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The Only Way Is Up: How To Start A Vertical Garden

Posted by on Jan 30 2023

If the recent pandemic turned you into a devoted plant parent (like many of us), chances are you might be ready for a new challenge; say hello to vertical gardening. 


What is Vertical Gardening?

As the name suggests, vertical gardening is the process of growing plants in vertical planters instead of horizontally making them perfect for indoor and outdoor settings. Vertical planters can be made out of many different materials, including PVC pipes and making your own DIY vertical planter is a fun way to get into vertical gardening. In this article, we’ll tell you why a vertical garden may be perfect for you and how you can make a PVC pipe planter to start your DIY vertical garden.


Why Should you use Vertical Gardening?

Vertical gardening is trending and it’s largely due to its ability to create beautiful green features in the smallest places. Vertical garden planters allow you to grow plants upwards when outdoor space is limited making them ideal for small gardens, balconies and rooftops. Depending on what you choose to grow, vertical planters can also become interesting features inside your home. 

DIY vertical gardens are ideal for growing edible crops since many vegetables thrive in a vertical garden setup. Vertical lettuce gardens are perfect for beginners since lettuce is known for being an easy-to-grow, annual plant. 

Growing plants vertically is also useful for home gardeners with reduced mobility since vertical gardens can be customised to any height. Harvesting plants grown in vertical planters is so much easier when everything is above the ground and easy to reach. Whether you create an indoor or outdoor vertical garden, you have the freedom to make your garden perfectly suited to your needs.


Some other great benefits of vertical gardens include:

  • Greater yield - arranging your plants vertically allows them to gain more sunlight which leads to increased healthy growth.

  • Visually appealing - whether you use one vertical planter or you use multiple planters to create a “living wall”, vertical gardens can be used to create a focal point or to add colour and brightness to an area.
  • Low maintenance - Vertical gardens are easy to maintain whether you use hydroponics or traditional planting techniques. Vertical garden planters can utilise drip irrigation to water plants and typically need less water than regular gardens, which is great news for busy home gardeners. 

  • Cost-effective - Your vertical garden doesn’t have to be expensive. Vertical planters can be made out of repurposed or recycled materials which makes them sustainable. If you don’t have access to used materials,  PVC pipes are often less expensive to buy than pre-made planters and they are perfect for making durable DIY vertical planters.

How do you Make a Vertical Planter?

There are a number of ways to make a vertical planter. PVC pipes are great for making planters because their slender shape gets hidden as the plants grow resulting in a column of greenery. 


To make your own DIY vertical planter you’ll need the following supplies:


  • PVC pipes - The length of pipe you’ll need will depend on how tall you would like the vertical planter to be. When it comes to the width of your planter, a four or five-inch pipe is a good starting point. You’ll also need a smaller, ¾ inch pipe and end caps of the same size to create the drip irrigation system.

  • A large pot/container for the base - Make sure it’s deep enough to accommodate the pipes securely. Around 12 inches of the pipe will need to be buried in the planter to keep it stable as the plants grow.
  • Potting compost - Be sure to use a good-quality potting mix to support drainage.
  • Plants - Do your homework before you decide which plants get to live in your vertical planters. Whether your plants prefer direct sunlight or shaded areas will be important when deciding where you place your DIY vertical planter.
  • Gravel - Use gravel or rocks to place in the bottom of the planter to help stabilise the pipes. 
  • Mulch - This will help to lock in the moisture in the vertical planter.
  • Weed control fabric - This will be wrapped around the drip irrigation pipe to stop the soil from blocking the holes that allow the water to pass through.


You’ll also need tools for measuring and a hole saw and file for smoothing the holes in the pipes.


  1. Starting with the larger pipe (cut to your required length) make markings along the length of the pipe every four or five inches. This will be where the holes will be drilled. Rather than placing holes in a straight line, be creative and stagger the holes along the pipe. Be sure to stop the markings around 12 inches from the bottom of the pipe as this end will be buried in the base.

  2. Use a hole saw to make 2-inch holes in your PVC pipes along the markings. File around the holes to get rid of the rough edges.

  3. Next, take the smaller pipe and drill holes along the length. Wrap the weed cloth around the pipe and attach the end caps. Your simple drip irrigation system is ready. 

  4. When you’ve chosen the right spot for your planter, take your pipes, your large pot, the soil and gravel to that area to build your vertical planter. The finished planter will be quite heavy so, it’s best to prepare it in the chosen area. 

  5. Place the irrigation pipe inside the larger pipe and place both pipes inside the centre of the large plant pot. Pour in the gravel and be sure to keep the pipes centred.

  6. When the pipes are secured in the base, start to fill the large outer PVC pipe with potting compost whilst keeping the drip irrigation pipe in the centre. Make sure the end caps are secured to the inner pipe to prevent soil from getting inside. Once you’ve filled the pipe with potting soil, fill the base pot with soil on top of the gravel.

  7. Now your vertical plant is ready to receive some plants. Fill the planter with your favourite shrubs, succulents or salad leaves, then remove the end cap from the drip irrigation pipe and fill it with water. Be sure to replace the cap afterwards. You may find you’ll need to water your vertical planter more frequently due to the reduced amount of soil inside.

  8. Cover the soil in the base with mulch to help secure the moisture and you’re finished.


Congratulations, you’ve just created a vertical garden planter! Now all that’s left is to watch your plants flourish in your new DIY vertical garden.


If we’ve inspired you to try making your own vertical planter, you can find PVC pipes and fittings at CD Aquatics. We stock a range of pipes for a wide range of uses, including vertical gardening and hydroponics. If you need advice about which pipes will be best for your project, contact our friendly team on 01922 416284 who will be happy to share their expertise.

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