Making Your Own Gutter Garden

A gutter garden is a clever way to make use of limited space, whether it’s the small backyard of a house or an apartment balcony. A type of container garden, it’s also a great way to repurpose old gutters or leftover sections from the installation of a new gutter system. With relatively little effort, for a minimum cost, you can design and create your own gutter garden. Make a hanging gutter garden that acts as a decorative screen; mount it on an exterior house or garage wall – it’s entirely up to you. But gutter gardens are an ideal place to grow herbs, flowers or salad fixings such as lettuce, spinach or kale.

First Steps

If you’re purchasing sections of gutter specifically for this project, select gutters that are made of either aluminum or vinyl, since these two materials are the most economical. Decide where you want to put your gutter garden. Choose an area that will receive a minimum of four hours of sunlight daily. How you plan to install the gutters for your garden will determine the types of fasteners you will need. Measure the area or wall space so you have some idea of the length the gutters should be.

Start With

Basic tools you will need are a tape measure, permanent marker, level, t-square, saw and cordless drill. If you are mounting the gutters on a wall or to a deck rail, you will need fasteners or nails; if you are planning a hanging gutter garden, you will have to connect the gutter sections with steel cable, cross clamps and eye hooks. In addition to the gutters, you will also need aluminum or PVC end caps and thin steel rods.

Directions for a Hanging Gutter Garden

  1. To ensure the sections hang properly, find the center of your gutters and draw a line
  2. Use a drill bit the same diameter as the steel cable. Mark and drill the holes for cable that will connect the gutters together.
  3. Drill small holes about 2” apart into the bottom of each gutter for drainage.
  4. To hang the gutter garden once it has been assembled, you will need to drill holes into the deck overhang, garage eaves or wherever you intend to install it. These holes for the eye hooks need to be the same distance apart as the holes you drilled in the gutters to accommodate the connecting cable.
  5. Slide the cable through the end holes of the gutter and secure it with cross clamps at the height you want the top row to be. Place the other rows equidistant.
  6. Secure each gutter with cross clamps and a half circle steel rod, one at each end.
  7. Place end caps on the ends of each gutter before filling with earth.

Finishing Touches

Fill each row of your gutter garden with potting soil. Pick shallow rooted plants such as strawberries, cilantro, beets, radishes, chives and most types of lettuces. You could choose to grow just edibles or mix them with annual flowers like nasturtiums or marigolds.