A vertical garden can be placed on a patio or inside an apartment window. No matter where you plan to put your vertical garden wall, the critical considerations include weight, water control, and light. If you’ve never gardened before, start your vertical wall outside in a spot you can get wet.
1- Review the Light
Plants grown in a vertical wall are generally placed close together. Make sure you use the same sized plants in your plant pockets to avoid adding tall plants that will shade out other plants. If you purchased plants all around the same size but find you have a hybrid or sport that is growing too tall, be ready to move it to a separate spot.
2- Make Watering Easy
A vertical garden will need to stay wet. Using drip irrigation will make that even easier. If you have multiple garden walls, consider using a timer and a splitter to keep your water usage down to a manageable level. If you have the time to water your garden wall each day or each couple of days, make sure you invest in a hose extension so you can start high.
3- Over-Frame the Wall
A wire backing with plants or plant pockets can look promising before you add soil, plants, and water. However, once those plants start growing and the weight starts to make the wall sag, you will be stuck trying to fix and fiddle the wall back into shape. If you don’t have a stone wall, use water-resistant wood such as cedar and overbuild your wall.
4- Rust-Proof Before You Start
Wet metal corrodes. Plan ahead. If you build your own back wall and have wire, staples or nails, go ahead and hit them with rust-proof spray paint before you start adding pots and water. Take a look at your stone wall as well. There are metal clips or tags included in brick construction that may rust and create rusty streaks down the mortar over time.
5- Buy the Best Potting Soil You Can Find
Potting soil has a shelf life. You may find a great deal on it, but if your potting soil isn’t nutrient-rich, your second year of vertical gardening may be very sad compared to your first year of growth. Changing your potting soil each year will be messy and expensive. It may also be very hard on your pockets, wall backing, and pot anchors.
6- Prep the Backing and the Drip Zone
If you’re lucky enough to have a permanent stone wall that you can use for your vertical garden, take a hard look at the base of your wall. Is it sealed? If not, where will the dripping water seep through to? What color is the stone? What will minerals do to that surface at the bottom of the wall? Calcium and copper can create pretty accents on the right-colored stone, but if you have slate or a solid color stone at the base of that wall, you may want to seal it before you plant.