The final piece for the Rhode Island Home Show display! This is a living wall/vertical garden/green wall piece that I made oversized to fit over the head of the bed. Made 100% from reclaimed materials like I love to do. It was tricky to figure out a way to mount the round mirrors floating in the center but I ended up building building up a wood matrix in the center that also helped to hold up the plants in place. For the show we mounted the succulents in foam since we didn’t have enough time to let them root properly (it takes about 2 months).
> Pallet wood
> Biscuits: http://amzn.to/2jrBmGB
> Wood Glue
> Reclaimed pine boards
> PVC Plastic Sheet
> Plywood Scrap for cleats
> Chicken Wire
> Linseed Oil
> Black Silicone Caulking
> Mirror Clips
> Green Flower Foam
> 12″ Mirrors: http://amzn.to/2vD2QA1
> Biscuit Joiner: http://amzn.to/2ifDaEQ
> Strap Clamp: http://amzn.to/2obipxa
> Table Saw
> Miter Saw
> Corner Clamp
> Brad Gun
> Router Table
> Rabeting Router Bit
> Palm Router
> Flush Trim Router Bit: http://amzn.to/2vDQsQu
> Wire Snips
This projects starts like a lot of mine do, with some pallet wood. I got some Euro style pallets which are typically made from pine and are easy to take apart so you can get long pieces out of them (just short of 4′). I start by taking some of these slats and ripping them down to width at the table saw, then cutting them down to length at a 45 degree angle at the miter saw.
The 4 pieces of the front frame are laid out on the table and each joint is market for placement of the biscuits. I pull out the biscuit joiner and cut the slots for the biscuits that will be used during assembly. These small miter joints won’t be very strong on their own so the biscuits will do a lot of the work holding these together.
Glue is applied, biscuits are inserted, and all of the joints are fit together. Then I use a strap clamp around the whole frame to clamp it up and I set it aside while it dries.
Next, I mill down a bunch of this reclaimed pine paneling to use for the main box of the vertical garden. These pieces are all cut down to rough length on the miter saw and then ripped to width (4″) on the table saw.
To fix the outside corners together I use a miter joint so no end grain is visible in the final assembly. The pieces for the outside frame of the box are all cut to length at a 45 degree angle. The inner support frame pieces are all cut square.
The corners are all glued and brad nailed to hold them in place while the glue dries. This 90 degree corner jig holds the 2 pieces square while they are fastened together.
Once the frame is assembled I bring it over to the router table where I cut a rabbet in both sides, one will fit the backer panel and the other will fit the chicken wire on the front of the box. After cutting with the rabbeting bit I square the corners off with a chisel. I cut the rabbet now after assembly because these reclaimed boards aren’t completely flat and the bearing on the router bit follows the edge of the board perfectly.
The backer panel is cut from a sheet of 1/8″ thick PVC. This was pulled out of the trash, but has proven to be a super useful material, particularly in the application because the plastic is waterproof.
I fasten the backer panel in place temporarily with a few short wood screws. This will have to come back off later, but I fasten it in place for now to finish with the assembly.
The inner support frame can now be assembled. This is also glued and brad nailed into place. I planned this out so that it helps to support the plants and soil once it hangs up on the wall, but it is also placed to that the windows left between the pieces will help to hold the mirrors in place.
This whole inner frame is then slipped into place and also held with glue and brad nails. I can the fasten the backer panel in place with a few more screws from the back into this center support.
These three large windows are what will be used to hang the vertical garden up onto the wall so I drill a hole and then use a flush trim bit in the palm router to follow around the perimeter of each window to remove the backer panel in these locations. These are also where the mirrors will be located, so there won’t be any dirt or plants here to worry about.
To hang these beast up on the wall, I chose to use french cleats. These are cut at a 45 degree angle out of plywood and then I screw one in each of the windows using pocket holes. The nice thing about this location is that when this is placed up on the wall it will be flush because the cleat is recessed inside the box.
For holding in the dirt and plants I use a roll of chicken wire. I unroll it and cut it down to size with some metal snips. There will also be moss installed on top of the dirt to help hold everything in place so this will work together with that to keep it all in place. This is held in place temporarily with a few screws.
Next I need to figure out how to fasten the front frame to the main box. I cut some 3/4″ square pieces of pine to act as cleats that will prevent almost all visible fasteners and will also give a nice shadow line detail along the sides. These are cut to the full length of the sides, fastened into the front frame from the back and then it’s held in place with with a few screws through the side into the box.
It’s all done so I disassemble it to apply finish. The main box is painted black on all of the inside surface that will hold the dirt and plants, this helps to waterproof it. I then apply linseed oil on all of the wood surfaces to help seal everything up.
The back is screwed back into place once the finish dries and I apply a bead of silicone caulking around all of the inside surface where the plants will live. This will seal everything up for when the plants are watered.
Now the chicken wire can be put back into place, the frame screwed into place, and the mirrors can be held in place by screwing on some plastic mirror clips. Now it’s ready for some flowers… road trip!
On location at the floral designers, we cut foam out to size to fit in where all of the plants will go. This vertical garden piece was originally made for the Rhode Island Home Show so we didn’t have enough time to let the succulents root in the frame (takes a few months) so this foam is a temporary measure. After the show, the frame was emptied out and dirt, plants, and moss installed and it’s currently rooting.
Once the foam is all inserted into the box, the chicken wire, frame, and mirrors can all be reinstalled and then the plants are put into place around the mirrors within the frame.
For the show, they used a bunch of succulents. They cut holes in the foam and inserted the roots of the plants into the holes of the foam. If the plants where too big to fit through the chicken wire, it’s cut slightly larger to fit.
All of the plants are inserted and for any of the longer ones that look like they might fall out, they’re fastened into place with some metal pins. In between the succulents they install moss to fill in the gaps. Then they spray it all with water to keep it damp and looking lively during the show.
Here you can see the installation process and the receiving french cleats on the wall. Each one of these three is places at the opposite angle of the one within the frame to the ones fastened to the frame just slip into place over the top of these. It’s perfectly for this installation because it’s temporary so it’s a quick up/down, but it’s also a good permanent solution because it’s so strong.