If you have a courtyard or balcony, you can still have a luscious garden – you just need to reach for the sky with a vertical garden. There’s a huge range of systems available, so you can be creative in your use of space and materials.
Choosing your system
From large pre-fabricated systems, PVC pipe or gutter gardens, to DIY recycled pallet or mulch bales, the options are endless. Some systems are freestanding and others are wall-mounted. A great place to start is a commercial segmented vertical garden system with a series of plastic pots that are clicked onto a backing board at various intervals.
Getting in position
Vertical gardens can be heavy when filled with potting mix and plants, so check the load-bearing capacity of your walls or balcony before you start. It can also be a good idea to assemble the garden in position, as they can be awkward to manoeuvre at a later date.
Selecting plants, top to bottom
Select plants to suit your position – full sun, part-shade or shade. Compact, low-growing plants with shallow root systems usually do best. Group plants with similar water and fertiliser requirements together, and remember, lots of vertical systems will be drier at the top and moister at the bottom.
In sunny spots, plant seasonal edibles like strawberries, tomatoes, baby beetroot and dwarf carrots; herbs like basil, oregano, parsley and thyme; or ornamentals like succulents and seasonal bloomers. Autumn is good planting time for cool season pansies and violas.
In more shady spots, try edibles like leafy greens, chives and mints; or ornamental bromeliads and other small indoor plants.
Always use good quality potting mix and remember to water often. Small pots and windy conditions can dry pots out quickly. Some vertical gardens are set up with irrigation systems, making them easy to water.