Introduction: Portable Pvc Vertical Garden

Picture of Portable Pvc Vertical Garden

A practical and economic solution to build our own vertical garden inside of our houses

Step 1:

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You gonna need:

- Pvc tube with a 11cm diameter (or near) and 60cm (length).
- 2lts plastic bottle
- Saw
- Drilling machine
- Paper tape
- Tape-measure
- Utility knife
- 1 Bolt and screw (about 0.5cm diameter)
- Marker

Step 2:

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Mark 20 and 40 cm in your pvc tube with the paper tape.

Step 3:

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Make two cuts until the middle of the tube.

Step 4:

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Heat up the tube in your stove. Be careful, you don´t need to place the tube very close to the flame.
Concentrate the heat in the zone above the cuts.

In case you have a powerful hairdrier or a hot air gun, you can use one of these to heat the tube in a more controlled and safer way.
I've chosen the stove because it was more practical for me.

Step 5:

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Push the heated zone inside, making two apertures ( creating the space where you will put your plants).

Step 6:

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Make two holes in the back of the tube.
One in the top and the other one in line with the lowest cut (see in the next image how it should look).

Step 7:

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The top hole serves to hang the tube on the wall.
The one lined up with the last aperture serves to hang the plastic bottle (which will function as a earth deposit-see next step).

Step 8:

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Cut the 2lt plastic bottle, as shown in the picture. It should have the same height as the bottom earth container (about 20cm).

Step 9:

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Make a hole in the bottle (about 2cm below the cut). The hole should be big enough to fit the screw-see next image.

Step 10:

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The screw will unite the tube with the half bottle (that shall be filled with gardening soil).

Step 11:

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Unite screw and thread.

Step 12:

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The bottle cap should be near the end of the tube

Step 13:

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For a better aesthetic, paint the vertical garden with a spray can (preferably, use low pressure acrilic paint).

Step 14:

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Ready to be filled up with gardening soil and plants of your choice. If you are going to keep it inside your home, i recommend herbs like mint, peppers, thyme,etc.

Step 15:

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I add this buckle to the vertical garden, just to optimize it's transportability.
The next steps will show how you can make yours

Step 16:

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To add the buckle you will need:

- a stripe (of leather, plastic, choose your material).
- eyelets (about 0.5cm inside diameter)
- knocker

Step 17:

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Cut a strip (about 55cm-minimum)

Step 18:

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Do two holes- one in the top and one in the bottom of the stripe.

Step 19:

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Apply the two eyelets- one in each hole.

Step 20:

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and that's it, it's done! Hold the stripe with two screws in the holes made in the back of the vertical garden.

Step 21:

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Since I am a student away from home, the buckle was just a detail that i wanted to explore because students in my situation tend to move a lot from house to house during their college years (and when there's vacations we go back to our parents house), so I thought this could be a cool and practical way of carrying our garden from home to home.
Thanks Eneida G. for the photos, and thanks Simão e Xana for the help in the project :)


chancard (author)2015-09-30

I'm very interested in doing this project, but if there is no drainage hole at the bottom isn't there a significant change of root rot or stagnant water?

jmarcao (author)chancard2017-02-19

Sorry for the late answer! Yes, you are right. What I did to solve that problem was putting the end of a plastic bottle in the bottom, so the water drains to that bottle. It holds with a screw. So after i water the plants, the excessive water goes to this container and after a while i take it off and use that water in other plants. Its not the best solution i know..but i think it solves the problem ;)

gohmos (author)2015-06-29

this is so smart idea, I like it so much :)
I made 3 of it and I put it in the balcony, it look so beautiful :)

thank you so much and good luck

jmarcao (author)gohmos2017-02-19

Hello gohmos! Just saw your photo! So nice to see that this project was useful for you. You just made my day! Thank you!

TommyHeff (author)2016-08-01

The railing on my balcony has vertical bars. This design would allow me to hang small plants neatly between them without taking up any floor space. Thank you so much.

bcavaciuti (author)2016-06-17

Awesome, I have a shelf full of plants and am going to uni in september so this has inspired me to come up with something similar. Not exactly the same since my course is 3D (product) design and I may as well get started!

DShreyas (author)2016-01-18

Awesome idea genius

Louhein (author)2015-12-02

Looks great, going to make this!

Team Z (author)2015-10-27

Cool project and it looks great.

Freshness1321 (author)2014-02-22

Very cool, however I'd recommend doing some research on what happens when pvc is burned or heated. Especially if you are heating it without a mask, and ESPECIALLY if you are going to eat what you grow in it afterwards!

jmarcao (author)Freshness13212014-05-27

Hello Freshness1321! I ve just seen your post, sorry for the late answer. The pvc is not burned, just heated. I did some research actually and there is no problem heating up pvc as long as you do it slowly,distant, and no fume/smoke cames out. Of course if you have a mask its better!I didnt had one at the time, but i didnt inhale non of its fumes thankfully. Thanks for your concern / comment

flucasg (author)2014-05-26

Ficou muito bom...parabéns!

jmarcao (author)flucasg2014-05-27

Obrigado flucasg!

jakelawson made it! (author)2014-02-18

My take on your design, thanks for the great idea!

jmarcao (author)jakelawson2014-04-07

hello jakelawson! i ve just seen your vertical garden! You should have seen the smile on my face :) really happy for inspiring your project, really cool!
I would like to see more photos, is it possible?

inlouco (author)jakelawson2014-03-25

Very cool! Nice job!

XenoMorphPT (author)2013-12-15

Fico muito feliz por ver um Português por aqui!

Great Instructable!!!

jmarcao (author)XenoMorphPT2013-12-15

obrigado :)

dde almeida (author)2013-12-15

I just checked your page Dicas do Jorge, and it seemed very nice!

also i loved the vertical garden..

please keep going!

jmarcao (author)dde almeida2013-12-15


jmarcao (author)2013-12-14

Hello everybody. Please check out my facebook page dedicated to the sharing of solutions useful for students who share a house :)

GScience (author)2013-12-09

nice. One question. can mint leaves just be eaten? fresh? from the plant? Anyway, where is step 15 if there is one?

jmarcao (author)GScience2013-12-12

Thanks. Think gomibakou gave you a good answer :) I updated the instructable, you can check step 15 now.

GScience (author)jmarcao2013-12-12

Great! And the portability is very useful!

gomibakou (author)GScience2013-12-09

Almost all the plants used in cooking (mint included) can be eaten directly. Only when you don't know the procedence it's advisable to wash the plant to get rid off any residue, herbicide, etc. Never try plants growing up close to roads because they have heavy metals (lead mainly). But if you grew them in the kitch, it's more than safe a must :D

Plastic containers aren't recomendable, the best is clay, but well.. i don't think the rate of plastic decomposition will be fast enough to kill me in decades xDD.

MiltReynolds (author)2013-12-12

Wow! Great 'ible! Photos clear, good detail, colorful. Good instructions. Do some more! I like this project a lot...minimal parts/equipment/skill, with maximal result. We're right now hoping to do some inside container planting. This'll be perfect. TFTI (Thanks for the Instructable!)

jmarcao (author)MiltReynolds2013-12-12

Thank you so much Milt! :) Im really looking forward to put some more of my projects in the site. Never thought I would have so many people interested. Hope to see your vertical garden soon :) And thanks again for the support!

PhthaloBlue (author)2013-12-10

Any time someone recommends heating PVC over an open flame it causes some concern. Please be aware of the risks involved with burning PVC, heating the material so that it is pliable should not be too dangerous but burning it can release some SERIOUS toxins. Keeping it well removed from the flame and heating slowly and evenly should do the trick. <--useful tips.

jmarcao (author)PhthaloBlue2013-12-12

Thank you for the link, it was really helpful.
Fortunately, in the making of the pvc garden I ve never inhaled smokes and never burn the tube. The point of flexibility is quite fast to achieve.
I now recommend using a heat gun (in case you have one) in step 4, for a more controlled and safer way to bend the tube.
Thank you for the concern.

Klappstuhl (author)PhthaloBlue2013-12-11

What should also be mentioned: Bisphenol A, and other Phtalates from plastic bottles.

v30003v (author)2013-12-11



jmarcao (author)v30003v2013-12-12


mpwhelan (author)2013-12-10

Well done jmarco! I am not sure how steps 4 and 5 are accomplished but it will likely be clearer when I am actually making it. I don't have a gas burner so I will have to find another way for that step.

jmarcao (author)mpwhelan2013-12-12

Thank you :) I add some tips to step 4. In case you don't have a gas burner, i recommend a heat gun if you can find one, a friend lend me his and it worked perfectly. If you can't get one try using a powerful hair drier in a really thin tube.
If you see in the comments above, richardbronotsky said that you can bend it just by using hot water or heated sand. Never tried one of these methods but i think they should work!

tiagodomingues (author)2013-12-11

Muitos parabéns pelo projecto. Ficou excelente.

jmarcao (author)tiagodomingues2013-12-12

Obrigado tiago! é bom sentir o apoio :)

stephenfitton (author)2013-12-11

A hair dryer set on high should work after a couple of minutes, (If a heat gun not available) .Wear cotton gloves,Dont get burned!

jmarcao (author)stephenfitton2013-12-12

Yes, actually i made some models with a heat gun and it works perfectly. Unfortunately, it was borough from a friend so I had to give it back. And since the stove is more convenient, I thought that was the easiest way to bend the tube.
With a hair drier i have never tried, but i don't think it's powerful enough.

RichardBronosky (author)2013-12-12

PVC will bend at 170 to 220. This means that boiling it in water will be enough to bend it and there is no chance of scorching it. If you have a brewer's pot or a turkey fryer, you can easily do a section of 3 or 4 inch pipe.

There is also the hot sand method. Bake sand in the oven to about 300 and pour it in the pipe. This is great for bending pipe because the sand will keep it from kinking.

jmarcao (author)RichardBronosky2013-12-12

Thanks for yours suggestions richard :) I thought of hot water but i didn't have the means to pull that of at the time, but I really wanna try that.
The sand method never crossed my mind, it sounds really nice! I think my oven isn't that powerful, but I think i'll try that in the future as well. I live in Portugal so sand is easily found :)

mpwhelan (author)2013-12-09

Thanks for finishing the instructions! I do want one of these gardens.

jmarcao (author)mpwhelan2013-12-10

Thanks for the patience :) I add some photos today, hope you like it

steinie44 (author)2013-12-10

If you don't want to heat it, to bend it in, I think you can cut the shape with a jig saw. Then turn it around and glue it in the opening. Might try that and make it about 6 feet long with about 10 openings.

jmarcao (author)steinie442013-12-10

Hei steinie. yes, that sounds good too. The thing is..When you heat it up and bend that part inside, that wall helps sustaining the gardening soil (it helps making the container). But I would love to see your model with the 10 openings, hope to see it here in instructables :)

M3G (author)2013-12-08

Very cool idea, it looks awesome!

jmarcao (author)M3G2013-12-09

thank you!

mpwhelan (author)2013-12-08

Is there no Step 15?

jmarcao (author)mpwhelan2013-12-09

There is now :)

BTrey (author)2013-12-09

Great instructable - this is really cool. In the first picture, the bottom of the tube is crimped. In step 14, it's not. Is this just an aesthetic choice or was there a reason for this difference? If you leave the bottom of the pipe uncrimped, couldn't you just put a cap on it rather than install the bottle?

jmarcao (author)BTrey2013-12-09

Thank you! And well noticed :) Actually there was a reason for that...It had the crimped bottom because i had a vase in the floor, just beneath the pvc garden. This way when I irrigate water in the top container of the pvc garden, the water goes down through all the containers, and then falls down on the vase in the floor. It sounded like a good idea but it was quite messy, don't really recommend it :/
Yeah, i think you can put a cap, but i couldn't find one that fits...And so i thought of the bottle because its a pratical way of removing excess water.
I will update the first photo to the model used in the instructable in the next few days :)

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