Maximise space: Guide to Vertical Gardening

For us here at Lazy Susan, vertical gardening is the new way to grow plants… At our HQ we had a small drab patio area where we made the most of the limited space by growing flowers up on a trellis, on garden netting and some cleaver stackable tower containers we picked up on Amazon.co.uk. We now have a pretty little patio where we can showcase our garden furniture, grab a coffee, all whilst enjoying the benefits of low maintenance but beautiful plants.

So what exactly is growing ‘up’?

Trust me when I say this, once you learn how easy it is garden vertically, you’ll never look back. The end result is a garden that involves significantly less work and so many more benefits than the more traditional horizontally planted borders we know and love here in the UK. And its not just for those with small gardens too… Even if you have a large garden, you can still achieve better results by growing up. It can help to cut down weed growth, reduce the chances of pests and diseases, and reduce the physical area of garden space that needs to be tended and watered during the summer. In other words, much less of the more back breaking gardening chores to do each week and more time to spend actually enjoying the bloomin’ thing.

Vertical Garden PLanter by Freshly Forked

Freshly Forked’s Vertical Garden Planter (shown in the picture above) is an excellent example of how you can grow ‘up’. It allows you to create a living wall of flowers, salads & herbs and its just the job if you have a limited amount of ground space. You simply hang on a suitable wall and fill planter pockets with compost. Sow, water and grow to fill your walls with lovely flowers, salads and herbs. At Lazy Susan we are reletively new to vertical gardening, but we had such great results for very little effort that we wanted to use this blog to pass on what we know, at the end of the day its not rocket science… Growing plants vertically, or fruit and veg for that matter, will change your old way of just growing in rows and flower beds. Just a few of the benefits of our limited vertical gardening experience as follows:

  • Significantly less ground space is needed
  • Less soil preparation and digging
  • More plants, vegetables and flowers can be grown in a vertical structure using less ground space
  • The opportunity to create bottom-up and top-down flowers
  • Vertical garden wall structures can be used to obtain privacy for your areas
  • Less weeding
  • Wide variety of space-saving containers and stackable planters
  • Vertical gardens can be used to provide shade
  • Less weekly maintenance
  • Improved air circulation
  • Reduces risk of diseases and pests
  • Less back breaking work as the need to bend down to ground level is eliminated
  • Gardening on vertical walls, trellis and arbor can give them more exposure to sun light and air.
  • The vertical design can be useful for people with difficulty in walking around a large garden
  • Vertical gardening can be done on a small or large scale
  • It lends itself to both indoor or outdoor locations

Vertical planter styles

Aside from all the aforementioned benefits, the style, size, shape, plants and materials used to construct a vertical garden are pretty much limitless and its the perfect solution for turning unused ugly little spaces into beautiful gardens.  From simple to large scale vertical gardening, search online and you’ll find many ideas and examples that you can scale down or up to suit your needs and the space you have available. Also, if you have a small balcony, terrace, yard or rooftop garden then growing plants and flowers vertically is perfect for you and you can easily plan a lush wall of vegetables, flowers or foliage. Creating ‘Green Walls’ on fences or walls are also very good examples of vertical gardening and are worth trying, but really you can use your imagination and try out different styles and ideas.

You can purchase various kits, structures and installations now that are simple and easy to use and can be tailored to fit any available space. Vertical gardening and green buildings have become the ‘it thing’ as we all look at ways to garden that little bit smarter and greener. In the past, vertical gardening systems have tended to be a little niche and as such a little bit on the expensive side as they were often engineered on a larger scale. However, the recent rise in popularity has resulted in a variety of new solutions that landscapers and home gardeners alike can afford. Some of the better solutions we’ve used in out showroom gardens to hide dull walls or simply brighten a dull corner are as follows:

  • Pockets
    Made from a breathable, recycled material that feels like felt, these pouches – sold individually and in rows of three or five – can last up to 20 years. Metal grommets make them easy to attach to a wall or fence with screws. The standard 15″ x 24″ pockets, which hold up to 20 pounds of soil will accommodate most annuals, plus small edibles and perennials. You can buy them over at the excellently named www.woollypocket.com.
  • Tube Planters
    Another variation on the use of felt or landscaping fabric to create additional vertical gardening space is the Tube Planter. The Tube Planter was the brainchild of Patrick McWhinney, a southern California man who needed a way to enhance the designs of rock and waterfall formations for his landscape design business. He wanted to give his land scapes a greater sense of naturalness and aesthetic appeal by strategically adding plants to the mix. They’re available from www.tubeplanters.com.
  • Faux Bois
    Which basically translates from French as ‘false wood’, is the art of constructing cement-based structures specifically designed to mimic the appearance of the branches, trunks and the leaves of trees. A steel framework is contrsucted by cutting, bending and welding steel to the desired shape. Layers of concrete, mortar and grout are then applied over the framework, which is then colored, sculpted and worked to produce an end-result that looks very much like real wood. Do-it-yourself or shop online.
  • Modular Trays
    Similar to nursery flats, these rectangular, plastic trays are divided into planting cells that are slanted at a 30-degree angle, with bottom holes that promote drainage and aeration. Each tray comes with a bracket for mounting, but you’ll need to construcy a wooden frame to achieve the ‘green wall’ look. I’ve not seen them for sale in the UK (so please let me know if you know where you can get them), but they are for sale in the US at verticalgardensolutions.com.
  • Pot Hangers
    These polypropylene supports simply clamp onto the backs of pots and totally hidden when screwed into a wall or fence. Designed to endure high winds, each hanger can take up to 100 pounds. You can plant them with anything you’d typically put in a pot, including kitchen herbs and annuals. Country Living has a fab article that showcases some great pot hangers.
  • Salvaged Objects
    And you don’t need to spend a fortune… Use whatever is lying around. From old guttering to burlap bags and car tyres, salvaged finds can be utilised as unusual vertical gardening systems. Just remember to drill holes in the bottom, if necessary, for drainage and aeration.
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