Versatility of Vertical Gardens:

The versatility of Varden vertical gardens is a topic that I think about often but don’t talk about enough. We are always trying to find ways to communicate the versatility of our Varden vertical garden systems which are composed of the same components that make up our Varden living wall systems. The only difference is that vertical gardens tend to be used for edible plants with a few flowering species thrown in for good gardening measure, and the living wall systems tend to be attached to a building and populated with long lasting plants such as succulents or appropriate tropical plants that will last for many years.

Vertical gardens might be leaned against a building or positioned on a rack when they cannot be attached to fences, posts or to a building wall. They tend to be somewhat seasonal, and they will get replanted often based on the plant species that are grown for the garden and their harvest and longevity. We would not characterize vertical gardens as needing maintenance, because gardening really is continuous maintenance until you can eat the mature plants. Once the plants are harvested from the garden it’s time to replant for the next season with the most appropriate crops.

Living walls are managed by professional horticulturists who make sure that all the plants are healthy and beautiful for as long as possible. We have seen interior and exterior living walls planted once and remaining virtually the same for several years. There are always plant replacements to be made here and there but for our Varden system, the percentage of replacement and plant loss is very low. Most re-plants are for a design change to create a different look that the customer is interested in. The beauty of our Varden system is that the components are very durable and last many years. Once the holder system is installed it becomes a canvas that can be adjusted, updated and refreshed simply by swapping out the Vardensoks that rest in the trays.

  • Vertical Garden on a rack
  • Vertical Garden Stand
  • Vertical Garden on a garage
  • Vertical Garden mounted on a brick wall
  • large backyard vertical garden
  • Varden Vertical Garden at Urban Farm
  • HGTV varden vertical garden
  • Vertical Garden on Shipping container
  • Vertical Garden mounted on raised bed garden box

Designed to be Different:

We like to say that our system is very unique in that we are containing our growing media or soil in a breathable mesh sock. That creates really good growing conditions and is very different from the way other vertical gardens and vertical growing systems function. We feel like the best comparison that can be made from a customer standpoint, is to look at the use of raised bed gardens versus vertical gardens.

Vertical Gardens vs tower gardens and raised beds

Modern garden examples

We have published blog posts in the past talking about the differences between raised bed gardens and vertical gardens. From our standpoint we feel like the vertical garden offers more flexibility in location, tending and harvesting, at a lower cost factor. We understand all of this but it’s not always easy to convey this to the buying consumer. This blog post is not really to make a sales pitch for buying a vertical garden system versus a raised bed system, but rather to highlight the versatility of vertical gardens and the wide range of uses, positions and plant species that can be grown in vertically. You may also want to review our previous blog on Tower Gardens and other Hydroponic gardening systems as well.

Shifting Focus to Food:

One thing that is always amazed me is that we started out with our Varden system for use in living walls and once organic farms started using the system. They where able to increase their crop yield on a fixed piece of property by putting vertical gardens around the perimeters or in odd unused places. As a result, we shifted our focus to growing food because we were shown quite convincingly that they were very beneficial and accessible to just about everyone. We all must eat!

We see our vertical gardens used for traditional leafy greens and herbs, but we’ve also seen customers growing tomatoes and even small carrots and radishes. We see our systems installed on fences of all types, as well as attached to unused spaces on homes, and buildings such as garages, and areas around the house where air conditioning units sit. The air conditioning unit walls are interesting because generally nobody wants to be around those pieces of infrastructure and so there’s usually great unused space to install a vertical garden. Vertical gardens just don’t take up any room, no matter how you use them. Unlike a traditional garden that’s in the ground or a raised bed garden that sits on top of the ground, no real estate is taken up by a vertical garden and we feel like that is a real game changer for the gardener.

Latest Trendy Crop:

Recently we have even seen the cannabis industry begin adopting the use of our Varden system for growing their crop. The proven benefits of growing media placed inside of a breathable mesh sock, creates favorable growing conditions for cannabis. The vertical orientation, if handled properly can increase the yield per square foot area for the growing facility. We have not taken over the marketplace, but we do have successful trials and we do have cannabis industry customers that use our systems on a regular basis.

We have not tried marketing these systems for the consumer, but we feel that as more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, there will be home growers that would like a very compact system that makes it easy for them to grow their own cannabis for personal use in very little space. The pictures included in this blog showcase several different crops and mountings that vertical gardening with our systems can accomplish. You might get a real kick out of seeing the vertical cannabis as well. Cannabis is the largest plant we’ve ever tried to grow vertically in our system and by the time it gets to harvest you can’t hardly see our hardware system. Nobody would really know what was in there and the system looks like Sasquatch hiding in the greenhouse. Pretty funny and also productive!

I mention all of this because it just further underscores my point that vertical gardens are incredibly versatile and our Varden vertical garden system is probably the most versatile we have ever seen in the marketplace.

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About the Author: Mark Woolbright

Mark Woolbright is an inventor and innovator of living walls with over 30 years in design, manufacture, marketing, and installation of plantable, living wall systems. Mark graduated from Eastern Illinois University and is currently Managing Member of Greenwall Ventures, LLC, and most recently, CEO/Founder of Verdtech, Inc. Throughout his career, he has been awarded twelve patents, with more applications pending. Mark has served on the Board of the St. Louis USGBC, as a member of the Green Wall Committee of GRHC which develops course curriculum for its Green Walls 101 course and is a certified Biophilic Design trainer through GPGB. He is passionate about educating the building community on the environmental benefits of Living Walls and best practices for their use. If you have questions on living walls, contact Mark at (314) 279-8905 or View his creations and services at