How to make a vertical garden

How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frameHow to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame
Have you noticed the recent trend of vertical gardens and living walls? They’re an awesome way to bring life into your home in a pretty unusual way. Just take a look at what David Brenner did for the San Francisco Museum of Art!

Today, I’m working with the awesome team at MannKraft to bring you a method for making your own (scaled-down) vertical garden display for your home. The MannKraft team came up with a simple-to-make mini succulent garden using a vintage frame that they found at a flea market. This vertical garden works with any frame you like, but bear in mind that thicker frames work best – you could even paint it if you don’t like the colour of the wood.

Okay, over to you guys for the tutorial!

How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame

How to make a vertical garden succulent frame

To make your vertical garden, you’ll need:

  • Picture frame with back and glass panel removed (a thicker frame works better for this project)
  • 4 x pieces of wood (2 cm x 2 cm thick and the same length as the dimensions of the frame) to make the shadow box. Try using hard wood like redwood or cedar, or treating the wood to resist water.
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood drill
  • Wire mesh (holes roughly 2 cm square) to fit the dimensions of the frame
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Plywood or plastic backing to fit the dimensions of the shadow box
  • Paint (optional)
  • Cactus/succulent potting soil
  • Succulent cuttings
  • Hooks or wire for hanging the frame

How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame


1. Remove the glass and the back from the frame.

2. Cut the wire mesh to fit inside the frame opening, making sure to leave enough to staple to the inside edges of the opening.

3. With the frame face down, insert the mesh. Staple the mesh to the inside edges of the frame, stretching it as you go to make sure that it is nice and taut.

4. Now time to construct the shadow box on the back of the frame to create space for the soil and plants. Cut the wood to the dimensions of the back of the frame – we had two longer pieces and two shorter pieces to form a rectangle. Use a wood drill to make holes slightly smaller than the nails or screws. Drill all the way down through the wood and into the frame. Nail or screw into place.

5. Cut the plywood or plastic backing to the size of the shadow box. Place the backing on the back of the shadow box and nail into place.

6. (Optional) – Paint the frame your desired colour (black looks really cool!) and let it dry. You could also stain the wood of the shadow box so that it’s the same colour as the frame.

How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame

7. With the frame facing up, pour succulent soil on top of the wire mesh, using your hands to push it through the openings. Shake the frame periodically to evenly disperse the soil. Add more soil until it fills the shadow box, reaching the bottom of the wire grid.

8. Separate the succulents into small clumps and place through the wire mesh to create a design. Tuck in larger plants first, followed by smaller ones. You may need to cut and bend the wire squares so that the bigger plants can fit – be careful not to cut too much, otherwise your wire grid will fall apart! Plant as close together as the grid allows. After planting, you may see hints of the wire, but as the succulents grow, they’ll close the gaps.

9. Attach hooks or wire to the back of the frame, hang it up and admire your handiwork!

How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame How to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frameHow to make a DIY vertical garden wall succulent frame

This mini vertical garden is a sure-fire way to impress; it looks great! If you fill it with succulents, it can be used to easily decorate any wall space, indoors or outdoors. Best of all, it requires very low maintenance, only needing a sunny spot and monthly watering or regular misting… so it’s perfect for those serial-plant-killers (like me..!).

Until next time! – Mike (and the Mannkraft team).

Don’t forget to pin the image below so you can try it later!

Learn how to make your own living wall art vertical garden. Click through to see the step by step tutorial

About Author

Hello, I'm Mike! I started this blog in 2013, and it's since become a part-time job for me. I've always been obsessed with crafts (my very first memories are of making things... and I've never grown out of it!). So it really is a dream come true that I can now share this joy with people like you, every single day. Thank you for being here! READ MORE


  • Kathy
    September 14, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    I really like the succulents you used. Do you know the names of all of any of them? I really would love the name of the 2nd one. that you have in the picture where you lined up all. 5.

    April 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    I would love to try this, i have a top to a pallet which essentially looks like a picture frame box already so could use this instead and just add the wire to the top and treat the wood before hand? also would the succulents grow ok in the UK on a walk that doesn’t get much direct sunshine or should I use moss instead? I want to use it to make a big house number design…..thoughts?..

    • Mike
      April 28, 2021 at 4:08 pm

      That sounds like it should work perfectly! I’m in the UK, and I have plenty of succulents in my home that don’t get much light, so I think you should be okay (although I can’t definitely guarantee it, of course!). – Mike

  • Jen
    April 21, 2021 at 1:32 am

    How does the soil not fall out?

    • Mike
      April 28, 2021 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Jen! It gets compacted and held in place under the mesh. Sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it really does! 🙂 – Mike

  • Ivy Montilla
    February 18, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    would orchids be good for this project

    • Mike
      February 21, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      I don’t think so unfortunately – I’d recommend sticking to succulents and moss!

  • Johanna Jeffel
    August 2, 2020 at 6:45 am

    How long after you finish can you hang it ? Do you leave roots or cut them out ?

    • Mike
      August 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

      I’d recommend leaving it for a few hours for the plants/soil to settle, before hanging it up. And there’s no need to cut the roots out, you can plant them as you would in a normal plant pot. Hope this helps! – Mike.

  • Harold Saunders
    October 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    This is another great project. Thank you for sharing this one.

  • Catt
    October 1, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    How does the plant drain after watering??

    • Mike
      October 3, 2019 at 10:23 am

      I’d recommend spraying it with a fine mist every week, so there’s no need to drain it. 🙂 – Mike.

  • DIYPD Peter
    March 27, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Looks stunning! I’ll try to make it this weekend with my wife! Well done!

    • Mike
      March 28, 2019 at 11:05 am

      Thanks so much! Tag me in a photo if you make one – I’d love to see! 🙂 – Mike

  • Gr
    March 27, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you for a great tutorial! Can I use it to grow herbs?

    • Mike
      March 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Glad you like it! Hmm, I don’t think herbs would work too well in this – they need a lot of watering and sunlight, and they tend to grow quite a lot. It works best with succulents and similar plants, which don’t grow so much, and don’t need much watering. But there’s nothing stopping you from trying it out! 🙂 – Mike.

  • Jenni H
    February 16, 2019 at 2:23 am

    I used plexyglass backing and E6000 craft adhesive to cut down on tools I didn’t have and used chicken wire instead of mesh. This is a really versatile project. I have 4 frames of varying sizes all up on p e wall as a focal point piece for a room. It looks amazing. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Mike
      February 18, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      Oh brilliant! I love that you’ve tweaked it to work with what you’ve got – that’s how crafting should always work! 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment. – Mike

  • Lyndsay
    January 12, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Couldn’t you just use a shadow box to start rather than building one?

  • TH Stone Landscaping
    July 30, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    We always love talking about landscapes.

  • yard care
    July 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Texdture affects the perception of distance and scale.

  • Merril Moon
    May 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve got plastic bread crates, how would you use that?, what would you use for a backing?


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