vertical gardening ideas

Ep. 17 – 3 Best Vertical Gardening Ideas for Small Spaces

These vertical gardening ideas can help you increase your available growing space and increase the square footage in your vegetable garden this growing season.

What do you do if you have huge garden dreams, but not enough space for the large garden those dreams require! The answer is simple, you grow up! When the horizontal space is lacking, we don’t have to give up on our gardening plans. We can consider vertical gardening! In this episode, we’re going to talk about maximizing our gardens by considering vertical garden ideas, and I’ll share 8 ways that you can create your own vertical garden!

Welcome to the ‘Garden Things with Friends Podcast’! We’re here to show that building a thriving garden is possible for everyone, even those with busy schedules and long to-do lists. I’m Ashley, your host, and two years ago, I turned my garden dreams into reality in my suburban backyard. Through trial and error over the next two seasons, I’ve created a thriving garden that I absolutely love. My goal is to inspire you to create your dream garden too! So let’s grow together!

Hey ya’ll and welcome to the podcast! I’m really excited about this episode, because I am a huge fan of vertical gardening! Especially as someone with huge garden plans and dreams, but not quite enough space for the large garden I imagine! In fact, a huge part of my garden planning centers around Vertical Gardening!

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What is vertical gardening?

So what is vertical gardening? Vertical gardening is a method of growing plants upward using trellises, panels, or towers rather than spreading them out over the ground! It’s an easy way to maximize your garden especially when you have a small garden space. 

You can also use vertical gardening if you have a traditional garden with rows or multiple containers! Building trellises which are placed in your garden beds or along your garden rows is a great way to help you plant more without increasing the square footage of your garden! 

Benefits of Vertical Gardening

Now there are a ton of benefits to consider growing vertically in your growing spaces! Here are just a few of those benefits!

Space efficiency

Vertical gardening really helps you to maximize the space you have! Not everyone has acres and acres of land, I know I don’t in my suburban garden! Using the vertical space around your garden along with being specific with your pruning can significantly increase the amount of garden space you have, and the amount of plants you can plant.

More Variety of Plants

When you add vertical growing methods to your garden game plan, it allows you to plant a larger variety of plants in less space! You’re not limited to only low-growing crops or more compact crops in your indoor or outdoor space! Planting vining cucumbers, squash, and melons is much easier! These plants typically take up a ton of space, but growing them up gives you more room to work with!

Improved accessibility

One of the benefits that’s really close to my heart is the fact that it improves accessibility! As someone who has experienced back pain and in inability to bend to garden off and on, growing vertically, can improve accessibility to gardening in general (as it can help you grow in truly small spaces). But it also opens up the option of gardening to those with chronic pain and physical limitations. 

Disease control

When you grow vertically you also reduce the chance of disease and pests! Many diseases and pests spread from soil to plant. When plants are grown vertically, they’re off the ground which means they’re less likely to come in contact with contaminated soil. It’s also easier to see pests on the plant which can help you control them.

Ease in garden maintenance

This benefit goes along with the improved accessibility because pruning and harvesting are far easier when you can see the crops and the areas of need!

Vertical Gardening Ideas

Now let’s talk about the great ways to add vertical structures to your garden! These will range from some of my favorite vertical garden purchases as well as some money saving DIY vertical garden ideas that can help you maximize the limited space in your vegetable garden. For this section I have divided the types of structures into three categories! Which are:

  • Trellises
  • Garden Towers
  • DIY Options

We’ll talk about each, and I’ll show you how I am using them in my garden!


The first method of vertical gardening we’ll discuss is the use of trellises. This is by far the most common method of growing vertically, and there are a ton of options and aesthetics you can use! They come in a variety of materials as well! Some of the most common configurations are: 

  • Arch Trellis
  • Obelisk Trellis
  • Free Standing Trellis
  • A-Frame Trellis

Last year in my garden I had a ton of Arch Trellises in my garden and they are a really fantastic way to  grow vertically, however, I won’t have any in my garden this year! My reasons are purely fear driven, but I’d like to point out that if having things grow over your head is a problem for you, maybe consider a different method.

Obelisk trellises are truly beautiful structures, and  I have to say that they’re some of my favorite! They’re a great way to support vining plants, giving them lots of room without taking up too much garden space! 

I love simple trellises like a free-standing trellis panel or fan trellis. You can put these anywhere in your garden and they are perfect for climbing plants like beans and peas! When you use multiples it creates a really beautiful fence aesthetic in your garden.

I also love A-Frame trellis. This is a very simple structure that is fantastic for heavy climbing vegetables like peas and beans! You can put them just about anywhere and they’re easy to build! 

Garden Tower

The next type of vertical gardening we will discuss is vertical towers and if you have been following me for any amount of time, you’ll know about my slight love affair with the Greenstalk Vertical Planters. 

In my first year of growing in this zone, I was introduced to the Greenstalk company, and their vertical garden system, and was immediately sold! Seriously, I bought 6 over the course of the season! 

What I love about these planters is for the gardener who doesn’t have space, loves a certain aesthetic or doesn’t have the ability to take up yard space for garden beds, these give you an opportunity to grow a ton of food in limited space! 

The Greenstalk planters come in two basic forms, the leaf which has 7-inch-deep pockets and is great for leafy greens, herbs and flowers and the Original which has 10-inch-deep pockets! With 6 pockets on each level and the opportunity to build up to 7 levels with the leak planter, you can see how you can easily grow a ton of food with these planters! 

Now as a podcast listener, you can get $10 off any order over $75 by  clicking the link below and adding the code Gardenthings to you cart at checkout! 

DIY Options

There are many DIY trellis options as well that can be completed as a weekend vertical gardening project to incorporate this space saving-technique to your kitchen garden! 

You can use bamboo canes to create a tripod or build box structures along with wire or jute cord to give support to crops like blackberries, and I have even seen people grow melons in this way! 

Wooden pallets can be used as a vertical container if you line with landscape fabric, adding wall planters with proper drainage holes to create a vertical herb garden! 

Cattle Panels and T-posts are often used as one of the easiest ways to give vertical support to many types of plants! And for those of us who cannot manage to get the cattle panels home can use PVC pipe and wire mesh to create a similar structure. 

Best Crops to Grow Vertically

Alright, now that we have some ideas of how to grow vertically, let’s look at some of the vegetables that thrive growing up! Some of my favorite crops to grow vertically include

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • Cucumbers

Growing these crops vertically can not only save space but also offer cleaner fruit and ease of management!

I’ve got tons of examples of how I’m using vertical growing to maximize space and increase my harvest on my socials where you can find me @momjeansandgardenthings, which is also linked below! 

I love connecting with listeners and sharing stories and insights on gardening so don’t hesitate to say hello!

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Happy Gardening and Remember It’s never the wrong time to Grow where you are!

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