How To Make A Hanging Gutter Garden

Why Bother with a Gutter Garden?
Gutter gardens are a great way to take advantage of the vertical spaces around your home to grow flowers, edibles and create a stylish space divider or privacy screen without spending too much money.

1 – 8′ PVC white rain gutter cut into 3 32″ sections
6 – PVC white gutter end caps
2 – 1/8″diameter steel cables cut to desired length
6 – Feeney Cross Clamps (see image below)
6 – 1/8″ diameter Feeney steel rods
2 – Galvanized eye hooks
Potting soil and Plants

Cordless Drill with drill bit set
Hand saw or hack saw
T-square or straight edge
Tape measure
Permanent marker
Eye protection

1. Determine the center of your gutters and draw a reference line (otherwise your gutter won’t hang right).
2. Mark and drill the holes for the steel cable rods. Find a drill bit the same diameter as the cable to minimize the wiggle room.
3. Space drill holes a few sizes larger to make sure you get good drainage (plant roots hate sitting in water for long periods of time).


  • I’ve seen this kind of thing before and always wonder whether anything leeches from the plastic of the gutter into the soil and on into the food. I doubt the gutters are “food grade” plastic. Can anyone comment?

    • Karen on said:

      Why would this be of concern people use this gutter all the time to take water to their rain water tanks for drinking!

        • btowner on said:

          Actually, a large number of residents of Hawaii get their water just that way. The rain is run through a gutter system and then into large holding tanks where it is treated for use. I do not know for sure if this water is used for drinking water or not as there are a large number of ‘stations’ where people can get drinking water located around the island.

          • joBCcan on said:

            They don’t use this system for drinking water. The water saved is used for almost everything else.

          • frozban on said:

            A friend of mine lived in a tree house in Hawaii for many years and had this system that you’re talking about. They had to buy their drinking water, as the rain water (even in the jungle in Hawaii) would make you really sick.

          • Betty on said:

            Plus de 50% de la planete boit de l’eau impropre à la conso Quid du lézard tombé dans la réserve d’eau ou les cafards. L’idée est excellente pour récupérer l’eau de pluie pour le lavage sol, plantations etc… surtout en récupérant de vieilles gouttières En Afrique l’eau du puits est gardé dans des citernes en ciment ou CANARI devant les maisons. Cette idée est super ! On fait aussi en culture bio du maraichage dans les pneus, chambre à air suspendue etc…Les plantations sont à l’abri des rongeurs et insectes La terre doit avoir un effet filtrant les légumes sont tres bons!

    • Alice215 on said:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly, PVC has lots of BPA so I would not use these for food. Copper would be expensive, gorgeous, and the only safe food grade prefabbed gutter. Galvanized aluminum is not healthy either. I saw them with strawberries in them. The pic was being shared around FB, love the idea. Now just waiting on the copper gutters. 😉

      • Alice215 on said:

        Galvanized aluminum leaches lead, aluminum leaches aluminum and plastics (almost all) especially PVC is loaded with BPA a endocrine disruptor. Copper is the most safe product for food in this application.

      • Yuperguy on said:

        Check with the manufacture to find out if it contains BPA.
        I use pvc tubes and before using it for my garden I contacted them and they said its bpa free and contains no dangerous chemicals.

      • Is dirt food grade? I mean, they show dirt being used for the plants, but I don’t know if that is safe with all the bacteria, bugs and other yukkies. I would love to try this project, but it just doesn’t seem safe at all. I think I’ll just stick to the safest option of buying my food at the grocery store. I’ve never seen any produce there ever in contact with anything not food grade, especially dirt!

        I wish there was a safe way to grow food at home. Thanks for pointing out the issue with the pipes as well Alice. I agree, love the idea, but so many heath issues.

        • Glen, you are making fun, aren’t you. The dirt is the best part of this whole project. You need dirt with a good mix of bacteria to grow good veggies. What you buy at the grocery store most probably contains some form of soy (especially soy lecithin – a sure way to mess up your endocrine system) which if not treated correctly is not good for you at all.
          You sound like someone who would wash their hands with anti bacterial soap, in the process creating super bugs. Let your body deal with the bacteria!

        • I forgot to say that a lot of the fresh produce in the grocery stores are chemically treated to stay “fresh” longer etc – the same chemicals that are harmful to you – grow your own! And you moo poo – they grow that much better and are healthier for human consumption!!
          They taste better too and you KNOW where they came from.

        • Who says the ground or hydroponic systems in which store bought food is grown are free of toxins? There are such things as beneficial bacteria and fungi.

    • Katie on said:

      We have been drinking water from our gutters to the tank then out to the house for 60 years as were our parents before us with No ill effects. It is pure water without the
      contaminents you find in town water. Our teeth and hair never dropped out our skin is soft and moist and our food is delicious . What more could you want or need.

        • Birdman on said:

          And a reliance on scientism is not evidence of intelligence.

          “I don’t know why they call it ‘common sense.’ It doesn’t seem to be that common.” Will Rogers.

          • Mike on said:

            “Scienctism?” Are you trying to denigrate the scientific method by adding “ism” to it?

            Thanks for the laugh.

      • CaribbeanGirl on said:

        We also collect water in a cistern. We do not drink it, but we do cook with it, water the garden, shower and wash our clothes with it.

        Pure rainwater, no chemicals added.

      • Mike on said:

        Back when I was a plumber’s assistant (25 years ago?) PVC was only used for waste water, and only in buildings that didn’t want to pay for Cast Iron waste stacks.

    • Kathy on said:

      It is probably best to order/buy the gutter-looking systems sold online for hydroponic growing. Those are food grade. Go to the FarmTrek site to see what these look like. Perhaps some people can buy them locally if they have the right retail store. It is certainly better financially to buy this type of product than to purchase a copper product, though the copper would be beautiful. Depends on how much $ you have to work with.

    • If you are worried about naturally grown vegetables, you have a real problem. All your food is grown in the ground, some above and some under but all in the ground. It takes fertilizer, water (onto each some ran must fall!) and sunshine. God created a self sustaining system and if people think they can do better, they better give it some more thought!

  • There is nothing in the plastic that will leech out so don’t worry about that. You can also substitute PVC drain pipe (3″, 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″ & 12″). Each size has end caps and ‘T’s” for drainage. The hardest part is to cut the pipe in half. Find someone with a band saw or use a table saw and jig. Cut only one side of the pipe at a time – cut, roll 180° and cut again. Done right and you have two even halves. On the end caps use PVC glue to glue a 1″ PVC pipe that is 1″ long. Bolt 2 chains to your patio cover or overhanging bracket on your fense the same distance apart as the pipes are long. Thread the chain through the 1″ pipes at each end. Raise the pipe bed to the height you want, make it level, insert a bolt through the chain under that 1″ end pipe and attach a nut. That will keep the pipe bed at that spot on the chain. Do that for every tier and you have a multi-tier vertical veggie/herb garden.

    • Jim Smejkal on said:

      Excellent idea, all I can find is the odd shaped gutter material. Did not think about cutting PVC pipe for this usage, and yes a table saw works great for cutting PVC pipe, leaves no jagged end and is quick. “Sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.”

  • Paul on said:

    PVC does contain lead – White PVC guttering. Black PVC guttering does not as is uses carbon for its colour. So it’s up to you! I grow veggies in black PVC and ABS pipes and guttering, have done for years!

    This project is great and produces a wonderful cascade of plants, if you use pendular varieties like lobellia in several shades of the same colour it looks stunning.

  • Don Mega on said:

    OMG! Hello people unless you grow all your own vegetables organic, your are eating some messed up stuff. Pesticide residues, crop contaminants (aflatoxins, patulin, ochratoxin, etc.)
    naturally occurring toxic substances and heavy metals are the major contaminants
    found in fruit and vegetables. Pesticides are used in management of pests and
    diseases in Agricultural and Horticultural crops. Heavy metals are present in the
    irrigation water and other manures. Infested seeds, irrigation water and soil act as
    the source of the fungal toxins.

    Also ethylene gas,acetylene gas, carbide gas, ethephon and oxytocin, are all known to be used for ripening and increasing the size of fruits and vegetables. Keeping in mind that all these contaminants are present prior to artificial preservatives and waxes.

    So slamming a great idea for a back yard hanging garden, for the minute chance that leeching may occur, seems unreasonable.

  • What about bamboo stalks? Granted, it takes a while for them to grow as large as the pvc pipes, but they can, and I’m sure it’s better than plastic or metal, and more practical than glass lol.

  • Tara MacDonald on said:

    Thanks! I am passionate about gardening and love new ideas – especially when they are pleasing to the eye while being simple, convenient, and space conscious. Great job explaining the instructions, adding photos for visuals, and the ‘ingredient’ list. Keep up the good work!

    • frozban on said:

      I don’t know of many veggies that would be very happy for long in such a shallow amount of soil. If anything, stick to baby greens and flowers. No fruiting veg

      • Strawberries do fairly well in shallow soil, this would also be a good place to get your own starts for sweet potatoes- plant a few slips in there, and when you get a foot or two of growth, snip it and plant it in the garden.

  • It is also possible to use new gutters which are made from metal, no cutting required except for length. Caps are available where ever gutters are sold, use the same method for hanging as you can keep the beds level in this manner. I might suggest drilling several small holes along the bottom for drainage since fungus will kill your crops.

  • Trevor on said:

    I couldn’t find the clamps or the half circle steel rods ANYWHERE…
    I really want to make this but Home Depot, Lowes, eBay didn’t have the parts.
    Where can I get them? I live in the Boulder Colorado area.

  • elmarie on said:

    i saw this project some time ago and waited patiently to start. i am now ready.cant wait for it to finish.i was doing renovations and had extra gutters left. wow, was i suprised to find this article in the same week about what to do with these gutters.i am going to use it for some colourful hanging plants.thanks for great ideas.

  • Alco on said:

    For those of you who are worried about PVC… your water arrives in your taps via PVC pipes or worst case scenario, asbestos… like here where I live in South Africa. Even the pots you buy for plants are manufactured in China from PVC. Happy eating.. you’re still alive right?

  • jaimie on said:

    I think it is really neat but are other materials out there you can use to make this or something like it. I also grow my own plants but I use clay pots made in the USA. Since I have had cancer I pay attention were my things come from and what and how I now eat.

  • GDI is a big deal, because it is so cheap right on said:

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  • Não entendo tanta preocupação ja que a maioria dos alimentos chegam a nossa mesa recheados de agrotóxicos e isso sem falar nos refrigerantes, salgadinhos, biscoitos etc…

  • I built this gutter garden last summer and planted it full of heirloom lettuces and herbs. It did well at first but I ran into a lot of problems with soil being blown out of the gutters, birds running off with my baby plants, and the whole thing just getting too hot. It had to be watered every single day at least once to keep it livable. We went out of town for a weekend in June and our neighbor didn’t water it on time, we lost everything. I ended up replanting it with petunias to finish out the summer and they did well. I was really disappointed in how much work this project ended up being. There just isn’t a lot of soil space. Not sure what will end up going in there this year.

  • Weegorgeous on said:

    I would use this to grow mint and tiny lemon grass plant to keep mosquitoes away… so even if the safety isn’t there I like the idea of them being a pretty hanging wall that could have natural ways of keeping the bugs away in summer!

  • Kelli B on said:

    The Feeney parts are not easy to come by, at least in my town. It appears they can only be ordered online. Additionally, all of the gutters in the hardware stores are more square shaped than round. I love LOVE this idea as I have a Boston Terrier who loves to eat my garden 🙁 I’m going to try this but without the steel rod and only using chain rope clips. There’s a YouTube video from Lowes that makes something similar using only these clips, no rods. If the spacing is right, I think it may work and balance out the weight. I will update if it works lol BTW the pricing was SUPER inexpensive, probably under $10 for the parts. Wish me luck!

  • Kelsey on said:

    Kelli – I’m having the same issue! I can’t find Feeney parts anywhere. I’m hoping the sales associates at the hardware store will know what I’m talking about when I explain and can recommend comparable products. I have ZERO space for a garden at my house, but I do have two lovely porches that are begging to be decorated. I’m thinking lots of strawberries and lettuces!
    Good luck everyone!

  • Gigi Abel on said:

    I’m above the city water line in Honolulu and catch all of the water I use and store it in a 20,000 gal tank. I use a filter for particulate matter and a UV light just before the pipe comes into the house to kill all the germy critters. Sometimes the water has a brownish tinge from leaf decay but annual testing tells me there is nothing to harm my health in it. Many of us walking the earth today grew up with enough lead in the air from our gasoline pumps to take us off the charts of safe levels. And, riding our bicycles behind the DDT mosquito spraying trucks gave us toxic levels I don’t even want to know about. Sure, we have to be careful, but our bodies have a fairly good mechanism to counter a certain amount of “junk”. We would be worse off if we were closer to “sterile” on the continuum and encountered something germy. We wouldn’t know how to fight it. Aloha

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  • All garden soil contains bacteria. With out bacteria you would not be alive. Join a good organic garden club. You and most others need to learn how important the health of your soil is to your health.

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