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Looking For A Fresh Landscape Element? Don't Go All Out - Go Up Instead

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Tight on space or budget? Try adding a vertical garden to your landscaping plan. What is a vertical garden? Like it's name indicates, it's a wall of plants, mosses and vines that is self-sustaining and can create an interesting focal point anywhere.

Why Use a Vertical Garden?

For obvious reasons, vertical gardens are growing in popularity among homeowners with small yard spaces. But that's not the only reason to plant one. Even in a large yard, you can hide an unsightly view or a plain wall by designing a decorative plant wall in front of it. Balconies can be spruced up by adding greenery or hiding the neighbors' balcony from view.

Indoors, a vertical garden can bring some life to a business lobby or waiting area. Not only do plants help filter air pollutants but they also increase moisture and circulation inside the building.

How Do You Make One?

There are three basic components to a vertical garden: the frame, plastic sheeting and foam. It's best to use PVC piping to form the basic frame of the structure, as it is cost-effective, light and won't rust or rot.

Attach a plastic sheet to the frame to keep water inside and provide a waterproof backing. On top of the plastic, you can add any kind of water-absorbent felt, such as carpet padding. The plants will grow directly in this layer.

To irrigate and fertilize the garden, install a tube across the top of the felt that drips water into the garden. An irrigation supplier or landscape contractor will be the most likely source for such an irrigation system. It's also a good idea to include a fertilizer injector in your irrigation system to provide liquid fertilizer to the plants.

What to Plant

Climbing vines are the easiest thing to plant as a base for your vertical garden. Clematis, nasturtiums and ivy grow in many parts of the U.S. Fruited vines add both color and a bonus of edible harvest. Look for small fruits such as kiwi, gooseberry, peas and beans.

Any plants that grow well in your climate can be added to the wall. To plant them, cut horizontally into the felt and insert the root ball of the plant, then staple the roots to the plastic backing for stability.

Complement your vertical garden with columnar trees and shrubs, a window box planting in front of the wall or a small seating area. Feel free to experiment and add to your wall as you feel confident in your new creation.

Whether you're trying to brighten up a small yard or bring a slice of the outdoors into your home, a vertical garden is an easy way to give your space a makeover.  

To learn more, contact a landscape design company such as Glynn Young's Landscaping & Nursery Center