10 Space-Saving Vertical Garden Ideas

Ideas to Create More Space in Your Garden with Vertical Growing

yellow roses growing on trellis

Garden space is a rare commodity today—so few of us are operating out of our patio with little or no land to work with, which makes it more important than ever to make use of all your garden space. The best way to do this is to grow your garden upwards, filling that Y axis with fine flora.

A vertical garden has many advantages over a traditional (flat) garden. First and foremost, it lets you fit many more plants into a small space. Vertical gardens also put plants right up to eye level, which makes their beauty and fragrance easy to admire. And bonus—this also makes them easy to inspect for pests, easy to tend, and easy to harvest. Since they don’t require stooping or hunching to deal with, they are easy on the gardener’s back and perfect for the elderly or disabled.

When creating a vertical garden, keep in mind what kind of plants you are trying to grow. Succulents like aloe, delosperma, echeveria, or sedum are popular because they can thrive in shallow soil pockets (and of course it helps that they also rarely need watered).

Herbs are generally small plants that also require little soil. Great herbs to grow in the vertical garden are basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary, stevia, thyme, and oregano.

A lot of the visual impact of the vertical garden comes from vine-like plants that climb up the structure or trail down the structure, and for this purpose ivy, clematis, climbing roses, geranium (particularly Cranesbill varieties), begonia, and spider plants can all be effective—when picking your climbing/trailing plants, take into account how much room you have, how much sun the spot receives, and how large of a planter you are providing.


For edible vertical gardens, tomato and beans are great climbers, strawberries are great trailers, and lettuce is great for how lush it will grow and how little soil it requires.

Bromeliads and other epiphytic plants (e.g. Tillandsia or “Air Plant,” Rock Lily, orchid, and moss) add an exotic, rainforest feel to the vertical garden, and they are natural choices because they are adapted to growing up in tree limbs without any soil at all.

Once you know what plants you want to grow, you can choose the structure that will suit them well. Here are the top 10 vertical garden projects that can add some height in your garden:

  1. Let vines and climbers shade your patio with a pergola planter.
  2. Elevate your flower garden with a tower planter.
  3. Cloak those bare walls in green with wall planters.
  4. Or build your living wall beneath a downspout and store rainwater in style.
  5. Combine seating and vertical gardening with a bench planter.
  6. Squeeze more plants into small spaces with a strawberry pyramid.
  7. Add low-maintenance living art indoors or out with the succulent picture planter.
  8. Screen your porch or patio with hanging gardens growing out of gutters.
  9. Enjoy that beauty indoors or out with the classic window box.
  10. Or, why not paint life right onto your walls with moss artwork?