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How to Build a Vertical Living Wall Garden

I was lucky enough to speak with the lovely and garden savvy, Shawna Coronado on a few occasions. She oozes green, and has the most wonderful and upbeat personality. You can't help, but love her! A few weeks ago she shared “How to Plant a Sustainable Front Lawn Veggie Garden,” and now I am very excited to have her share her knowledge on how she installed a vertical Living wall garden, and donated some of her produce to her local food pantry when harvested. Very cool, Shawna!

How To Install A Wally System

I have a passionate love affair with wall gardens – mostly because they are the sexiest idea for a garden I have heard of in a long time. They enable city gardeners to garden vertically to save space and suburban gardeners to bring unique interest to their yards and gardens. All the way around, vertical gardening is a good choice and I have wanted one as long as I can remember. This year I finally built one with a Wally system from Woolly Pocket

Wally's are awesome. They are made in the USA by Woolly Pocket from 100% recycled plastic water bottles. Pockets feel soft like felt and are breathable, modular, and fun! While some would prefer a thick vegetative look, I wanted to keep it lighter and artsy with a lot of bright color on the display wall which features painted shovels and the amazing Peacock Blue Wally’s.

What you will need: The Wally System comes complete with universal fasteners and wall anchors. All you will need is a drill. I also used an industrial size stapler to pre-hang the pockets.

Step 1 – Line the Wally’s up and overlap their grommets; grommet to grommet horizontally measures 22 inches across. When you hang them vertically space them 13 inches up and down – grommet to grommet. Wally’s come in 3 lengths; I used the Wally 5, which is 112 inches wide. To make it easier, I stapled them to the fence before I did any screwing, making sure I had the pockets at the right location on the fence.

Step 2 – Screw in the pockets with the drill. Finished photo above.

Step 3 – Add soil to an inch short of the top of each pocket. I chose Organic Mechanics Potting Soil as it is a good choice to grow vegetables organically.

Step 4 – Plant seeds and/or plants.

Spring Planting –  Initially I started with lettuces and spring greens as you can see in the below plan. One of my helpers, Cathy DeMarchi, designed the layout of the Spring garden and did a fabulous job. So you can better read the plan, I turned it on its side – the top squares represent the left hand side of the wally.

Burpee Home Gardens vegetables –

  • Lettuce ‘Alfresco simply salad’
  • Pak Choi ‘Toy choi’
  • Swiss Chard ‘Bright lights’

Botanical Interests seeds –

  • Lettuce ‘Gourmet Blend’
  • Fennel ‘Florence finocchio’
  • Radicchio ‘Palla rossa mavrik’
  • Radish ‘Cherry’
  • Radish ‘Watermelon’
  • Sorrel ‘Common’

Summer Planting – The spring lettuces and pak choi soon became leggy and lanky (as seen above), so we replaced the spring planting with a draping perennial groundcover; Creeping Jenny. The vegetable seeds continue to grow and as you can see in the top photo, have been filling out nicely through mid-summer.

This was an easy and fun project which was also green and sustainable. LOVE IT! Special thanks to Cruz Guttierez and Katie Szekely for helping me install the shovels. Thanks to Cathi DeMarchi and Josette Cook for helping design and plant the wall.
Shawna is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Gardening Nude, which is a guide for living a green lifestyle. She is the CEO of MAD 4 World Enterprises and Partner of 78 Pesos, which is a video production company that specializes in sustainable online content. Shawna is an on-camera spokesperson, newspaper columnist, internationally recognized keynote speaker, environmental and health correspondent. She is an experienced spokesperson with green lifestyle living, organic gardening, culinary, and eco content creation who campaigns for social good. You can learn more about her at http://www.shawnacoronado.com or follow her on twitter @ShawnaCoronado

Shawn was sponsored by Woolly Pockets with three Woolly wall displays and by Organic Mechanics Soil who provided the soil used for this project. Burpee Home Gardens supplied the vegetable plants grown in the garden this season. Botanical Interests supplied the seeds. She writes many instructional stories and videos with these incredible products and donates a large portion of the vegetables to her local food pantry when harvested.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Miriam@BeBookBound says

    This is truly amazing. I have plenty of space in my yard, but it came fully landscaped, so I have only been able to find one really good garden area. This opens up a world of possibilities. Thanks for the inspiration. And recycled water bottles? Just awesome. Thanks!!

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