the bottom pockets... :( but hey.. That is what designing all about, finding ways that don't work untill you find a way that works! :)

Good luck with it

Yomamakaren10 months ago

Yo! your design inspired me...4" pvc and some connectors...

ristivojevic11 months ago

LOL, I start making it from steel pipe. I don't read a headline and instructions, and now I see it's made from PVC pipe, I tortured with steel and it's no good idea!! xD nice work

Chicken Spit11 months ago
I'm not usually one to care much, but since everyone is worried about the possible dangers of PVC, it should be noted that the pipe pictured is made of ABS.
hamachikama11 months ago

Very nice design, but PVC is better avoided when growing food.

From a quick google: "According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen."

Now that I have 2 little ones to feed I take this kind of thing seriously so I've avoided PVC when building self-watering containers even though it would have been very handy. And just because PVC is used in some food packaging, to me that is not enough assurance that after long days in the hot sun you are not having some of those nasty chemicals leeching leeching out.

You can paint this with Food Grade Shellac if you have issues (as I do) with PVC.

foobear11 months ago

so coool! I heard that once PVC catches fire there's no way to put it out! Haven't had that happen yet personally. Your design is very modern looking. voted

hjig11 months ago

Very cool. I'd suggest painting the tower white to reflect light to all areas of the grow.

AmyLuthien hjig11 months ago

Actually, a good argument could be made for leaving it dark. If you've got it outside and plant it in the spring, the darker color would absorb heat, keeping the plant roots warmer. As the season progresses and the plants grow, they will naturally shade the tower and keep it cooler. Reflecting light to the undersides of low-growing plants isn't going to do much by way of encouraging growth, but warmer roots when it's cool and cooler roots when it's hot, will. ;)

Rohit.Agrawal11 months ago

Just brilliant idea, Great work, thanks for sharing. I am shifting to new house next month, don't know how would I wait till that time to create something like this in all corners.

Pattymouth11 months ago

This is seriously wonderful! I might just get brave enough to do this!

mhfleenor11 months ago

Great project and instructable. Thanks for sharing the idea. I've not tried the project, but I wonder if you could use a terracotta pot or short sections of appropriate size pipe to make both the indention and cup in a single step, after the necessary heating, of course. It might be necessary to initially stretch the plastic to form the indention and the cup, but then use a pot or pipe section to hold the shape as the plastic cools. Great project for spring. Thanks, again!

algert555 (author)  mhfleenor11 months ago
great idea, haven't thought about that earlier but definitely worth the try. currently I'm preparing a new project and will try to finish that one first. is going to be a MKI so takes some time to figure the best setup. ;)
billbillt11 months ago


h1s0k411 months ago

you are a genius !

algert555 (author) 11 months ago

The use of PVC is disputed worldwide but everybody is free to make up his own mind. If you would like to protect your small ones you can still consider making this and plant summer flowers like pansies or what else might be around this time of year.

Good luck!

chemhere11 months ago

Waal, quite impressive design!! I like it.

lsmith25411 months ago

Nice the paint job, too. I painted mine shades of green with a fern leaf stencil, and instead of t-shirt wrap on the inner tube, I used some fiberglass screen and cinched it with zip-ties. Mine actually had staggered drilled holes, but I wanted it to turn out like yours-my heat gun would not heat sufficiently. I guess a torch would be dangerous but I was tempted to use one to heat the PVC. Thanks for reminding me I need to make more! ; )

algert555 (author)  lsmith25411 months ago
on a side note.... you'd might consider moulding two more cups on the side as there is some space but im using that space as a filling area for water. to soak level 1,2,3
algert555 (author)  lsmith25411 months ago
:) on the std 125mm pipe any heatgun would do. the black colour is actually the colour of the pipe. so called recypipe and is quite a thing to work on. a torch wouldn't do much good to the material and not to mention the fumes you'd might create. so that means a new heat gun with nuclear capabilities. mine though was a std 2000w heater. my MKI was also one with holes. MKII was the grey one MKIII is the black one
Ironwave11 months ago

I like it. Good job.

algert555 (author) 11 months ago

里面的泥土不会掉出来么 = Inside the soil will not fall out of it

No, Won't fall out as the soil of each cup is kept in position by de dent above it, and the soil in the cup is contained in the cup itself

electro1811 months ago
awesome idea ! it looks really great :) Voted .
heyun-china11 months ago