DIY Vertical Garden

Ever since I(Kari) saw Flora Grubb's work several years ago, I've been smitten with the idea of a vertical garden using succulents. A visit to the musée du quai Branly in Paris a few summers back sealed the deal: Vertical gardens make me happy. I am alway happiest when I see "green" around me (the summers here in Visalia make me miserable because there is not enough green!) and I love how the vertical garden is so painterly---panels of succulents always end up looking like an impressionist painting. If you ask one of my good friends from my design program, she'll tell you that I am always looking to insert a bit of "living art" into my designs, the vertical garden being one of my favorites.

Here are some vertical gardens that I've been collecting in a file on Pinterest:

I have long been wanting to attempt this project, and today was the day. I have been buried under a mountain of CAD work for a huge project looming, and after about five hours of staring at my project on the computer screen, I decided I needed a little Vitamin D and a break. It was sunny yesterday, and being locked away in my office was starting to get to me, so I decided to dive in and try this project as a way to escape the looming deadline I have coming up.

I purchased the supplies for this project at my local Lowe's. Now, admittedly, Lowe's doesn't have the most stellar succulent options, but since I am "testing the waters" a bit when it comes to this project, I decided to dive in anyway. I will be on the hunt for a wider variety of succulents now so my panels achieve a more "painterly" look, but I'm happy with the project so far...

I bought a couple flats of succulents in a variety of colors and textures:


I also picked up these nifty black plastic panels, specifically for planting vertical gardens. I was excited that Lowe's even carried anything like this!


You can see that when these are hung vertically, the little compartments are slanted to hold the dirt and the plant in place. These also come with the hanging hardware you need:


I started to fill the compartments in with soil and succulents. I still need to buy a little moss to squeeze into some of the voids. I think that will look good and will also kind of hold everything together even better.



First one complete! I laid it on the sidewalk and gave it a spritz of water. I will also let these chill on my patio table for about a week before I hang them up. I want the plants to get settled a bit.


I made two, and each one I filled in a bit differently. It's an "experiment"...I want to see which one I like better when they start to fill out a bit. (Again, I need to add moss to fill voids...)


I have three more panels to fill, and I'd like to build out some wood frames to put these in. They will be mounted on a very ugly empty space on a very average-looking fence in my backyard. I can't wait! I love them, and this project was super easy. Now I am off to find more exciting succulents...


Mr. and Mrs. C said...

WOW!!! Gorgeous! I have never seen vertical gardens before. I think I'm in love! Fantastic job Kari. Can you just make one for me? :)

Christina said...

Very pretty! What happens when they grow out though? Will the fact that they were planted in little compartments keep them from growing too much? If not, then how do you trim them back?

Cassie {Hi Sugarplum!} said...

That is so cool!!!! Is it a pricey project? I just bought one little succulent and it was $8! this is amazing though....can't wait to see it hung!

Babs Blog said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies!
In response...
Christina: Succulents can grow in adverse conditions (they are pretty hardy in desert-like conditions), so they should do fine in the compartments. When it's time to "thin" them a bit, they can be pinched back.
Cassie: I searched low and high for cheap succulents and I learned that the smaller, the cheaper! :) (A local garden center had very small starts at 75 cents each, so I got mostly those to work with and then a few larger ones at Lowe's for closer to $2.00 apiece.) This is also a project where patience pays off...It is not difficult to create your own starts by pinching off of an established plant. Starts need a little TLC, but it's a good way to keep the cost down.

Hopefully I'll be able to give an update in a week or so, once these have been hung. :)
Thanks for your questions!

chucka said...

How much did the plastic vertical garden panels cost? I have been looking online and it would be great if they cost the same at Lowes!