How to Build a Vertical Garden with Blocks

by Chris Lambton

Vertical gardens are super trendy right now. They are popping up all over the place – and for good reason! These projects can look vastly different depending on the size of the final location, the materials used to construct the containers and the plants chosen to be featured. You can truly make this your own.

How to Build a Vertical Garden with Blocks

In this project, we'll be using four different boxes that can be hooked onto a ladder or secured onto a wall in your home. We'll place succulents inside of our planter boxes which allows for constant greenery in the home as they are always in season. Plus, succulents are a great starter plant as they do not require much watering or tons of sunlight. That being said, you can vary the dimensions, materials or plants in this project to make this DIY vertical garden project entirely your own. Get creative!

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Materials Needed for your DIY Vertical Garden:

  • 1" x 4" walnut 3' long piece, cut into the below dimensions:
  • Three pieces that are 8"
  • Two pieces that are 4"
  • 1 ½" screws
  • Paint

Fiskars Tools Needed for your DIY Vertical Garden:

  • Fiskars® Precision Hand Saw – this tool features a thin, yet powerful, triple-ground blade that enables it to glide through materials like the wood needed for your DIY vertical garden giving you controlled, precise cuts.
  • Fiskars® Precision Hand Drill – I love that this tool is cordless and quiet, so I don't have to deal with positioning my workstation next to an outlet or worry about waking up the neighbors when I want to start assembling!
  • Fiskars® Precision Screwdriver – this tool features a free-rotating handle that allows you to leverage your strength to drive in screws with maximum downward force.
  • Fiskars® Multipurpose Garden Snips – these snips do it all – cut plastic potting, open soil bags, snip through wires and twine. I use them for almost any gardening project as they always come in handy.
  • Fiskars® Ergo Transplanter – this is the perfect size tool for planting smaller greenery like herbs and succulents.

How to Make a DIY Vertical Garden with Wood Blocks

Step 1. Determine your dimensions. This is a fun project with dimensions that are customizable depending on where you are putting them. I will walk you through the dimensions I used, but feel free to alter if needed. Start out with buying 1x4 walnut, or any other kind of wood that fits within your final destination and mark your measurements for cut lines that will guide us in Step 2.

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Step 2. Cut your wood to size. Using the Fiskars® Precision Hand Saw, cut three pieces at 8" long for the sides and bottom of your first DIY vertical garden planter box and two pieces at 4" long for the end pieces.

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Step 3. Drill holes into the planter box. For the sides and bottom of the first planter box, pre-drill two holes at the top and bottom of each end, measuring ½" from each edge. Pre-drilling these holes will prevent the wood from splitting at the ends. Make sure when pre-drilling the holes that you have a block underneath the ends so you don't accidentally go through the wood and damage your worksurface.

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Step 4. Screw wood pieces together. Using your Fiskars® Precision Screwdriver, screw in 1½" screws in all 12 pre-drilled holes and attach the pieces together to form a square planter box.

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Step 5. Create additional planter boxes with varying dimensions. Repeat Steps 2 - 5 while changing the length of the side and bottom pieces. Doing this will alter the planter dimensions, allowing you to plant more or less plants in each planter box.

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Step 6. Paint to match your color scheme. If you want to add color to this project, grab some paint and get creative! Since I used walnut, I added a simple stain of Tung oil to seal my project and protect it from the elements.

Step 7. Attach brackets. My final location was a metal ladder in my home, so I wanted to add brackets to the back of my planters. Doing this allows me to move my planters around when I want to vary the orientation. This step is optional, and you can certainly attach them directly to a wall, but I recommend looking for a way to make these planters movable, so you can replant or water easier when the time comes for an update of your greenery. To attach the brackets, simply pre-drill holes and screw the bracket into place on the back-side of your planters.

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Step 8. Plant. If planting succulents, add rocks to the bottom of your planter boxes for drainage. Once dry, plant your succulents into the containers using the Fiskars® Ergo Transplanter. First add dirt, then cut open your plant pot using the Fiskars® Multipurpose Snip and plant the greenery into each container. As was mentioned, you can substitute in other greenery, like herbs, but you'll want to add in drainage holes if adding in a plant that requires more watering.

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Step 9. Attach to your wall. Attach your planter boxes to your wall in any fashion you'd like to create your DIY vertical garden. Here, we added brackets to the backs of the containers to loop onto a metal ladder in our home, but you can skip adding brackets and instead nail or screw the boxes directly into your wall or a post in your home

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This is a fun, easy project that can bring year-round color inside your home!

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Vertical Garden?

This DIY vertical garden costs around only $15 for all needed supplies. Considering the versatility and trendiness, this low-cost project is a steal!

Best Plants for Vertical Gardens

This depends on your final location and the material used to construct your planter. For plants like herbs, you may want to add a liner into the wooden base, as well as drainage, so the water doesn't pool and ruin your planter boxes. The plants I added were:

  • Aloe
  • Snake Plant
  • Haworthia
  • Echeveria

You could also add:

  • Herbs, like basil, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, and rosemary. Just remember the planter lining, and they'll need to be placed in an area that gets a good amount of sunlight.
  • Other succulents, like jade, zebra plant or houseleek. These are great options to keep that greenery front and center.
  • Small varieties of cacti and air plants. These need hardly any direct water added to the container as they can survive off of the mist in the air, especially if your DIY vertical garden is located in a kitchen or bathroom area by a sink.
  • Orchids. These can come in small varieties and also require very little watering.
  • Pothos. These are great for indoor areas that receive low lighting. Plus, their flowery leaves will cascade down the DIY vertical garden beautifully!

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