7 Steps to a DIY Vertical Garden for Your Planters

Looking for a new way to showcase your planters? If you want to garden using outdoor planters, but don't have space on your patio or balcony, we have the solution! Build a DIY Vertical Garden to spotlight the hanging plants, fruits, and vegetables growing in your planter boxes. Here's how.

Few Hours
Less Than $100
Staircase planter loaded with plants against a garden shed
Side view of a staircase planter with a plant on every step
A variety of plants sitting on the steps of the vertical planter.

What You Need for This Project

Before You Start

1. Read all instructions before you proceed.

2. If you want to spray paint the metal flanges or the copper pipe, do this first.

3. Cut your lumber:

  • Two 12 foot boards of 2" X 4", cut into 6 ft. lengths. Four pieces in total.
  • One 8 ft. board of 2" X 4", cut into two 3 ft. lengths. Two pieces in total. Discard remaining two feet.
  • Two 12 ft. boards of 5/4" X 6", cut into 3 ft. lengths. Eight pieces in total.

4. Smooth and rough edges on the boards with sandpaper.

5. Pre-drill all screw holes with a 3/32 in. drill bit before attaching pieces together. See instructions for where to place the pilot holes.

  1. 1


    Pre-Drill the Step Boards

    The stairs are formed from two 4-step risers and eight 3 ft. lengths of 5/4 inch by 6 in. boards. Set aside four of the 3 ft. boards for Step Three.

    Pre-drill two pilot holes at each short edge of the step board for four in total. These holes should be 3/4 in. from the board's rough edge, and 1 in. from each long edge.

  2. Steps:

Drilling pilot holes in wood
Close up of the stairs of a staircase planter, with all the pieces in place before assembly
  1. 2


    Attach the Back Step Boards to the Risers

    Place the stair risers securely against a wall; you may want someone to hold them in place while you work.

    Note: To make sure the risers are in the correct position, be sure the 8 1/2 in. sections are horizontal and the shorter 7 in. sections are vertical. (See diagram)

    Starting with the top step, line up the edge of the first 3 ft. length of 5/4 in. by 6 in. board with the outer edge of the stair riser and secure in place with two 2 1/2-in. deck screws. Do the same at the other end of the board and the second riser.

    Repeat to attach the three remaining boards. The entire unit should be 3 ft. wide when assembled.

  2. Steps:

Schematic of the placement of the back step board on a riser
  1. 3


    Attach the Front Step Boards to the Risers

    The front step boards extend slightly beyond the front edge of the risers.

    Pre-drill two pilot holes at each short edge of the step board for four in total. These holes should be 3/4 in. from the board's rough edge, and 1 in. from each long edge. Because of the step board's overhang, drill the second pilot hole 1 in. from past the first, so 2 in. from the back edge.

  2. Steps:

Schematic describing where to attach the front step board
  1. 4


    Assemble the Support Frame with Copper Pipe

    The support frame is made from two 6-foot pieces of 2 in. by 4 in. boards, two 3 ft. pieces of 2 in. by 4 in. boards, and a length of copper pipe that will be used for hanging plants.

    Using 1 in. screws, attach one floor flange to each of the 6 ft. pieces of lumber 3 in. from the top of the board. Secure the copper pipe into the flanges.

    Then, drill two pilot holes at the top of each of the 6 ft. boards, 1 in. from both the top and outside edges. Using the 2 1/2 in. deck screws and the pilot holes, affix one of the 3 ft. pieces of 2 in. x 4 in. lumber to the top of the assembly held together by the copper pipe.

  2. Steps:

Close up of the assembled the support frame with the copper pipe installed at the top
Image of the copper pipe installed into the flange
The copper pipe within the flange installed onto the wooden support frame
  1. 5


    Attach the Support Frame to the Staircase Steps

    Place the staircase steps in a level position and line up the back edge of the support frame with the back edge of the risers.

    With the staircase level, secure the support frame to the sides of the risers with four 2 1/2 in. deck screws.

    Attach the remaining 3 ft. piece of lumber between the support frame, behind the staircase steps, approximately 16 in. from ground. This gives the whole unit extra stability.

  2. Steps:

Placement of the support frame in reference to the riser
  1. 6


    Stain or Paint as Desired

    We have painted the vertical garden in this example a single coat of brown wood stain.

  2. Steps:

Close up of the stairs after they
  1. 7


    Add Plants

    Time to get creative with your vertical garden! Here are some ideas:

    • There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that grow nicely in hanging planter boxes.
    • The three-bean salad mix planter will gradually grow up the support frame. Hang some twine to wrap the tendrils around as they grow.
    • The mixed lettuce bowl can be harvested any time for salads and sandwiches.
    • Be sure to start new leaf lettuce seeds every few weeks so you have fresh salad greens all summer long.
    • Herbs such as basil, sage, chives, parsley, and oregano are popular choices.
    • Hang a pair of herb shears on the plant stand so they're handy when you need them.
    • Strawberries grow nicely in hanging baskets and containers. Think strawberries are passé? Try pineberries, which are white strawberries that taste like pineapple.

  2. Steps:

Vertical Staircase Planter loaded down with a variety of plants
Closeup of a hanging basket hanging from the copper pipe at the top of the support assembly
Closeup of plants on the staircase of the planter
Closeup of lettuce plants in terra cotta pots sitting on the stairs
Closeup of a pineberry plan on the staircase of the planter

How To Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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