Vertical Gardens

Are you climbing the walls at home?  Why not utilise these vertical assets to advantage by incorporating them into your view and green space?  There are many easy ways to transform fences, walls and other vertical surface from bland to brilliant using plants.  These living additions can be more than just an attractive green wall.  Depending on what you grow, it might be an edible vertical harvest, a living “room” divider or a combine a sculptural feature that turns the bare into an art space.  The effect is stunning and the space saving a real backyard or balcony bonus.


  • Plants need water, so build in a watering system of plant to regularly water and how this will be achieved
  • Plant growing media in vertical gardens need to hold and retain moisture extra well, so mix potting mix with extra coco peat and water storing crystals to help it stay moist longer
  • Make sure you match up the plants you use to position they’re going and group plants of the same needs together
  • Use plants that naturally have a spreading or sprawling habit to get the best coverage.

Planting Combos

  • Hot, sunny positions, work well using succulents like Sedums, Echerverias, Aptenias and
  • Shady, cool areas make the perfect microclimate for ferns – especially ones that grow with spreading rhizomes like Rasp fern, Boston fern and hare’s foot fern. 
  • Trailing ground covers like Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, native violets, fan flower, golden moneywort and Lamium are terrific for adding punches of foliage colour in cascading gold or silver as well as flowers.
  • Mix in some grasses such as Carex and Lomandra for another great textural contrast.
  • For flowers, try gazania – also known as treasure flower if you have a sunny spot or New Guinea impatiens if you have a partially shaded spot.
  • Edible herbs like oregano, marjoram, ground cover thymes and mints all work well in vertical gardens…are they have the added bonus of being a growing spice rack.  Pop in a few leafy greens like silver beet, rainbow chard and perpetual lettuce, and in summer a ‘Tumbling Tom’ trailing cherry tomato, and in autumn and winter, some sugar snap peas, and you can graze on a salad all year round.

by Meredith Kirton