Vertical Gutter Herb Garden / Planter

13 Materials
4 Hours

I seriously love using fresh herbs from the garden and have been meaning to get mine planted since spring, but have super slacked. The spot I kept my herbs last year had a mint take-over (which I'm ok with), so I decided a needed a new space for herbs that don't dominate. This stand alone vertical planter was perfect for my outdoor space since I don't have anything overhead to hang things from and I'm limited on floor space. With a wooden frame and some vinyl gutters I was able to make a stand alone vertical planter full of delicious herbs and some colorful flowers too!
SUPPLIES: -1 2x4 Pretreated Board (You can purchase untreated, but you will need to buy wood sealer if you do so that it is ok in the elements) -2 2x2 Pretreated Boards -2 RTA2Z rigid tie connectors (these are found by the lumber) -4 A21Z steel angles (also by lumber) -30 1 1/4" wood screws -Rustoleum spray paint (I used Chalked so I could write on it) -1 10' Traditional Vinyl Gutter -3 sets of vinyl k-style end caps (6 in total)*Be sure to get opposite ends for each of the 3 levels of gutter -Knife / Scissors (Not Pictured) -Rope (15'-20') -2 Large S-hooks (1/4"x2") -2 Long Eye Hooks (1/4"x3 3/4") - Potting Soil -Herbs and flowers *CUT LIST (for your wood) -1 - 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 39 (24) -2 - 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 43 1/2 (22) -2 - 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 24 (22) (Optional) -Painter's / Artist's Tape
STEP 1: Cut down your gutter First thing we are gonna do is cut down this 10' gutter. I cut mine into 3 33" pieces. You can cut vinyl gutters with scissors or a sharp knife. *I drew a straight line around the whole gutter at each 33" mark so I knew where to cut. Then make sure you find a right and left end cap for each gutter piece you just cut.

STEP 2: Paint your gutters I decided to make a design on my gutters so I grabbed some artist's tape and went to town. I bought chalker's paint so that I could write underneath each herb what was planted there. With this in mind I made sure to leave a large area open to be written on. Once you are done with a design (If you choose to make one) simply spray paint over the gutters. I also painted the metal connectors with the same paint so they would match. Set each aside to dry.
STEP 3: Add hooks to wooden poles Grab your 2x4 piece of wood and measure in 7.5" in from each side on the narrow side of the wood. Drill a pilot hole for each eye hook. Screw each eye hook into the holes.
STEP 4: Build leg bases Attach each leg (the 43.5" 2x2 pieces) to the 39" 2x4 beam at each end. Connect each piece with the RTA2Z connectors and screws. Make sure that your eye hooks are facing down in the same direction as the legs from the 39" beam. Take 2 nails and toenail the connected beams for greater security. *If you don't know how to toenail a nail this is a great tutorial:
STEP 5: Complete frame Take your 24" 2x2 pieces and mark the halfway point for reference. Line up each leg with the middle of your 24" pieces and connect them with your A21Z connectors on each side of the legs.
STEP 6: Stand your frame Set your stand on it's feet and make sure everything is in place.
STEP 7: Drill holes in your gutters By now your gutters should be nice and dry. If you used tape to make a design you can remove it at this time. Now we need to drill holes in each of the gutters for the rope to run through. We will be drilling 8 holes in each gutter (4 on each end). Each hole is 3" in from the end. I placed a hole at the top of the front and the back and two on the bottom. Again each of them 3" in from the side. (You can see each hole 2 pictures down)
STEP 8: Add S-hooks and cut ropes Hang each S-hook from the eye hooks in the 2x4 beam. Grab your rope and cut it in half so that there is a piece of rope for each side.
STEP 9: Slide rope through gutter holes Take each piece of rope and feed it through each S-hook so that the middle of the piece rests in the S-hook and the ends hang down on either side. Now feed each end of the rope through the holes in the first 33" gutter piece. Each rope will go in from the outside and down through the bottom holes. *see picture above.
STEP 10: Tie gutters into place Pull the ropes through the holes on each side making sure the first trough is sitting level. Tie knots on each piece of rope so that the trough rests evenly on them. Now repeat steps 9 and the beginning of step 10 (this step) for the other two troughs leaving space between each level. Once all gutter pieces have been attached and knotted in place you can trim the excess rope from the bottom.
STEP 11: Stabilize gutters and add plant labels with chalk Now step back and make sure all gutter pieces are resting evenly. Readjust the knots if needed. *I also was having some issues with the end caps staying put so I grabbed some hot glue and dabbed some on each to hold them in place. Now it is time to grab some chalk and mark where each of your herbs will go.
STEP 12: Plant your greens Place each of your herbs and flowers in their designated spaces and fill in the space around them with your potting soil. *My poor purple basil took a tumble, but I'm hoping it revives itself.
Now simply enjoy the fruits of your labor! I still have a couple of open spaces for more herbs, but couldn't find the ones I wanted, so I will simply add them when I do... You could just load this guy up with flowers too if you wanted!
Just looking at this thing makes me happy! (and ready to cook up some tastiness)

Suggested materials:

  • 10' Vinyl Gutter  (Lowe's)
  • 6 K-Style Gutter End Caps  (Lowe's)
  • 2x4 Pretreated Wood  (Lowe's)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

10 questions
  • Susan Fillingim
    Susan Fillingim
    on Jul 10, 2016

    Does the water drain or should a drain hole be drilled? Cute idea. Thanks

  • Bil2504074
    on Jan 24, 2017

    Wooden frame will not stand up as it has no foot braces to stabilise it .

    • Anita Horner
      Anita Horner
      on Jan 24, 2017

      Look again

    • Ruth Reese Owen
      Ruth Reese Owen
      on Jan 24, 2017

      I believe the attached brackets stabilize it but were not included in the material list. Wonder what was used for them?

    • Lora Mazzone
      Lora Mazzone
      on Jan 24, 2017

      4 A21Z steel angles (also by lumber) This is what holds the legs to to feet. It is in the list of material at the very top.

  • Tin13057546
    on Jan 24, 2017

    Do you have any concerns about the chemicals in non-foodgrade plastic/vinyl gutters leaching into the soil and then the plants?

    • CrowEyes
      on Jan 24, 2017

      Hello Tinman! 💐I have been arguing this point for a long time. ALL pvc guttering is not "food-grade. If anyone disagrees, call the manufacturer of said gutter and they will, at length, discourage you for using "any" element (aluminum, pvc, etc.)of guttering for growing food. Relative to pvc pipes, you can purchase "food-grade" from sources online. Please be safe with your choices.

    • Deb
      on Jan 24, 2017

      Perhaps one could either line the gutter with non toxic material or simply place plants in small terracotta pots.

    • Joseph baldwin
      Joseph baldwin
      on Jan 24, 2017

      Use metal then. No the paint on the metal is enamel. Or line with food grade plastic. There are more harmful chemicals in the air, the soil and the water used for garden vegetables. The water used to water much of the farm land in America is more polluted than that piece of plastic. Another solution is to save round plastic containers and slice in half for the same effect.

    • Jackie Harrington
      Jackie Harrington
      on Jan 24, 2017

      Use water line Pvc pipe all of our treated water goes through it it should be safe

    • Ron
      on Jan 24, 2017

      I would also be worried about using pressure treated 2x4's directly overhead of your herbs. Water or condensation dripping down from this treated board will leech into your plants which will make them toxic.

  • Gearoid John Phillips
    Gearoid John Phillips
    on Jan 24, 2017

    How long does it take to do it

  • Nancy
    on Jan 24, 2017

    Besides the holes drilled for your rope did you drill any other holes in the bottoms for drainage?

  • Cheryl
    on Jan 24, 2017

    Won't they swing and tip if you have a windy day?

  • Bri11179468
    on Jan 25, 2017

    What about drainage holes ?

  • Shirley Ann Pinner Coffey
    Shirley Ann Pinner Coffey
    on Jan 25, 2017

    you need to calk that crack in your bricks . Water can get in there and may cause a problem.

    • William Bougie
      William Bougie
      on Jan 25, 2017

      The problem is already there. That's a nasty crack. She should get hold of a contractor ... Yesterday :)

    • Tin13057546
      on Jan 26, 2017

      Since she lives in Brooklyn and this is on a roof, I'm guessing it's the building owners problem.

    • Amanda C, Hometalk Team
      Amanda C, Hometalk Team
      on Jan 29, 2017

      The crack is actually in the building next door. If it was my building I would certainly look into it. Thanks for looking out though!

  • Willo
    on Mar 3, 2017

    What keeps the strings from rotting...Wouldn't some kind of wire work better?

    • Amanda C, Hometalk Team
      Amanda C, Hometalk Team
      on Mar 6, 2017

      They are poly rope so they won't rot as they are plastic, but you could certainly use chain link or something.

  • Margaret Kendall
    Margaret Kendall
    on May 26, 2017

    What happens when the wind starts blowing? The boxes swing and it's all on the ground. Needs a more stable base.

Join the conversation

2 of 86 comments
  • Ray
    on Sep 7, 2019

    Good idea. To water try drilling 3 holes in bottom of each guttering add a small chain in each hole resting on the potting mix below so you only have to water the top planter. Or use chain instead of rope it may rot or fishing line. to stop the swinging perhaps you could anchor each planter to the uprights I am not been critical I think it is great idea> will make one as soon as I have time Kind Regards Ray

  • Anna Y
    Anna Y
    on Jan 26, 2020

    That looks great! I will be making one of those as soon as the weather breaks.

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