Introduction: Vertical Garden

Gardening is fun but when living in a city, space is an issue. This instructable will show one way to make best use of the space you do have in a city: vertical space. And by using vertical space I don't mean using climbing plants, I mean building an actual vertical garden in wich you can grow plants.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

- Some sort of iron frame or garden rack, size depending on the space available
- Wood:
* 4 - 6 pieces of approximately 10 x 5 x 5 cm to hold the garden rack from the wall
* Planks of slats to line the frame
- A sheet of plastic
- Jute cloth to hold the earth. This should be the size of the garden rack, plus an extra 20 cm on the long sides
- Paint, or something else to protect the wood against the weather
- Screws, dowels and some cramp-irons and small connection strips or corners

- Drill
- Hammer
- Screwdriver
- Saw

Step 2: Preparing the Wood

Before starting the project, paint or otherwise protect the wood against rain. If you don't, the wood may start to decay and your vertical garden might not last as long as you would like.

The planks will be used to line the frame and make it more solid so it will later hold the weight of the earth back. Saw the planks at the right size to fit the frame. In the end you will get three pieces: a short one for the top of the frame, and two long ones for the sides.

The blocks (approximately 10 x 5 x 5 cm) will be used to attach the frame to the wall. Because you will use the long sides for this, get long nails (around 15 cm). Drill a hole through the wood using a drill with a diameter slightly smaller than the screw, then put the screw through.

Step 3: Preparing the Garden Rack

Attach the three planks to the frame using the iron cramps. Then turn the frame around and attach the planks at the top together, using connecting strips or corners.

Step 4: Preparing the Wall

The frame will be attached to the wall at 4 points: the two top corners and about half way down the middle on each side. Use the frame to mark these spots, drill holes and put the plugs in. At my balcony, the bottom of the frame is fitted against the tiles which lay on the balcony floor and wich stop about 10 cm from the wall. The tiles hold the bottom of the frame in its place. If this is not possible at your place, drill two more holes in the bottom corners, and make two more wood blocks to attach the bottom of the frame to the wall.

To protect the wall against the roots of the plants and against humid getting into the wall I put a piece of plastic sheet on the wall were I will later attach the vertical garden.

Step 5: Attaching the Jute Cloth

Now, this is actually the trickiest part of the vertical garden. The objective is to attach the jute cloth to the wall using the wood blocks have been made at step 2. The difficult part is that the blocks need to be on the inside of the cloth when finished. On the picture you can see what it is supposed to look like in the end, and what it looks like when you're half way through.

Start by taking one of the wood blocks and the jute cloth. Put the screw through the corner of the jute cloth, and then screw it into the plug you've put in the wall at step 4. Before you do attach the block to the wall, check if you have enough jute to attach the other side as well.

Then take the second one and do the same. The last two will be a bit harder to attach because the cloth will be in you're way. But although jute is not elastic, it's flexible enough to be pulled over the blocks when they're attached firmly to the wall.

Step 6: Fixing the Frame

Now take the frame and some screws. Put a screw through the planks at the places where the wood blocks are, and use it to attach the frame to the wood blocks.

Now just cut away the excess plastic sheet around de vertical garden and the garden is almost finished.

Step 7: Put Earth in and Start Planting!

Now you will need earth to fill up the garden. Best is to mix in plenty of compost to make the earth fertile. When you're half way through, put water on the earth tot settle it. Then fill up the garden and water down the rest as well.

For planting: use small seedlings, but not so small they're still very vulnerable. Cut a small hole in the jute and put the plant in.

Step 8: Some Tips for the Pro's

- use perennials: planting new plants each year will wear down the garden faster and you will need some plants to stay into the garden to keep the earth alive over winter.

- I put tomato plants (I know, not perennials) the first two years and they did extremely well. The second year it was harder to put the plants in because the earth had dried out over winter.

- I've just build my second vertical garden and because dehydration is a problem I will build in some 'irrigation': a waterhose with small holes in it that can be used to water the garden from the inside.

- cover the top of the garden with some straw or other type of mulch, to prevent dehydration form the top. Also this will slowly decay and work as compost.
Garden Contest

Second Prize in the
Garden Contest