(Image credit: db_beyer)

Using found items in the garden is an environmentally friendly practice. There are loads of ideas for vertical gardens or containers to use in the landscape. One really fun look outside the box is a hanging rain gutter herb garden. A gutter planter is a unique way to house and showcase plants. 

Gutters are made to catch water, but they can be dual-purposed to catch soil and plants. Gutter garden ideas make eye catching planters that may be customized for every taste. To use them to best advantage, hang a rain gutter herb garden just outside your door, where the attractive set up is ready at hand for seasoning dishes. 

Getting Started with a Gutter Planter

Whether you use aluminum, vinyl, or another type of gutter, the choice is up to you. Even old rusty gutters can be used as-is for a rustic look, or they can be painted in coordinating colors. The gutter should have ends, and not be the type that goes directly into a down spout. You will need to make holes in the gutters for drainage. Use a drill to make holes spaced evenly across the base of the gutter. Then you will want to think about mounting gear. Heavy duty metal brackets are idea for fastening into wood. Depending on the length of the gutter herb garden, it may get heavy once soil, plants, and moisture are added. 

Gutter Herb Garden Soil

An all purpose soil mixture is generally fine, since most herbs benefit from a well draining, rich, moist environment. But a few prefer a sandier place to grow. If you are doing a mixture of herbs, keep the soil light, with moderate richness, and an average pH of between 6.5-7.0. Potting soil, which contains soil is generally heavier than potting mix. Potting mix doesn't contain soil, is sterile, and has added aeration components. While potting soil can certainly be used in a hanging rain gutter herb garden, potting mix may provide a better environment for herbs. 

Gutter Garden Ideas

You may certainly hang your rain gutter herb garden, but you can also put it on a platform of some sort. One idea is old saw horses, which will keep the herbs up high for easier access. Smaller gutter gardens can even be used indoors. Hang one in the kitchen or sit it at a sunny window. You don't have to grow just herbs, but plants that won't get too large are ideal. Many annuals are perfect for a gutter planter. Use a planter on the front porch where seasonal selections of plants will brighten up your front door all year around.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.