How To Build a DIY Vertical Vegetable Garden

vertical vegetable garden

This modern, modular vertical vegetable garden project works well in any space. Because it uses wood containers, you don’t have to worry about the quality of your existing soil, and they can sit on any surface: grass, concrete, gravel or even a wooden deck. The garden’s vertical orientation lets you grow a whole bunch of veggies, herbs, and flowers in a tiny footprint. The boxes are customizable to fit your space – all you need is a solid wall or fence to attach the structure to, and you can put this guy anywhere.

Vertical Vegetable Garden Tools and Materials:

  • Miter or circular saw
  • Cordless drill and 1⁄8 inch drill bit
  • Staple gun and 1/2 electric cord staples
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses and a dust mask
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tin snips or cutting pliers
  • 3x  8′ long cedar  1x8s
  • 4x 8′ long cedar 1x3s
  • 16x 8′ long cedar 1x2s
  • 1 roll of wire hardware cloth, 1/2″ gap
  • 1 roll weed blocker fabric

vertical vegetable garden (front view)

Building the Boxes:

I built my project out of “one-by” cedar material. Since my vertical garden was going to be outside, I knew it would have lots of contact with water and direct sunlight, so I selected cedar for its natural decay-resistant properties. I would never use pressure-treated lumber for this, as it contains chemicals that will leach into the soil where my edibles are growing.

building box frames for vertical vegetable garden

The main boxes measure 10″ high by 23″ long and 7 1/4″ wide. The sides are made from cedar 1x8s, cut to 10″. Two cedar 1x3s make up the base, 21 1/2″ in length, to give the bottom strength. Note that this is not a solid bottom so that the soil can have proper drainage. The 1x3s are spaced evenly across the bottom.

attaching 1x3 wood pieces to box frame

The slats on the sides are made from cedar 1×2 material, cut to 23″. This size allows you to use an 8′ 1×2 to cut 4 slats for the front, while allowing for waste from the saw kerf. Be sure sure to place them flush with the top and bottom of the box, hiding the 1×3″ base when viewed from the front. Just space them evenly by eye, about 1 to 1 1/2″ apart. Attach them with 1 1/2″ long #8 decking screws. Because you’re screwing so close to the edge of the wood, you’ll definitely want to drill pilot holes to prevent splitting the wood.

1x3 attached to box frame

To give the covered boxes a little more space, the center boxes are 12 3/4″ tall and use five slats to make up the front and back.

stapling wire mesh to box frames

Once your boxes are assembled, cut 1/2″ mesh hardware cloth using snips or cutting pliers, and staple it to the 1×3″ base to make up the bottom of the boxes.

stapling weed barrier cloth to frame

Then, line the sides and the bottom with weed barrier cloth. This is, admittedly, the hardest part, as the cloth is stretchy and can be a bit unwieldy. Start by cutting the weed barrier to length, leaving an extra inch or so on each side. Then, to figure out the length, wrap it around the outside of the two sides and the bottom, like you would when wrapping a gift. Cut to size, then staple to the top slat of one side, and work your way down the bottom, across, and up the other side, using lots of staples to keep things taut.

Assembling the Vertical Garden

assembling the vertical garden frames against a wall

Begin by placing two of the shorter boxes on the ground, and add a taller box to span the gap. Once you’re happy with their placement, screw them to the backing material (the fence, wall, or what have you).

attaching a l shaped riser to the wall

The boxes are supported with a simple L-shaped riser. It’s cut to the same height as the taller boxes – 12 3/4″ – and is a piece of 1×8″ with a 1×2″ screwed perpendicularly to the back. This gives is a face to screw into the wall. Line it up carefully with the bottom box, and attach.

planting vegetables into the vertical garden

Continue to build your vertical vegetable garden until all the boxes and risers are attached and secure. Then, fill them with potting soil, and add your plants.

created at: 04/08/2015

There you have it, a beautiful space-saving vertical vegetable garden. We hope you try out this simple DIY project!