Gardening Shelves

Limited Space

When I began my small gardening hobby, I didn’t think that I would collect plants as fast as I did or even considered running out of space. Both happened in a small amount of time. As I continued to feed my new addiction, I looked into vertical gardening for a time, but since the outside walls don’t seem to support much, I gave up on the idea. Soon after I started researching gardening shelves and other ways to save space while enjoying my garden.

To my delight, I found a plethora of designs and prices for gardening shelves. I love shopping and research, but this felt a little overwhelming so again, I gave up the search. That is, until my husband suggested he could make me one at the fraction of the prices I saw.

I then began to research more in depth the design, size and materials I wanted for my own garden shelf. Like I said before, researching this became a little overwhelming but I was able to narrow my search based on those three things. And since this is a site dedicated to those who have limited space for gardens, I had to consider the small size of my porch.

gardening shelf
Gardening shelf

I will now discuss in detail various designs, sizes and materials so that you may also make your very own gardening shelf on a budget for your limited garden.

Gardening Shelf Design

There are many types of designs for a gardening shelf. After you’ve seen an unlimited amount of pictures, you will be able to narrow down your results like I did. They can look like a traditional shelf as well as more elaborate and imaginative. Yours can be made based on your preference.

First of all, I recommend you figure out how much space you have to work with. My gardening shelf takes up the majority of one side of my porch. If you have more space to work with, you might prefer something longer. The size may also play a part in helping you decide on a design, but many styles of gardening shelves can be made different sizes.

Gardening Shelf Materials

Next are the types of materials you want to build with. Since my husband and I were trying to cut down on costs, I wasn’t too picky about the appearance of my gardening shelf. He ended up buying some small wood supports and natural wood colored fencing posts at Home Depot. Hubby also bought nails and screws. Total cost of my shelf was around $30. You may spend more or less.

Since the materials were longer than needed my husband ended up sawing most of the pieces down with his saw. He also used a drill and hammer that we already had. A leveler also came in handy. Now, my husband did all this without an actual paper in hand, so yours may be different.

After hours of sawing, drilling, hammering and some trial and error, I had a beautiful custom made gardening shelf. Now it was in no way perfect, but it does the job of showing off my beautiful plants. Hubby suggested I get it stained or painted, but I like the natural look, so for now its finished.

gardening shelf
My finished gardening shelf

If you like the white picket fence look, there are plenty of parts to create a white picket fence garden shelf. If you prefer something dark and modern, there are numerous supplies to achieve that look as well. With extra work, you can also pick out natural wood and paint it a color or colors to match the outdoor look.

Another way to save on materials is to ask friends and family with larger yards if they have any materials they won’t use that you can for a gardening shelf. Lumberyards and scrapyards are also great places to find cheap materials.

Gardening Shelf Sizes

My gardening shelf is about 5 feet by 4 feet tall with four shelves. Each shelf is spaced so that the one below juts out by half the one on top. Each shelf is about one foot wide so that a variety of pots can be placed on them. When my husband built the framework, the shelf was pretty wobbly and unsteady, so he added the supports that criss-cross the back.

If you choose to start small, I suggest a corner shelf. You can make this short or tall, depending on what you want, how much money you have to put toward your shelf, and how many plants you want to display. Another good size to start with as a base for each level is one foot in height, depth and length.

Also, when you consider the size of your gardening shelf, make sure you have enough supports to handle the weight of your pots. I have my larger pots on the ground and lowest shelf. The smaller ones I placed on the highest shelf. This can vary based on size and materials used.

gardening shelf
My gardening shelf

Other Gardening Shelf Ideas

If you would rather use a pre-drawn out plan, there are many to choose from. There are plenty ready made shelves and ones that you build yourself that come with plans. Another inexpensive way to have your own gardening shelf is to scan Craigslist ads in the for sale and free sections.

If you decide to start from scratch like my husband did, I highly recommend making several drawings with measurements. This will help you avoid making mistakes and waste time redoing certain steps. Of course, if you do start from scratch, everyone has their own way of doing things.


In conclusion, enjoy the process and definitely the finished product of your own gardening shelf. You will learn a lot as you build your shelf (or by watching you significant other build it). And if you really enjoyed the results, this may lead to other homemade outdoor furniture. Let me know if you have your own tips and tricks on how to make your own gardening shelf. Enjoy and happy creating!


10 Replies to “Gardening Shelves”

  1. Super cool! This has given me some ideas for sure. Living in an apartment I don’t have a ton of space so this will be perfect. I am thinking of making a shelf around one of the windows!


    1. A shelf around a window sounds like a great idea! It will add some color to your space, based on what kind of plants you choose. You can always add more structures later, too.


  2. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see gardening shelves like this it makes me feel like the homeowner has a real passion for their surroundings and goes the extra mile in making their home feel like a real “home”. Nice post!


    1. I do! The one my husband made me fits perfectly on one side of our apartment balcony. He was able to build it on the balcony. Once you get the measurements and materials, just build it near the place where you want it, so you know it will fit.


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