This DIY vertical garden planter wall allows you to grow tons of plants in a small footprint! Get the plans to make your own freestanding vertical garden and customize it to fit your space!
Short on garden space? Go vertical! This DIY planter wall is easy to build and fits on a deck, patio or balcony. It's also a great way to hide eyesores like pipes or air conditioner units. The box at the bottom can be used as an additional planter, or for outdoor toy storage!
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I've had this vertical garden idea rolling around in my head for the last year, and I'm so glad it's finally done! I wanted to cover up the conduit and the patched aluminum siding on the back of the house in a way that didn't block access if we needed it.
We kept an outdoor storage bench for toys in this spot, but it fell apart and was repurposed into a potting bench. We still needed a place to store all my son's soccer balls, foam swords and light sabers, so combining storage and a vertical garden in one piece was the perfect solution!
Click the image below to get the woodworking plans for this project!
Materials Needed for DIY Vertical Garden
- Eight 1 x 4 cedar boards
- Five 2 x 4 cedar boards
- Seven 6 foot long cedar fence pickets
- 1 ¼" outdoor wood screws
- 2 ½" Kreg Blue-Kote pocket hole screws
- 1 ¼" brad nails
- Wood glue
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Never used a miter saw before? Check out my guide on how to use a miter saw to get started!
- Kreg Jig
- Check out my tutorial on how to use a Kreg Jig and a comparison between the two most popular models to see which one is best for you!
- Brad nailer
- Speed square
Don't forget your safety gear when woodworking! Here are my recommendations for safety glasses and ear protection. No excuses!
How to Build a Vertical Garden
Cut the Slats
The trick behind the removable planter boxes on the vertical garden wall are French cleats. This simple hanging method can hold a significant amount of weight and are really easy to make! You can learn more about how to make French cleats here.
I set my table saw blade at a 45° angle and cut off the top edge of each piece. Cut a few extra boards to save for the cleat on the back of the planter boxes.
When the angle on the slats lines up with the corresponding 45° angle on the back of the planter box, it locks into place! Several boxes can rest on a single slat because the weight is distributed evenly.
Attach Slats to Uprights
Attach the first slat to the top of the uprights with 1 ¼" outdoor screws. Countersink the screws so they don't interfere with the French cleat on the back of the planter boxes.
The angled edge should be facing up and the point facing out. I used two extra slats as spacers so I didn't have to rely on the tape measure each time.
Continue adding slats down the length of the uprights, leaving enough space at the bottom for the storage/planter box.
Build the Bottom Planter/Storage Box Frame
The box at the bottom keeps the freestanding vertical garden . . . vertical. It's built into the bottom of the planter wall and the weight of it keeps the whole thing from toppling over. If you wanted to attach this vertical planter to a flat wall, you can leave off the bottom box.
Drill pocket holes into both ends of the longer 2 x 4 pieces. Attach two of them between the uprights of the planter wall with 2 ½" pocket hole screws. Attach the other two to the front legs the same way.
Drill pocket holes in both ends of all the shorter 2 x 4 pieces, then attach them to the sides of the box frame.
Screw the front leg section to the sides with 2 ½" pocket hole screws, then stand it up!
Enclose the Planter/Storage Box
Cedar fence pickets are an inexpensive way to enclose the planter box. If you plan to fill the box with potting soil, you'll want to butt the edges together to form a solid wall. Since mine is an outdoor toy box, I decided to create slats similar to the back of my potting bench that sits nearby.
Cut the cedar fence pickets to the width of your planter box sides, then nail them into place with 1 ¼" brad nails.
Cover the bottom of the box the same way. Drill holes through the boards for drainage if using it for plants. I just left a ½" gap between the boards so the toys don't sit in rain water (Ignore the dirt and leaves. I took this picture a few weeks after the planter wall was already built!)
Build the Removable Planter Boxes
I created a variety of different sizes for my vertical garden wall planter using more fence pickets. A mix of 12", 18", 24" and 30" boxes will keep the proportions the same while changing up the look!
Each box needs two pieces of the desired finished length, two end pieces, and a bottom piece that is the length of the box minus the thickness of the two ends. I trimmed the sides off the fence pickets to get cleaner edges, but it's not required.
Apply wood glue along the edges as shown below.
Assemble the box and clamp the pieces into place. These Bessey one-hand clamps make it easy to hold the box together with one hand while you squeeze the clamp tight with the other!
With the clamps holding the box together, use a brad nailer to quickly fasten everything together. I got into a rhythm and put together a ton of boxes fairly quickly this way.
You'll also want to drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of each box for excess water to drip through.
Attach French Cleat to Back of Planter Boxes
Hopefully you remembered to save a few of those French cleat boards for the back of the planter boxes! 😉 Cut a piece a few inches shorter than the planter box, then attach it to the back with the point facing down.
Fill the Boxes with Potting Soil and Add Plants
Finally, it's time to plant! This spot in the backyard doesn't get a lot of direct sun, so I stuck with ferns and coleus that love the shade. As they grow, they'll fill in the spaces between the boxes and create a lush, living wall!
Enjoy Your New Vertical Garden!
I positioned my new vertical garden wall planter right in front of the pipes, hiding them from view. It does a great job disguising the eyesores and turning it into a beautiful living wall!
My son's outdoor toys have a new home, so they won't be scattered throughout the backyard (I hope!) This would also be a great spot for some larger plants.
I love how simple it is to change out plants. Instead of getting up on a ladder to access those tall boxes, you simply lift each one off the slat. If one plant grows too tall, I can move all the boxes around to create a new layout!
The planter wall was quite popular when it was first shown in my backyard makeover reveal. It really brings the entire space together!
Download the woodworking plans and start building!
Sunday 26th of May 2019
I absolutely love this!
Friday 24th of May 2019
this is gorgeous and I LOVE the functional storage at the bottom! you're so insanely talented!
Wednesday 22nd of May 2019
Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial! I love that this vertical planter is also storage for your kid's toys.
Thursday 16th of May 2019
I love that the base of this gives you some outdoor storage for toys! That is so clever! Great build. I would love to do this for an herb garden by my back door.
Wednesday 15th of May 2019
Absolutely amazing! I love all the details and use of space. Very impressive. Thanks for all the details in the tutorial, too. PInned, for sure!