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Rain Gutter Garden Ideas for Vertical Gardening

Limited Garden Space? Grow Vertical!

Conserving resources, reusing and repurposing—aka, upcycling—just makes sense, and gardeners tend to be really good at this. So we really like the idea of using of old gutters for rain gutter gardens whenever you have the available.

You can create a vertical garden out of salvaged pieces of rain gutter, or purchase new pieces. Your rain gutter garden can be attached to a shed or house walls, fence or trellis.

If you don’t have old gutters, we have a tip on where to find old used ones near the end of this article.

Meanwhile, below, are helpful videos that show you how to build your own rain gutter garden. That will help you decide if you like the rain gutter garden design and whether you’re up for the task. If you’re a good DIYer, then this will be a piece of cake for you to make.

 How to Create a Vertical Rain Gutter Garden

This helpful video by Lowe’s Home Store shows step by step how to build a wall or fence mounted gutter garden. These are the same gutters we used in our cattle panel greenhouse rain gutter garden, which you can see in another video further below.

Rain Gutter Garden — Tools and Materials

TOOLS:

MATERIALS:

  • 2 – 10-ft Genova vinyl gutters, #12066
  • 8 – Raingo vinyl outside end caps, #12068
  • 8 – Raingo vinyl gutter brackets, #12072
  • 2 – 1 x 4 x 12 pressure-treated boards, #201715
  • Raingo rust-resistant screws, #12079
  • Liquid Nails wood adhesive, #6306
  • 4 – #8 x 1-1/4-in panhead stainless-steel screws, #325167
  • 2 – galvanized 1-in corner braces, packs of 2, #122215

GardensAll Rain Gutter Garden for a Greenhouse

Have you, in your longing for spring, ever started plants too soon?

This week we’re enjoying trying new projects, especially those that solve a dilemma. Like what happens if the seeds started in December grow into plants nearly ready to be transplanted?

We could plant them in the garden and use row covers, but it’s still mid-winter here in North Carolina’s Zone 7A, so it’s not yet the best time to plant outside.

Well, we do have this little cattle panel greenhouse, but there’s not much space to grow a row of greens. Our solution was to install a rain gutter garden the entire length of the greenhouse, mounted just below a shelf. 

So we dove in and completed the project yesterday. It turned out pretty well, you can see all the details in a video Coleman made yesterday of ours. 

DIY Rain Gutter Gardens for a Greenhouse

While ours is installed in a greenhouse, you could actually retrofit this idea to most any wall or fence. Other vertical surfaces could work too such as a trellis or porch posts or railing, or anyplace that a window box planter might go.

Let us know if you do it, we’d love to hear about it and see your photos!

RAIN GUTTER GARDENS - Especially helpful vertical gardening for accessibility or when space is limited.#GardensAll #GutterGarden #RainGutterGardens #VerticalGarden #GrowingVertically #GreenhouseGrowing #GardeningInSmallSpaces

Next up is another homemade version of a gutter garden from salvaged pieces plus the materials and tools list.

Rain Gutter Vertical Garden Planter Troughs

TROUGH GARDEN - GUTTER GARDENS - RAISED GARDEN - VERTICAL GARDENRain Gutter Garden - Image by MossdaleMakerspace on Instructables.com. #RainGutterGarden #VerticalGardening #RainGutterPlanter #TroughPlanter #InstructablesGutterGarden #GutterGarden #GardensAll
Rain Gutter Garden – Image by MossdaleMakerspace on Instructables.com.

Planter

These trough planters are a great addition to any garden. Here’s how “Mossdale Makerspace” made his using only the left over materials from other projects.

Step 1: Collect Tools & Materials

  • 3, 8 ft lengths of left-over rain gutter
  • Sheet metal
  • Rivets or Screws
  • Body from an old microwave (or something to serve as a garden planter)

The rest of the materials really depend on how you are going to mount, hang or attach the planters to a support structure.

Step 2: For Planter Legs:

Tools Used:

And lastly we really enjoyed this informative video on the benefits of a rain gutter for planting and transplanting peas. This method protects peas from rodent destruction, and makes transplanting very fast and simple!

Rain Gutter Vertical Gardening for Peas

By Huws Nursery, UK

What You Can Grow in Rain Gutters

Best plants for a gutter garden includes any crop that has shallow roots, such as are beans, lettuce, and strawberries.

Where to Find Old Rain Gutters

If you don’t have any old rain gutters? Contact your local gutter companies. They replace old gutters all the time. Chances are you can pick some up from them—or the next gutter replacement job—for free!

Chances are that local guttering companies have tons of scrap gutters ready for the dump or scrap metal place which they’d be glad to share with you. You may be able to meet them at their job site to haul it away for them and save them a trip to the dump or scrap metal place.

It also benefits the gutter company by giving them a chance to connect with a potential future customer, so it’s just good business for them all around.

Paint and Decorate Old Gutter Guards

You can brighten old gutter guards with new paint. If you’re artistically inclined, you may even wish to paint designs on them, such as a vine with leaves and flowers, or strawberries. In fact, you could paint on the front of the gutter, whatever it is you’re growing in them!

“One man’s trash is another mans treasure.”

RAIN GUTTER GARDEN - Image by Lowe's Home Store #GutterGarden #RainGutterPlanter #DIYRainGutterGarden #GardeningDIY #GardensAll #LowesHomeStore

You can find more vertical gardening ideas, including using cattle panels, plus an amazing edible garden shed!!

Please let us know what kind of cool things you’re doing with rain gutter gardens.

Contributions from the Community

Planting for Retirement community member, Migdalia Jolliffe shared her beautiful gutter garden she and her husband created for their strawberry plants. The feature image for this article was also contributed by Midgalia Jolliffe.

Migdalia Jolliffe of Woodlands Soaps

We needed some gutters on our house…ran the project through my husband and the gutter company. They recommended 6 inch gutters. And here we are!

“A few draining holes, mushroom compost and over 100 strawberry plants 6″ from my original bed planted in 6″ gutters. Need more!!”

I had a strawberry bed but was losing almost as many strawberries as I harvested to slugs and weeds. So I dug them out into pots back a few months ago. They started blooming. Some have fruit. They look happy in their new place!! ❤🍓
~Migdalia Jolliffe, WoodlandSoaps.com

More Contributions From the GardensAll Community

I have an old watering bucket hung over my gutter garden so that it just drips water slowly onto it all day. Since it’s guttering the water runs downhill at the bottom of the gutter.
~Roy D. Wilkerson 

Tip & Image by Roy D. Wilkerson, gardener

FAQ’s for Strawberries in Rain Gutter Gardens

Q. Can strawberries overwinter in gutter gardens and come back next year?

A. I’m going to try this. I was thinking of setting the gutters on the ground at the end of the season and covering with straw for the winter.
~Judy Krieg

A. Better to fill them with annuals. Build a tower for strawberries.
~Rebecca Cook 

You could build a plant tower or plant pyramid for strawberries! Wouldn’t that be amazing!

EDITOR’S NOTE: When we hear back from Migdalia as to whether her strawberries come back thriving this spring we’ll update that here.

Rain Gutter Garden Pros and Cons

Rain Gutter Garden Pros

  • Easy access
  • Grow more in less space through vertical gardening
  • Can be relatively easy to set up compared to some vertical systems
  • Versatile – can hang or attach in numerous different scenarios, such as:
    • Attach to:
      • walls, indoors or out
      • gate or fence
      • Side of shed or home
    • Hang from:
      • eves
      • porch ceiling
      • tree limbs
      • below a shelf, (as we’ve done in our greenhouse photo & video further above)
      • deck railing planter – a great way to add accessible planting areas; (hang gutter rows from each side of the rail for double the growing space).
      • under windows like window box planters
      • a frame on a T-stand, such as this one below from HerToolBelt.com
  • Easy to make it self-watering with:
    • drip feed from top
    • slightly sloped runs
    • drain holes at lower ends
Image from HerToolBelt.com

Rain Gutter Garden Cons

  • Needs frequent watering and possibly 2x/day in summer heat, (best to make it self watering as shown in this article or via drip irrigation hose.
  • Can be less attractive than some options, however, as with most things, you can make it more attractive with a little more effort
  • Shallow trough won’t work for most vegetables or bulbs

As you can see, there is a lot longer list of gutter garden pros than cons, so if it’s something you’re considering, this should help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you and which style and arrangement to go with.

Rain gutter gardens are great for growing shallow rooted foods like lettuce and strawberries, herbs like cilantro, basil, parsley and chives, and many seasonal flowers.


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