These hanging potted shelves offer a creative way to add vertical, green space to a balcony, windowsill, patio, or roof garden. Grow a mini herb garden or flowering annuals for a burst of colour.
Big Ideas for Small Spaces
by Kay Maguire and Tony Woods is used with permission from Firefly Books who also provided a review copy of this book.
Shelves are an increasingly popular way to display pots in the garden, and this project brings the concept bang up to date — without the need for endless drilling and brackets. These rope-hung shelves can be used to cover a wall or be left free-standing to divide or screen a space.
Our hanging shelves had three tiers holding three pots in each, but the boards could be made longer to hold more pots or there could be more tiers —whatever suits the space you want to “green”. Once you have worked out the position of each pot, use a circle drill bit to make the pot holes. String the shelves together with two lengths of rope at each end, to ensure they are balanced.
To make sure that the distance between the shelves is equal and that there is enough light and space for the plants to develop between them, carefully measure and mark on each rope where each shelf is to go. The ropes are knotted below each shelf and then gathered together at the top and knotted again before being hung from hooks.
For our shelves, we selected our favourite mix of herbs, but any potted planted could be used to match your planting scheme.
To establish the position of three pots along a shelf, we measured the length of the board and divided it by four. We then measured the width of the board and halved that figure, to ensure each pot was exactly in the center of the board and equally spaced along it.
What You Will Need
- Tape measure and pencil
- 9 x plain terracotta pots
- 3 x wood boards of equal length
- Drill and circle bits (also known as Hole Saw Kits) to match the diameter of your pots
- Sisal rope – 8mm (1/3-inch) in diameter (we left about 40cm (16-inches) between each tier so each rope length was at least 1.6m (5.25 feet) and there were 4 pieces of this length)
- Hooks for hanging
- Suggested Plants: Mint, arugula, thyme, rosemary, sage, strawberry
If you love a burst of colour, look for plants that either flower or have year-round leaf color and will spill over and soften the edge of the pots.
Steps for Making Potted Shelves
Ideas for Display
Hanging potted shelves work nicely next to a balcony or patio wall. They could also be used to create a living wall, suspended from a tree branch, in the garden.
For extra colour, consider painting the wood boards.
Big Ideas for Small Spaces is for anyone with a small outdoor space that they wish to “green up”. While the projects and advice are valuable to any gardener, they are especially useful to urbanites surrounded by concrete who nonetheless want to enjoy the soothing environment of a garden.
Thirty step-by-step projects show how to transform balconies, windowsills, rooftops, pocket-sized patios, even walls, into features of lush greenery, grasses and blooms. They reveal how to create space for perennials, herbs, vegetables, bulbs for season-long flowers, and even shrubs or small trees, as well as seating, tables, lighting, and decorative elements.
The projects include “You Will Need” checklists, tip boxes, and step-by-step photographs. They use inexpensive or repurposed materials, standard tools, and are exceptionally easy to do.
- Vertical – Green wall pallet; Succulent picture frame; Gutter planters; Hanging planted screen; Pocket planters; Instant green wall; Slatted and hanging chain screens; Mirror wall
- Hanging and Highrise – Shady hanging basket; Hanging herbs; Triple hanging baskets; Pots on hooks; Potted shelves; Balcony rail planters
- Pots and Planters – Pots for year-round interest; Tin can salad bar; Skinny balcony planter; Crates of produce; Wildlife windowbox; Chunky trough; Pond in a pot
- Down on the Ground – Raised bed seat, Green roof, Paving slab garden; Herby table planter; Gabon coffee table; Balcony bench; Below-bench planter; Mobile garden.