When it comes to gardening, your budget and the amount of outdoor space you have to work with can stop a lot of would-be green thumbs from even getting started. If you only have space for one lackluster pot, why even bother? But the size of your yard and the amount of money in your bank account shouldn’t stop you from growing all the plants your heart desires!
One gardening pro named Laura felt the same way. She started a YouTube channel dedicated to helping us all unleash our inner gardeners. In a recent tutorial, she revealed the secret to constructing a garden in a tight space with just a single visit to the hardware store. The end product was beautiful, easy to make—and best of all, it was cheap!
Since 2014, Laura and her husband have been sharing tips on how to build beautiful gardens. Recently, she showed how even people without a ton of room in their backyards can introduce some eye-catching features to their landscapes.
All you need to achieve a backyard bursting with vibrant color is three 36-inch rain gutters, rain gutter end caps, a 1/8-inch steel cable, and a few more small gizmos from the hardware store.
Laura suggested maximizing space with a hanging garden. It sounds simple, but building a hanging garden does require some serious ingenuity. First, you cut the rain gutters you purchased from the hardware store into three 36-inch segments.
But those bad boys aren’t going up on any roofs. The gutter segments serve as the plant beds—the bulk of the garden—so they need caps on the end of them to keep all the beautiful plants they will hold locked in tight.
With your gutter segments capped, measure seven inches from both sides of the gutter caps. With a 1/8-inch bit, drill two holes in each segment—one on each end. Support wire will eventually be threaded through these holes.
Next, grab a bigger drill bit—a quarter-inch, to be exact—and make five evenly-spaced holes on the bottom of each gutter segment. These will be drainage holes. They’re needed so that a single storm won’t turn the garden to a moldy, mucky mess!
Because a white hanging garden would be a magnet for dirt—and would probably reflect enough sunlight to blind anyone who passed by—Laura sprayed a coat of copper-hued paint onto her gutters. This is optional for you, but the paint made hers look much nicer.
Now take some 1/8-inch steel rods that you purchased from the hardware store and bend them until they’ve formed a U-shape that matches the gutter’s curve. Place two on each freshly painted segment for support, so the gutter will keep its shape.
The wire work isn’t done there. With an 1/8-inch braided steel wire—thicker than the ones you’ve bent into supports—and an aluminum crimping sleeve, create a loop. This wire will be what suspends the hanging garden itself.
Outside, Laura screwed a hook into a sturdy beam, then looped the suspension wire she’d just worked with onto it. For your project, you’ll need two suspension wires, each with matching loops and something to hang them from.
The wires should be long enough to hang from the hooks screwed into the support beam and then threaded through the 1/8-inch holes you’ve drilled into each gutter segment earlier. In the end, each suspension wire will be about five feet long.
To hold the gutters in place, Laura used a Feeney two-hole cross clamp. “There’s two different holes going different directions,” she said of the clamp. “Its allows my steel cable to run through vertically, and it allows the steel rod brace piece to run horizontally.”
For your project, slide a cross clamp up the suspension wire to the bottom of each gutter segment. Then, thread the brace piece through the same clamp and tighten it with a screwdriver. This will “lock” each segment along the suspension wire.
Laura made it clear that, in a pinch, makers of the hanging garden don’t absolutely need the cross clamp. “There are other ways you can put these together,” she suggested, but no other method would be quite as efficient or effective as the cross clamp.
Finally, when all your cross clamps are in place and the wires are threaded, the hanging garden will be hanging, but it still won’t look much like a garden. To remedy that, fill each gutter segment with some potting soil. You’re almost done!
Laura used eye-popping color combinations for her choice of flowers. For the top gutter, she used yellow portulaca. In the middle, she planted fuchsia portulaca. And for the bottom gutter? Beautiful tangerine.
Laura gave one last tip before calling her hanging garden complete. She suggested wrapping a second wire around the base of the gutter and tying it to the suspension wire. “This will help with weight distribution,” she said.
Now take a step back from your hanging garden and take it all in. Can you believe that just a few hours before, it was all just cut-up, plain white gutters? Now it can be the focal point of any backyard!
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