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 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.
- Wood drill
- Wire mesh (holes roughly 2 cm square) to fit the dimensions of the frame
- Staple gun
- 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
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.
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!
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!