If you've been thinking about a way to create a truly unique garden space as part of your landscape design, one of the things that you should think about is planting your garden in gutters. While some people may consider re-using old gutters for this, it's often best to invest in brand new gutters for this so that you don't risk any contamination from the debris or rain that flowed through the gutters. With a selection of shallow-rooting plants, you can create a garden that's unusual, attractive, and even mounted vertically.
Prep Your Gutters For Planting
Once you've chosen the gutters you want for planting, they need to be cleaned thoroughly. This removes any protective oils or other residue that may have been left behind after manufacture. The best way to do this is with a mild dishwashing detergent that's designed to cut grease. Once the gutters are clean, rinse them completely so that there's no detergent residue left behind. This reduces the risk of any contamination in the soil.
Once the gutters are clean, measure the space where you want to mount them. When you know the actual width of the space, you can cut the gutters to fit. Transfer the measurement to each gutter so that you can cut them to the proper dimension. Use tin snips to cut the gutters if you bought metal or stainless steel. Metal is great for this if it's been painted or otherwise coated to prevent rust and corrosion. Another durable option is vinyl or PVC gutter designs. If you chose PVC, you'll want to have a circular saw to trim them to size.
Opt for about four feet wide for most garden structures. It makes the gutters easy to manage while still providing enough space to plant most things. Place caps on either end of the gutters then crimp the edges with metal crimpers. Seal them with silicone caulk so that there's no risk of leaks. Once that sealant is dry, it's time to put drainage holes in the bottom. Drill small holes every few inches to encourage water runoff. Use a small drill bit when you do it so that they don't end up too large.
Secure The Gutters On The Structure
Once your gutters are properly prepared, it's time to mount them to whatever backdrop you chose to support your garden. Whether it's fence, pallets, or any other structure, you can secure your gutters easily. Mark out where you want the gutters to sit, then mark the distance to the necessary mounting holes. For example, if you want three holes for mounting bolts on each gutter, divide the length in thirds and place holes at those points.
Drill holes on one side of each gutter. That gives you the holes to mount the gutters on that side. Match those holes with holes on the mounting surface, then opt for hardened bolts and fasteners to keep the structure intact.
Fill The Gutters
Put some loamy soil into each of the gutters. Avoid heavy potting soil because that will stress the mounting hardware. Fill the gutters up to the bottom of the upper edge. Transfer the seedlings that you chose or plant the seeds as necessary. The gutters will support the weight as long at they are supported by several mounting bolts and you use lightweight growth material. Consider dividing your plants by color, type, or purpose when you plant gutter gardens. Keep similar plants in one gutter section.
While everyone thinks of the traditional uses of gutters, things like this allow you to create a truly unusual and conversation-starting garden design that showcases both your plants and the gutters. Talk with a local landscaper today about your options. Contact a company like Boulder Works to get started.