The Geek’s Garden Part 5: Climbing the Walls

Pre-apology: I have taken more than two months to complete this post. Please pretend that you’re reading this in late September so you don’t think about how slack I am with consistent blogging.

Before starting this project, I spent far too much time looking at pictures of vertical gardens, trying to discover how they’ve actually been done. This was frustrating, because some are from companies who want you to pay them to build a vertical garden, and the rest are regurgitated images from sources long since lost, talking in vague generalities about how nice green walls are. So, here’s exactly how I created mine.

The finished product.
The finished product.
  • Wall Hogger vertical planters
  • 3 metre, 30-35mm diameter bamboo from ukbamboo.com
  • Stainless steel S-shaped hooks large enough to hook over the bamboo poles
  • Wall mountable hooks. I used these, which are slightly too large. You should use these if you want to learn from my mistakes.
  • Screws to mount the hooks.

That’s all you need. My approach was as follows:

Step 1: Mount the hooks. The bamboo poles are really sturdy, they’ll only need supporting at either end. The hooks I listed are strong enough to support two of the bamboo poles each, so you only need n+1 of the hooks where n is the number of bamboo poles you need to support in a row.

Step 2: Rest the bamboo poles on the hooks. Tie them in place with twine if you want. I did that later.

Step 3: hang the s-shaped hooks off the bamboo. Again, these are strong enough to carry the weight of a pair of wall hoggers, so I’ve gotten away with n+1 hooks for a row of n wall hoggers.

Step 4: hang the wall hoggers off the hooks. Bear in mind that if you’re not instantly ready to plant in them, you will want to weight them down with some stones or something as they are prone to blowing around and falling off when they’re empty.

Another angle
Another angle

That’s it. Your vertical garden space is now ready for planting. So, let’s quickly run through the pros and cons of my incredibly basic approach.

PRO: This approach is really modular. You can scale it up or down depending on how much space you have. Different shaped wall hoggers are available, so you could fit this design in pretty much anywhere.

CON: The s-shaped hooks are prone to sliding along the pole, meaning the wall hoggers don’t hang flat to the fence. I’m mulling over the best solution to this- outdoor-grade elastic bands, maybe?

PRO: This is really easy to construct. Screw the hooks in and the rest is just hanging things in place.

SORT-OF-CON: This probably isn’t the absolute cheapest way of achieving this result. My total cost was about £235 before I even put any plants in. I have seen pictures of approaches that looked cheaper (e.g. using plastic guttering pipe for planters) but there did always seem to be a tradeoff of cost against ease of assembly. A lot of that cost was bamboo, which is incredibly cheap per metre but incurs a high shipping charge as it’s so awkward to move.

NOTE: Normal fences don’t like water. Do not use this design as-is if you have a normal fence. When Tim from Pro Build specced out my fence, he used specially treated timber which will not absorb water. If your fence is not made from this timber, you need to put some kind of water protection between the wall hoggers and the fence, otherwise your fence will get damp and rot incredibly quickly.

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