Simple teepee style vertical garden

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As urban populations continue to grow at a terrifying rate – The World Bank estimates 70% of the world’s population will live in an urban area by 2050 –  cities play an increasingly key role in the fight against climate change.

Urban air, water and noise pollution are ever-concerning issues and city space comes at a premium. Innovative space and pollution-sparing methods of production are ever-more keenly sought after.

So vertical gardening – the process of growing vegetation, plants and in the case of farming, food up – has taken on more prominence in recent times. It’s innate ability to grow a substantial yield and provide a green space in urban areas is going to be crucial.

A vertical garden grown in planters on a white wall
Vertical gardens can be as simple as attaching plnaters to existing frames or walls

What Is Vertical Gardening?

Vertical gardening is – as you’d expect – a garden that grows upwards as opposed to horizontally. This method of gardening doesn’t require soil and can provide maximum yield with a minute space.

For vertical gardening to happen, you need a structure that supports vertical plant growth. Typically this takes the form of trellises, planters, hanging baskets or even hydroponics.

Why Do People Do Vertical Gardening?

People do vertical gardening for many reasons:

  • To create green spaces in urban areas
  • To live a more self-sufficient lifestyle
  • For the positive mental impact gardens can have

Are the big three. The additional benefits around air quality, climate change and pollution in all forms are additional pros.

Are Vertical Gardens Effective?

Vertical gardens work very effectively when it comes to yield per area. The purpose of vertical gardening is to grow plants, herbs or vegetables in an otherwise confined space. And the improved air flow often reduces pests and diseases.

Even increasing the surface area exposed to sunlight, which results in a larger crop when combined with improved air circulation.

But that isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of vertical gardens’ effectiveness. It’s ability to provide acute mental, societal, air quality and climate-based benefits are widely known and sought after.

A bright, burgeoning urban living wall
Just look at how much otherwise unusable space on this wall has been transformed by vertical garedening

What is the Purpose of A Vertical Garden?

From an agricultural perspective, vertical gardening (or farming) is seen as a solution to increase productivity per unit area of cultivated land by extending crop production into the vertical dimension. It is a way of achieving food security and sovereignty.

But vertical gardens are no longer considered solely for agricultural and production purposes. The mental wellbeing aspect of green spaces, particularly in cities, is widely known and accepted. And the multitude of pollution, air quality and positive temperature effects have been widely studied.

What Do You Need for a Vertical Garden?

Of course this depends on the type of vertical garden you’re going to create. If you’re looking to generate a high yield of edible crops in a small space to become more self-sufficient, you may want to consider some hydroponic equipment.

If you’re just looking for a beautiful green space on your balcony, then a vertical planter or trellis will suffice.

  1. A space – fortunately an almost certainly unused space like a wall or rooftop
  2. A vertical structure – trellises, hanging baskets, hydroponic systems are all applicable
  3. Planter(s)
  4. Plants and / or vegetables
  5. Growing medium
Simple vertical gardening teepee like structure
A simple teepee style vertical garden
Hydroponic living wall farm
A more complex living wall created with hydroponic planters to maximise yield

What are Vertical Gardens Good For?

Vertical farms and gardens can play a key role as part of the blue-green infrastructure of cities. They not only create a platform for self-sufficient food production, but can also create new ecological, social, and economic hubs driven by green-fingered change. 

The proliferation of living walls and green roofs have seen burgeoning industries grow. But for the DIY-ers among us, vertical gardens can:

  • Increase production per metre squared
  • Provide social and societal benefits – multiple studies have shown that groups exposed to vertical gardens in urban areas have lower stress levels such is their restorative effect
  • Utilsing otherwise unused or unusable space
  • Having a positive impact on climate change
  • Reducing the urban heat island effect 
  • Mitigating the impact of pollutants and improving overall air quality
  • Improving building’s energy efficiency
  • Biodiversity
  • Minimising noise pollution


As you may have guessed, vertical gardening is the process of growing plants, vegetables and / or herbs upwards on walls, roofs or vertical structures instead of horizontally. 

Vertical gardening – if you live in urban areas – is better than traditional gardening because you’re able to use otherwise unusuable space to grow plants to eat or enjoy with a higher yield per metre squared. 

The positive societal, environmental and economic impacts that come off the back of it can have a transformative effect on the individual and urban areas in general.

As you may have guessed, vertical gardening is the process of growing plants up instead of sideways. Horizontal – or traditional – gardening grows plants at ground level on flat surfaces. Vertical gardening has a much higher output per metre because you’re able to grow up. Hence its popularity in urban areas.

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