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A vertical garden is a great way to maximize growing space for all the plants that you enjoy. But with all of the amazing kits out there, creating a vertical garden can get expensive. This does not have to be the case though. Some of the most visually interesting and creative gardens that I have see were made from recycled or found items.
Some of the most popular recycled items used for planters in a vertical garden are:
- Plastic bottles
- Tin Cans
- Milk Jugs
- Old Shoes or Boots
- Wooden Pallets
- Galvanized Metal Containers
- Wooden Boxes
- Picture Frames
- Canning Jars
- Wire Baskets
The great thing about plants is their ability to grow in almost any kind of a container so long as they have the appropriate amount of light, water and nutrition. Below are more details about how to use these recycled items in new and inspiring ways.
Try reading this post about types of planters maybe you’ll find these interesting.
Large water bottles or 2-liter soda bottles make great planters. They are easy to cut plant and drain holes into, and can be mounted or hung in any number of ways.
These bottle planters have been suspended in columns making a waterfall of colorful plants. You might choose to grow a variety of plants from flowers to vegetables, like the gardener of this grouping, or all one or two different types. The size of the individual bottle lends it itself really well to growing different kinds since you can more easily meet the changing needs of your plants depending on what varieties you choose.
This unusual display can be created simply by nailing the bottles to a plank of wood, filling with soil and planting.
Large cans used as planters are a very cost-effective means of having a garden, especially for produce. If you use cans that previously held food, then they will be food grade, which means that they will not have chemicals that can leech from the can into the soil that provides sustenance for your plants. This, in turn, helps to eliminate the amount of chemicals that you ingest from your food once you harvest.
That being said, if you don’t know where your cans came from and what they held in their previous lives, then you probably should be cautious about planting vegetables or fruits in them.
This simple set up is just cans of herbs sitting on a shelf. Instant vertical garden in tomato cans.
Another reason that cans are great to use is their versatility in presentation. Paint them any color or design that you wish, then hang them from wire, or nail them to a fence or wall. There are unlimited sizes to choose from.
This is another fun one! Milk jugs are the best of both worlds between plastic bottles and cans. Plus you don’t have to worry about rusty edges. Like cans, these plastic containers can be painted and decorated in any way that you see fit. The lidded top makes for an easy drain hole, and the plastic is thin enough to cut easily but sturdy enough to hold potting soil, water and plants. Their light weight makes them a good choice for hanging baskets also.
I love how these have been crafted to look like heads, with the plants growing out of the top like hair, and the handles standing in as the nose.
This is where it get interesting and you can really stretch yourself artistically! Use old ceramic pots, vases, cups, and even teapots to design an art garden wall. Just make sure that you plants will have enough room for its roots, and be sure to provide drainage, and you really can use almost anything in your project.
A simple version, this hanging garden is comprised of odd ball ceramic pots suspended by rope. its handmade quality add a touch of boho flair to the room.
The next two are favorites of mine. Both examples use old teapot and cups mounted on a wall for a whimsical flight of fancy. This is a really good way to use chipped or broken china in a fun way.
Shoes Or Boots
Use a cute shoe or boot for a fun way to incorporate a little flair into your vertical garden. Just mount the shoe in its new display, then fill with soil and plants. The type of shoe can really define the style of your garden.
Long a staple of country front porches, old broken down cowboy or work boots used as planters have been adding charm for years. If you are into the modern farmhouse trend, you could do something like the example below, which is a really clean and tidy version of the boot planter.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is this eclectic wall garden covered in planters made from all sorts of found wearables, from shoes to purses. Use a set up like this to tell a story with your garden and just go crazy with it for the best effect.
Baskets make fantastic planters. Their woven texture provides built in drainage, and they are (literally!) a dime a dozen at the nearest second hand store. Grab a bundle at your local thrift shop or yard sale for an easy display.
Using Recycled wooden pallets to build a vertical garden is all the rage right now. Check at your local stores to see if they have any that they are going to throw away to get them for cheap or even free.
To turn one into a garden, staple landscape fabric to the back and sides. This will hold the soil in, while allowing for water to drain. Mount them on a a sunny fence for extra support. Fill with garden soil, then plant in the open spaces. Before long, your pallet will be as full of abundance as the ones below.
What if you are just not that handy?
Another way that you can use a pallet is as the support for other types of planting containers. This pallet has wire rings attached to it that hold the terracotta pots in place. Again, you will want to make sure that the pallet is support in such a way that the weight of the pots do not tip it over.
Galvanized Metal Containers
Galvanized metal containers are a staple of the modern farmhouse decorating trend and if this is your aesthetic, you are in luck! They are super for creating a vertical wall garden display. You can use any shape or size, and old rusted buckets make a really beautiful backdrop for a mass of wildflowers or vines covered in ripe strawberries.
The popularity of this decroating trend has made it more difficult to find these types of containers second hand, so if you see some, you need to snap them up quick. If you don’t someone else will.
Instead of buying a fabric planter with pockets, why not make your own?? Strong, thick fabrics like denim, felt , or sackcloth make excellent planters. The fabric is strong enough to hold soil and plants, while still allowing water to pass through.
This example was made by nailing squares of doubled sackcloth to a board, creating pockets for growing the plants.
Wooden boxes are easy to find, easy to use and oh so versatile. You can use old drawers, filing cabinets, crates, you name it!!
One way to use a shallow box is to make a hanging wall garden with a variety of different kinds of succulents. These plants have shallow roots, and require very little water so they are perfect for this kind of a set up.
A good example of ingenuity, this stacked garden has old wooden boxes mounted on it for a different take on the vertical garden. The boxes are staggered to allow the plants in each box to get plenty of sun.
Similar to the shallow wooden boxes, picture frames are used to create living works of art, where plants are are the art within the frame. Check out these stunning examples of what can be accomplished.
This frame is a fantasy woodland garden mounted on a wall. It looks like the forest is trying to escape into this world by way of the picture frame.
The color combinations of these succulents are carefully designed to highlight the beauty of the plants.
Repurposed rain gutters are great from gardening. They can be presented in many different ways. There is plenty of room for the roots of the plants to grow, and the length can be adjusted to fit your space. They can be painted to fit in with your decor, or left lone for a more rustic vibe.
The hanging garden below are crafted from three levels of gutters suspended by chain or rope. This presentation enables the homeowner to have a beautiful planting on the patio without a heavy duty structure blocking the view. The flowers become the focal point for the space.
Installation on a fence or wall is a very common treatment for gutters. Strawberries do exceptionally well in this kind of environment. There is plenty of room for the plants to spread and grow, and being up off the ground makes it much easier to harvest the luscious berries as they ripen.
Here is a use for all those jars that are no longer useable for preserving your harvest. Succulents or air plants would work best for these containers since it will be difficult to add drainage to these jars without breaking them.
Plastic piping with a hole drilled into the sides to accommodate soil, water, and plants can be designed to make very interesting and unique planters. That being said, if you want to grow produce, you need to make sure that you do not use PVC as a planter. PVC can leach chemicals into the soil that can have harmful effects. If you are using piping, make sure that it is the kind that is for potable water sources.
Wire baskets can make super cute plant holders! Pick them up at yard sales or flea markets, then mix and match for a visually interesting display.
While not technically a basket, this wire dress form has been transformed into a succulent ball gown. What a great way to add quirky uniqueness and personality to a garden.
Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice!
Using recycled objects is a fabulous way to add artistry an pizzazz to your garden. It also enables you to plant in places that you might never have though possible in a very cost effective way. The examples above are by no means exhaustive and if you can imagine it, you can probably do it! Now head out to the flea market and find your perfect planters for your vertical garden!
Maybe you find these foundation plants are interesting!