I live in a rowhome in Philadelphia with a small teeny tiny backyard. It measures about 10 feet by 14′ and is surrounded by concrete pad and 3 concrete cinder block walls. I wanted to add a little warmth to the space by creating a feature wall with hanging plants.
I saw Jenni Yolo at Ispydiy do something like this in her Airbnb backyard, and figured I would try to do something like this for my yard. Hers were all installed on a wooden fence, so it took a little bit of research. I watched a few youtube tutorials on how to drill through cinder block walls and then started planning. The first thing I did (and usually always do) was to plan it out visually using photoshop. I mocked up different variations of the backyard mural and number of pots. I settled on something that looked like this:
I “measured” out 8 pots centered with the backyard – not centered with the wall, since one part of the back wall is taken up with the gate. These are 4″ pots with 4″ pot holders. I then made an excel sheet to determine what my total costs were. You can most definitely save some costs by shopping around, however in my case I had to account for the coronavirus social distancing measures. I wanted to go to one place to get all my supplies so I only had to make one trip and knew all my materials would work well together. Enter: Home Depot. The herbs were from a local Ace Hardware store within walking distance of my house.
|(8) 4″ Pot Holder||$35.84|
|(8) 4″ Terra Cotta Pots||$7.76|
|(8) 4″ herb plants||$39.92|
After planning, it was time to move into construction phase! I pre-ordered and picked up my materials from Home Depot. In this new era of home shopping, I was so thankful they have this option. I could see that they had all the materials I needed and once I placed the order someone was able to start putting it together for me.
When I got home I started the physical planning. I marked with blue painters tape the rough locations of where I wanted to install the pot holders, stepping back to look at it to make sure it looked balanced on the wall. I chose to install each one in the center of the cinder blocks and 2 rows apart from one another. This made it super simple to align and to make sure they were even, since I knew the blocks were level.
Then I decided to make a template using a piece of cardboard. I measured the distance to the center of one single cinder block width and height. I cut a piece of cardboard exactly half the width of the block. Then I used the hanging pots as a guide to determine where the two holes would go. I marked with two lines the locations of the holes for where the screws should go.
I then transferred the markings from the cardboard template to a piece of tape on the wall. I wanted to drill directly through my template into the cinder blocks, so in the end this made it super simple.
After lining up all my tape marks and making sure they were even with each other, it was time to start drilling. Using a masonry drill bit, start drilling through the cinder block. It’s best to use a hammer drill for this, but if you don’t have one (like me) a regular drill will work. I made my hole sized for a plastic anchor to fit snug. My drill bit was 5/16″.
After drilling all your holes, using the plastic anchors that came with the pots, tap those into place in the holes. Once they are all in place you can screw in the hanging the pot holders. The pot holders I purchased came with screws and anchors.
Meanwhile, since the terra cotta pots I have are brand new they will need to soak. Soaking them makes sure that when you pot your plants, the terra cotta doesn’t absorb all the water from your plant, thus drying out your plant. I soaked mine for about an hour in my kitchen sink.
Before placing the potting soil, I was worried about soil falling through the holes so I placed a little piece of fabric in the bottom of my pot. This prevents the soil from falling through but still allows excess water to drip out the bottom.
Then you can fill your pot with enough soil to support the plants you have. For me, I chose to make this an herb garden with varieties of mint, basil, cilantro, oregano, and parsley. Obviously you can get super creative and put any kind of plants in here that you want! I bought 4″ plants, so they filled the pot pretty well but I still needed to fill the bottom and inch or two with potting soil before adding my plants.
Place your freshly potted plants into the pot holders and admire your new garden! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please comment or like!