How To Create a Vertical Garden

  • Vertical garden

    Vertical garden

    With supplies from a hardware store, a vintage frame, potting soil and succulents, you can make a vertical foliage display.

    Click or tap ahead for step-by-step instructions on how to make this display, as well as for other examples of vertical gardens.

  • Step 1: Materials

    Step 1: Gather materials

    You’ll need moss, vintage vent, wire, snips, coconut fiber, screws, drill, wooden box, spray paint, wire mesh, soil and succulents.

  • Step 2: Paint the vent or frame

    Step 2: Paint the vent or frame

    A vintage portrait frame or heating vent, used here, both work well to frame your vertical garden. A coat of paint or polyurethane varnish helps prevent moisture damage.

  • Step 3: Make a planting box

    Step 3: Make a planting box

    Create a planting box out of a durable wood, such as red cedar. Your wooden box should be about 4-5 inches deep with the same width and length as your vent or frame. Back the planting box with additional wooden planks for stability and drainage. Seal all of the wood with a polyurethane finish. Then, line the inside of the box with wire mesh.

  • Step 4: Add fiber mat and fill

    Step 4: Add fiber mat and fill

    Before filling with potting soil, add a coconut fiber (or coir) liner to the planting box. The liners, which typically can be found in garden centers near the hanging baskets, help prevent soil and water loss. Then fill the planting box with a potting soil that includes a slow-release fertilizer. The lightweight nature of potting soil, versus heavier soils like loam, is essential for vertical gardens.

  • Step 5: Attach the vent or frame

    Step 5: Attach vent or frame

    Using a drill or screwdriver and screws, attach the painted vent or frame to the planting box.

  • Step 6: Plant

    Step 6: Plant

    Fill the miniature garden with low-water plants, like succulents. In this garden, sedum’s tiny green leaves brightly contrast blue-gray Echeveria.

  • Living art

    Living art

    This piece of living art includes silver-gray Echeveria towards the bottom of the frame with clusters of Sempervivum, sedums and creeping thyme throughout.

  • Succulent displays

    Succulent displays

    These framed boxes serve as shelving for a selection of potted succulents. The painted frames are mounted on backless 4-inch-deep boxes. 

  • Picture-perfect


    This lush vertical garden joins a vintage sewing box and a vintage picture frame, supported by the wooden legs of an old piano. The sewing box overflows with potted plants and the picture frame grows succulents and accents with gardening tools.