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This DIY Hanging Planter is the Perfect Urban Garden

We could probably all use a little more green in our life… and in our diets! But city living (like most of us experience here at Brit + Co.) limits where it’s possible to grow a variety of fresh herbs and simple vegetables at home… that is, until you get creative about what exactly “growing space” looks like! Toss out the idea of a traditional garden—we’re going vertical with our DIY hanging planter.

Not only does our hanging planter turn the space you already have—like any window, wall or door—into a beautiful and productive potted garden, but it’s also a rather easy-to-make project. You can take it from start to finish with just a basic cordless drill if you get the boards cut for you at a hardware store like Home Depot!

We’ll show you how to build a large, five-shelf garden that would hang like a dream against a backyard door or an open wall, but you can always downsize to accommodate smaller spaces, like the railing of a porch or even a small kitchen window.

Materials:
– 20 four or five-inch terra cotta flower pots (that breaks down to 4 pots per shelf)
– 5 ¾ inch pine boards (each should be at least 3 feet long)
– 1/4 inch rope
– zip ties

Tools:
– RYOBI 18 Volt cordless drill
– 3 ½ to 4 ½-inch diameter hole saw
– RYOBI 18 Volt circular saw
– Ryobi orbital sander
– Husky 7″ diagonal pliers

Instructions:

1. Lay out the holes on your board by marking the hole locations with a pencil. Make sure you leave about 2 inches between the flower pot holes and about 1 inch between the rope holes and edges of the board.

2. Cut the boards to your desired length with a circular saw (we cut ours to 3 feet long), or have the boards cut at your local hardware store or Home Depot.

3. Drill a small pilot hole through the entire stack of boards—this ensures the holes are aligned. These small pilot holes will serve as guides for the hole saw.

4. Once your boards are properly secured with a clamp to your worktable, cut out the flower pot holes with a hole saw set to drilling mode at the highest speed. Use a firm grip (read: both hands!).

5. Cut out the rope holes—it’s important to have a tight fit here, so for 1/4 rope I used a 5/16 inch drill bit.

6. Sand your cut boards with an orbital sander using 220 grit paper.

7. Thread the rope through the holes on each board and tie a knot under the bottom board to secure it.

8. Now hang your garden! Make sure you’re hanging it from a location that can support the weight—closet shelf brackets or a long wooden dowel work well.

9. Secure the boards into their final positions with zip ties, making them as level as possible. Start with a single, loose fitting zip tie and slide it along the rope until you’ve reached the right position. Then, add 2-3 tight zip ties under each rope hole to make sure the boards won’t slide under the weight of the potted plants and trim off the ends.

10. Place your potted plants in the holes, step back and enjoy!

First up, lay out your holes—two on each side for the rope, and four in the center, one for each flower pot. Obviously, the dimensions will vary based on the size of your pots, boards and rope, but regardless, make sure you leave about two inches between pots and one inch between the rope and the end of the board. Then cut your boards to size, or take ’em to Home Depot and have a friendly handyman do it for you!

Next, drill a small pilot hole through the entire stack of boards, rather than mark one at a time—this hole will act as a guide for the hole saw AND make sure that your holes are aligned. Then, clamp two boards at a time to a sturdy work bench, and with two hands, drill on high speed through the boards. Hole saws can be a bit tricky to handle—larger diameters can generate a lot of friction on wood, so securing the boards properly is a major priority. The saw might occasionally freeze up and bind against the wood, so be patient and try to keep the drill perpendicular to the board. Trust me: you CAN do it!

Once your flower pot holes are cut, go back to the way easy hand drill and drill your rope holes—they should be only slightly larger than the rope to ensure a snug fit. Then sand that puppy down!

Now string the rope through each board, tying a knot only after the very last plank is on—you won’t put each shelf in place until it’s hung, so get to hangin’! Hang it somewhere secure—from closet shelf brackets or even a long wooden dowel like we did. Then, start sliding your shelves into place using a loose zip tie as a guide. Make sure they’re as level as possible, then add two to three tight zip ties underneath each rope hole to ensure the shelves stay put. Trim off the excess, and then onto the fun part…

“Planting” your pots! You should really feel like an urban farmer now :)

Now step back, and check out your lush hanging garden! Ours is filled with all kinds of herb bushes—mint, rosemary and thyme were all invited to the party. We could even imagine growing our own garlic, carrots, and other low maintenance vegetables on these shelves. And let’s talk about these shelves, shall we? Sleek and super modern in this minimalist palette.

We could imagine color blocking each of the shelves to add a pop of color (besides green!) to this garden. You know, you could even add chalkboard paint along the front of each shelf and label each herb! And of course, we’d gold dip the heck out of those pots if this beauty was hanging out at Brit HQ. So many ways to customize this garden to your taste… and your space! Remember, you can totally make a smaller version of this project—just use fewer boards! Even one plank is better than none. Or if you’re really tight on space, you can always go mini!

Would you make this hanging planter for your space? How many shelves would you need? Where would you hang it? Tell us in the comments below.