DIY Gutter Garden

8 Materials
1 Hour

"Mommy, when can we start a garden?" "Now?" "Is it time yet?" "Now?" "Are we ready yet?" My five-year old has been asking for a garden since last year, so I thought it was time to dig in. But there really wasn't anywhere to dig in our yard. No worries. If you are looking to start a garden with limited space, just start one on a wall or fence.

We had great light on the fence, but you can build a gutter garden on a wall, in a stand, or actually hang them from a ceiling with rope.

If you search "gutter garden" on the web, you will find endless examples. Just know you will be limited with the kinds of plants you grow, as you need ones with a shallow root system. Strawberries, lettuce, and herbs are great choices.

I decided on two 10' sections of vinyl gutters. I also purchased the end caps and gutter hangers which I thought would help keep the shape of the gutter after it was filled with soil.

Our fence is kind of ancient, and I felt we needed to reinforce where the gutters would hang, so we screwed in a few pressure treated 2 X4's. Tom's getting it done with the screw gun. :)

Then it was pretty simple to hang by putting screws into the hanger. They also help to keep the shape of the gutters after you fill them with soil.

Don't forget to drill drainage holes.

We mixed some nice top soil with compost and filled our gutters and flower pots. The little lady was thrilled to finally be getting her hands dirty.

We planted some flowers . . . .

. . . and lettuce . . .

. . . . and strawberries.

Then we just watered and waited . . . . for our harvest. ;)

UPDATE: So, we are three months in. And now we have an update . . . . . .

We still have strawberries, and they did very well, the ones that made it, that is. I had transplanted the strawberries from someone else's garden, so I blame their death on my inexperience. But we did have three harvests with our lettuce.

I've replaced many of the flowers, since they did not bloom all summer.

Herbs love the gutter garden.

What I've learned about our gutter garden:

1. Birds love strawberries. Make sure you cover them up with netting.

2. Not all flowers will bloom well in shallow soil. Will have to do research on better garden flowers for longer blooms next year.

3. Lettuce and herbs are the way to go.

4. If you are going away for a week in the summer, expect on coming home to a thirsty garden.

5. If you plan this with your 5 year old, yup, you'll be doing it all by yourself.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Tricia Rogero
    Tricia Rogero
    on Nov 5, 2018

    Did you use any sort of endcap to keep the soil from spilling out? Love this idea!

  • Sarge
    on Nov 9, 2018

    Just wondering... any reason for the elevated "garden" versus planting right into the soil? The grass seems plush so I'm thinking the plants will thrive there just as nicely.

    • Julie
      on May 25, 2020

      Also, the scourge of gardeners... when builders scrape off all the topsoil and leave only clay... Makes it hard to build a garden on that kind of soil.

  • Sandy Lindquist
    Sandy Lindquist
    on Mar 11, 2020

    I am reading the materials list and on the gutter hangers it says that particular package fits all 5 inch gutters except plastic gutters. Is that why the close up photo of the gutter did not seem perfectly flush with the 2x4? Or are there different sizes of gutter? I hate to rely on hangers if they wont work with a plastic gutter!

    • John
      on May 26, 2020

      I've hung gutters before. But for this type of project I'd prefer to use Aluminum Gutters. They are stronger and can be made to any length you need.

Join the conversation

2 of 76 comments
  • Linda Lavine
    Linda Lavine
    on May 25, 2020

    I might consider a bit of brown or

    black spray paint on outside of gutters so they sort of blend in


    For your strawberries for next year, to deter birds from eating them: get some strawberry-size rocks and you and your helper can paint them to LOOK like strawberries. Put them among the plants BEFORE they fruit. The birds will try to eat them but will be unable. Then, when the real berries grow, the birds will think they're rocks, too.

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