Design snapshot: Vertical garden

I saw my first vertical garden in California. There, tackling the vertical surface seemed the next logical step in zone-14 garden evolution. Little did I imagine, it was an idea readily adaptable to our hardier clime. Avant Gardens of N. Dartmouth, Mass. has figured out how. Follow this link for their hardy, drought-resistant, succulent, vertical-garden how-to.

I snapped this shot of their vertical garden in situ on their garage. Naturally, the garden planting itself required design savvy, but so too did the size, fabrication, orientation, and placement of the vertical garden. The cedar garden surround in a width similar to the cedar coursing helps "ground" the box, and the proportion beautifully echoes the proportion of the door panels and lites. The colors work together brilliantly, too.

Having attended the vertical garden demonstration at Avant Gardens this past weekend, I now also understand that vertical-garden size is critical; the larger the box, the heavier and the more unwieldy to mount and maintain.

I'm dreaming up a few of these beauts for my south-facing side wall. Time to start acquiring succulents. So far, I have one. It'll be a while...

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast