Mini Succulent Garden in a Repurposed Gutter!

5 Materials
6 Hours
An old gutter, succulents and a fence is all you need to create this mini garden. You don't even need a green thumb!
This is what succulent hoarding looks like!
Before - Standard 6' gutter saved from dump
If you have ever moved you know how much material costs can add up and have asked your local grocer for free boxes. Likewise you can contact local roofers who are too happy to give you their cast off gutters that would otherwise end up in the dump. Lucky for me this one was already painted green and looked aged.

If you have ever cleaned out gutters you know what a natural planter gutters turn out to be. Your gutters compost debris, catch falling seeds and aquifer water when the rains fall insuring, much to our chagrin, that plants grow and thrive. All I have to do is look around the neighborhood and see baby oak trees, grass and pine cones sprouting out of the gutters.

Today we will use this to our advantage!
Cover down spout hole with wire screening.
Step one - Clean Gutter. 

Wash gutter with Krud Cutter Gutter cleaner and hose off with water to remove any residual dirt, mold or mildew. Though your gutter will likely have a down spout, you will want to cover the large hole with a small piece of screen to be sure plants will not be compromised by gravel, dirt and the plant falling through the downspout hole.

You will want to drill a drainage hole in the gutter underneath where you will be placing each plant. The holes will provide adequate drainage of the plants and prevent their roots from rotting.

The screen is just pressure placed in the gutter. The compound is residue compound. I am leaving it in place as it will help prevent this area from further rusting.
Get small bags of gravel. Easier to move.
Support silver gutter clip & black pole screw
Step two - Install gutter.

Due to the weight of the gravel and soil, you will want to attach the gutter to its ultimate location before planting any plants. Any hardware store will have standard gutter clips (4"). There are two parts to securing the gutter. For the location of the gutter I chose the top of my fence.

There are screws which are encased by plastic sheaths to prevent rusting. Second there are the clips. These clips were modified as the tops where bent to attach to the top of the fence.

Screw in gutter on either end first. Use stool or husband to prop free end of the gutter while attaching first end. Then secure the second end. Now time for the silver clips. You will want to use 4 clips, equally spaced, to make sure the gutter is well supported. Attach center clips first then clips near the ends.
Fill gutter with 1/2 inch of gravel.
Step three - Add gravel then soil. Fill gutter 1/2 inch with small grain gravel but larger than your screen hole openings. Depending on the type of plants you have selected, you will then cover the gravel with correct type of planting soil. Espoma's cactus mix is an excellent choice for succulents.

You will see white balls in the soil. This is Perlite. Perlite resembles tiny white plastic foam balls, but it's actually a naturally occurring volcanic glass. When processed for use in potting soil, perlite is heated to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, so that it puffs like styrofoam. It is used to help plants drain.

If you choose another variety of plant, besides succulents, be sure to read the label for soil depth requirements as you will only have three inches to work with (4 inch gutter less 1/2 for gravel, 1/2 from top of soil to top of gutter).
This poor guy didn't even have a real pot.
Step Four - Plant succulents. I hoard succulents. They are the only plants that have not succumb to my black thumb of death. Prior to succulents I was only able to maintain a pet rock. So it was time to round up my many pots of succulents and rehome them in a group home setting. There is safety in numbers and I figured they can share their stories of survival.
Perlite in the Soil. Use trowel to dig holes.
I removed the succulents from their pots and shook off excess soil leaving the root ball intact. Then I troweled out the soil a little bigger than the plants root ball. I placed the plant, replaced soil and gave the line-up a much deserved drink of water.
The little charmers in their mini planter box. What a fun compact way to enjoy these plants. Now if I can just convince the neighbors to let me paint their house!
Suggested materials:
  • Gutter - Metal but Vinyl okay   (Roofer)
  • Gravel - Sakrete Brand   (Ace Hardware)
  • Screen - holes smaller than the gravel   (Ace Hardware)
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