Small Space Gardening: Coffee Can Vertical Garden DIY

Posted in At Home, DIY, Gardening by

Who else has been soaking up the sun every chance they get? This time of year means extra time spent outside and for us that includes nurturing our backyard edible garden. When I started planning gardening ideas for the blog this Summer there was a lot of interest in small space ideas from readers. I had some coffee cans we had been saving for I- don’t- know- what and when I started looking up small space gardening ideas to include in this Gardening Planner and I knew they would be perfect for a small- space garden project. Whether you have a small yard, a patio/ deck, or even just a few planters, you don’t need a lot of space to indulge your green thumb.

For a small garden space, square- foot gardening is a great way to maximize space and crop yield (we love our Seeding Square for this), but what if you’ve got little/ no room for planters or more vertical space than horizontal? No problem. Constructing a vertical garden is a great option to make the most of wall space, railings, and fences and there are a variety of plants that grow well in small containers. This is great for a herb garden, but you don’t have to restrict yourself- limited garden space is just an excuse to get a little creative and this DIY is easily adaptable for the space and materials you have on hand. Tip: to make the most of the space you have, plant some peas or beans in a planter at the base of the frame, hang some tomatoes or potatoes upside down from the top, and reserve the space in the middle for plants like salad greens, lettuce, and other similar edibles.


– wooden frame (hello thrift store!)

-spray paint

-coffee cans, labels removed

-large S hooks

-hammer + large nail

-garden twine

-plants/ seeds of choice

-large pebbles

-organic potting soil

-chicken wire + staple gun (optional)


  1. Start by giving the frame(s) you’re going to use 2 coats of paint, allowing to dry between coats.
  2. Using a hammer and nail, puncture each of the coffee cans about 1″ from the top (or make the hole higher if using a small S hook. Hang the S hook through the hole or push some twine through for hanging.


Tip: If you prefer, you can simply hang the coffee cans right off of your deck railing or fence. 

3. Add some large pebbles/ river rock to the bottom of each can for drainage. Fill the cans with soil along with the plants/ seeds you want to grow until full.

4. Optional step: staple chicken wire to the back of the frame if you want to have the option to hang containers over the whole surface area within the frame. 

5. Lean the frame against or attach it to your vertical space (wall, fence, railing, etc) and hang the coffee cans as desired. Water the plants as needed. 

Like this idea? Save it for later!

Looking for more gardening ideas? Check out the blog’s Patio + Garden page for a list of all the posts in this category.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

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  • Reply Heydy

    I LOVE HOW YOUR MIND WORKS. Who would have thought to use old tin cans for this?! Amazing amazing amazing!!

    July 12, 2017 at 10:35 pm
  • Reply Tamara

    A great way to reuse pieces too. Now to figure out how I can convince strata to let me do this!

    July 14, 2017 at 9:06 pm
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