Introduction: Mix and Match Vertical Garden
You’d like to set up a garden but you don’t have the space, the funds to get it started, or a green thumb to keep it alive. Bad news is that we can’t help with the green thumb part, but we can assist with the other challenges with this project: a mix and match vertical garden.
This vertical garden plan is sturdy, affordable, and versatile. Here’s what we mean.:
Sturdy: It’s built with pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine decking boards. That means this project can withstand weather like a champ.
Affordable: Decking boards are available at big box home improvement and lumber stores, and they’re affordable too.
Versatile: The individual planter boxes are interchangeable and movable. The different sized individual planter boxes can be whatever size you want them to be. Most spaces – even small ones – can handle its footprint of only 9 square feet.
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Step 1: Construct Two Vertical Frame Sides
- Cut two boards 7’10” long.
- Cut a total of 8 smaller squares, 5.5″ long.
- Glue and screw the pieces on the boards 1.5 feet apart. Each side needs to be exactly the same so the “shelves” aren’t crooked.
Step 2: Cut and Attach Braces/Shelves
- Cut eight lengths, 3’2″ each.
- Place the boards so they’re in line with the smaller squares you attached.
- Glue and screw the brace boards so they’re flush with the edge of the frame legs.
Step 3: Build the Base
- Cut two lengths 3′ long
- Cut two lengths 2’10” long
- Glue and screw the boards together so the total dimensions are 3’x3′.
Step 4: Attach the Vertical Garden Assembly to the Base
- Center the frame on the base. If you’re counting, the edges of the vertical board will be just over 1’3″ from the outside edge.
- With the frame and base clamped together, drill holes for the bolts. Use a minimum of three bolts per leg to make the vertical garden more solid.
- Attach the bolts and nuts.
Step 5: Lay the Base Boards
- Cut six lengths 3′ each.
- If your square is slightly off, now is the time to fix it. Start with the two outside boards, and glue & fasten the top 3′ boards on alternate edges to coerce everything into right angles.
- Install the remaining boards with just under 1/2″ gap between each one.
Step 6: Mix and Match Garden Box Instructions
Cut the end pieces of the boxes.
- Let’s start with building one box. Then you can figure out how many/what sizes you want. More on that further down.
- Pay attention to the grain direction on this. You want the grain to run side to side.
- For each box you build, cut the end pieces 7.5″ inches long.
- The handle holes are totally optional. If you have a jig saw or some other tricks up your sleeve, we suggest the handle hole be approximately an inch down from the top edge and 2″ from each side. It can be 1″ high and 3.5″ wide.
Cut the sides of the boxes.
- You can decide the sizes/number of garden boxes you want now or later.
- Refer to this picture in this step to help figure out what lengths of boxes mix and match well.
Cut the Bottom Pieces for the Box
- The bottom pieces of all the planters are exactly the same size, 5.5″ x 7.5″. The only difference is the quantity per box.
- Cut however many you need for the boxes you build.
Assemble the Boxes
- Start with two scraps of SYP stacked on top of each other to create a 2″ block.
- Set your handle sides on top of this block and your front and back lengths next to the block.
- Glue and fasten one end, but don’t attach the scraps.
- Repeat the same steps for the other side. To install the bottom, turn the planter upside down.
- Start with the two outside pieces glued and fastened flush with the sides.
- Install the remaining boards with an approximately 1/4″ gap between to help water drainage.
- When assembled correctly, the face and back will extend 1″ lower than the bottom. This creates a runner that allows the planter to rest on the shelf and slide back and forth.
Step 7: Build the Rest of the Boxes
Follow the previous step to assemble the rest of your boxes using whichever configuration you want.
Step 8: Get Some Dirt and Start Planting
- Get some planting soil and some seeds or plants.
- Fill your planter boxes with all of that goodness and enjoy your new garden.
Step 9: CUT LIST
• (14) 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ Decking Boards
Step 10: Recommended Materials and Tools
• (14) 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ Decking Boards
• Exterior Grade Wood Glue• 1.5″ exterior grade Screws
• 2.5″ exterior grade Screws
• 6+ sets of exterior grade nuts/bolts
• Appropriate Bit for Deck Screws
• Appropriate Bit for Bolts
• Pencil, Measuring Tape, Carpenter Square
• 2 Bar Clamps (at least 5″ long)
• Table Saw
• Jig Saw (optional)
• Adjustable Wrench
• Electric Drill / Driver
• Radial Sander / Sanding Block (optional)
• Safety Glasses / Ear Protection
• Dust Mask / Work Gloves