How to create a vertical garden | The Wildlife Trusts

How to create a vertical garden | The Wildlife Trusts

Gardening doesn’t need to be restricted to the ground – bring your walls to life for wildlife!

Gardeners have long been creating ‘green walls’ using wires or trellises to provide a framework for climbing plants. Climbing plants like clematis, honeysuckle, rose and jasmine can create an amazing scent for your garden and are loved by many creatures from butterflies to bees.


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Yet, over the past few years, a new technique has taken hold: the ‘vertical garden’. With this method, plants live in pots fixed to the wall, hanging baskets, or on ladders or steps, giving height and depth to patios, driveways and small spaces. By using structured planting, instead of rambling climbing plants, a much more defined and designed scheme can be created. Many types of plants will thrive in a vertical garden, from herbs and fruit, to grasses and ferns, providing a feast for our eyes, the kitchen and our pollinators.

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Green walls are great for lots of reasons. They:

  • Deflect water from buildings
  • Provide an extra layer of insulation
  • Keep homes cool in summer
  • Look fantastic
  • Provide habitats for insects
  • Contribute to improving air quality
  • Contribute to reducing noise pollution
  • Make the most of your space

Many types of plants will thrive in a green wall, from herbs and fruit to grasses and ferns.

Vertical pallet planters

A popular choice for vertical gardens is using upcycled wooden pallets! Be careful with edible planting – there are some health concerns regarding pesticide treatments of the wood, so take care when selecting your pallets. To be safe, if you’re planting directly into the pallets, use them for flowers instead. Otherwise you can use a leaning pallet to attach pots.

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Things you will need:

  • A wooden pallet
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • Jubilee clips (of an appropriate length to go around chosen pots)
  • Terracotta pots
  • Optional: paint, paintbrushes, stencils, varnish for sealing
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Building your vertical pallet planter:

  1. Make sure your pallet is clean and safe – sand down any sharp edges and check for protruding nails or splinters.
  2. If painting your pallet or pots, do it at this stage, but make sure to seal the wood with a varnish and let everything dry before moving on.
  3. Screw a hole near the centre of each jubilee clip and screw these into the wood in whichever arrangement you’d like your pots to hang in – for example, in an alternate chequered pattern.
  4. Close the jubilee clips so that they hold the pots about halfway down their length.
  5. Insert plants of your choice, making sure to water and care for them as appropriate.

Other popular choices for upcycled vertical gardens include shoe organisers and plastic bottles!