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.

Painted Therapy
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  5 questions
  • Sweet pea Sweet pea on Oct 29, 2018

    what's the name of the pink flowers?

  • Tricia Rogero Tricia Rogero on Nov 05, 2018

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

  • Sarge Sarge on Nov 09, 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.

    • Iris Iris on Nov 08, 2019

      Decoration plus they wanted the child involved

    • Iris Iris on Nov 08, 2019

      Also limited space

    • Virginia Virginia on Nov 08, 2019

      Leaving lawn for child to play, run around?

    • Diane Miller Diane Miller on May 25, 2020

      Keeps the bunnies out!!!

    • Linda T Linda T on May 25, 2020

      Easy on the back and knees.

    • Debby Debby on May 25, 2020

      Makes the plain fence look all colorful and fancy. Much easier than digging up the yard, and then having to deal with a large plot of dirt at the end of the year. Also easier to weed. And a very fun project.

    • Julie 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!

    • Painted Therapy Painted Therapy on Mar 12, 2020

      I think it did not seem flush because of the weight of the soil. I'd be surprised if the hangers did not work on the same gutter material I used in the photos. They are pretty easy to return if they don't work. I hope this helps. :)

    • John 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.

  • Jillian Jillian on May 29, 2021

    Good Question!!! I'm near Phila. I think I will leave them out, maybe cover the whole thing in some plastic. Do you get below 0 degrees? If not you should be ok.


Join the conversation

3 of 82 comments
  • Jillian Jillian on May 26, 2021

    yes! this is perfect for my fence where I only have a small spot of sun. I'll do strawberries next year.

    • Linda Roark-Strummer Linda Roark-Strummer on May 28, 2021

      Wondering if you would have to take the strawberry plants in every year to over winter. I live in NE Oklahoma and it CAN get cold depending on Mother Nature's mood. icon

  • Earnie Earnie on May 27, 2021

    Love, love, love this idea.