Create a vertical garden with guttering

Vertical garden are especially suited to small gardens and balconies
Vertical gardens are especially suited to small gardens and balconies.

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    50-100 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Introduction

Vertical gardens are ideal for those who want to get green-fingered on their balconies or terraces, but don’t have a lot of room to play with. Who said that gardens always have to be planted horizontally? Exactly: no one. So why not repurpose a few lengths of guttering to create a fragrant garden wall, offering plenty of room for different herbs, wild flowers and even lettuce.

You need
Utilities
  • pocket rule
  • pencil
Materials
  • 5 wooden boards, rough from sawing and waterproofed: 3 m x 120 mm x 21 mm, in spruce
  • 10 countersunk wood screws: 5 mm x 70 mm
  • 10 wall plugs: 8 mm
  • 30 round head wood screws for the guttering brackets: 4 mm x 18 mm
  • 5 semi-circular lengths of guttering, e.g. in white: 1 m long
  • 10 guttering brackets
  • 10 guttering caps
  • potting soil
  • plants
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 5

Clean the wall and pre-drill the boards

Cleaning the wall with the high-pressure washer
The best way to prepare your wall is to use a high-pressure washer.

You need: wooden boards

Now things are going to get a bit dirty! To help accentuate your garden wall, you first need to clean your chosen area – very thoroughly. For the best results, we recommend using a high-pressure washer, which will clean gently, yet thoroughly, removing even the most stubborn marks and stains. Before you move onto the next step – drilling holes into the wall – first drill holes in the centre of the boards, around 20 cm from the edge. We recommend drilling two holes per board, ideally with a 4 mm wood drill bit. Repeat this step for all five boards. The cordless combi drill is the perfect tool for the job, as you can also use it afterwards to drill into the brick wall.

Step 2 5

Drill holes into the wall and insert the wall plugs

A man drilling into stone wall with cordless combi drill
You’ll find it easiest to drill into the wall with a cordless combi drill

You need: Cross and line laser, Laser measure, masonry drill bit: 8mm, pocket rule, pencil, wall plugs, boards

Now position the boards on the wall. Use a spirit level or laser rangefinder to check that the boards are straight. Mark the drill holes on the wall in pencil. Then, drill the holes using an 8 mm masonry drill bit, starting with the bottom board. The boards should be spaced around 30 cm apart and should start about 35 cm above the ground. Finally, insert the wall plugs into the holes to secure your vertical garden in place.

Tip
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A DRILL BIT
Choosing the right drill bit for your wall depends on the type of wall you have. Knock on the wall with your hand or a hammer. Do you hear a hollow sound? If so, your wall is probably made from plasterboard, aerated concrete or wood. Is the sound dull or muffled? This means your wall is a solid wall made from natural stone or concrete. Ask your DIY store which drill bit is best for your wall. If you’re unsure, you can do a small test using a thin drill bit in a concealed area of the wall.
Step 3 5

Screw on the boards and secure the brackets

man fixing boards to a stone wall using a cordless combi drill
Using your combi drill’s screwing function, fix the boards to the wall and secure the brackets.

You need: Cross and line laser, Cordless combi drill, guttering, boards

Once you’ve inserted all the wall plugs into the holes, it’s time to screw on the boards. To do this, use the cordless combi drill again. While you’re working hard screwing things in, this is the perfect time to secure the guttering brackets. You have to make sure that your vertical garden is stable, which means each length of guttering needs to be supported by the brackets you’ll fix to the boards in this step. Screw in the guttering brackets around 25 cm from the edge of each board using the cordless combi drill.

Step 4 5

Drill drainage holes

Cordless combi drill with 8mm wood or masonry bit attached, drilling into a piece of guttering to create drainage holes
To help prevent mould and waterlogging, you need to drill drainage holes in the guttering.

You need: Cordless combi drill, Cordless glue gun, Wood Drill Bit Set, guttering

You can now transform the guttering into planters to create your vertical garden. To make sure your plants can really flourish in their future home, you still have a little bit more preparation to do, namely by making sure that excess water can drain from the guttering planters. To do this, use the 8 mm drill bit to drill five holes in each length of guttering. These holes will form a drainage system and help to avoid waterlogging and prevent rotting and mould. For metal guttering, we recommend that you use a metal drill bit, while a wood or metal drill bit will make short work of plastic guttering. Then, attach the end caps and potentially seal them with hot glue to make them watertight (guttering systems vary – some are already watertight on purchase).

Congratulations! Your first vertical garden is finished!

Tip
INSIDER TIP

If you add small stones or pottery fragments to your guttering before filling it with soil, make sure that you don’t block the drainage holes.

Step 5 5

Plant your vertical garden

Vertical garden made of guttering being filled with herbs, flowers or plants
Finally, you can add your choice of plants to the vertical garden

You need: potting soil, your choice of plants

So, you’ve created your vertical garden, but it’s looking a bit sparse. Do you prefer rosemary, lamb’s lettuce or lavender? You can plant your vertical garden to suit your own botanical tastes – according to the season and your mood. We recommend that you fill the guttering with nutrient-rich potting soil, then add your chosen plants, ideally with enough room between seedlings for them to grow and flourish. Then lightly water them. You can now place the planted guttering into the guttering brackets – and your vertical garden is complete!

Tip
TIP FOR FORWARD-PLANNERS
Because guttering isn’t very deep, try to choose plants that grow horizontally. Not only will it look beautiful, it will help you make the most of your limited space.