A few years ago, I saw pictures for a gutter garden online. I was instantly smitten with this industrial vertical planter — first, because I love repurposing materials; and second, because I’m always looking to add dimension to my garden with vertical elements. So recently, we decided to create our own version of the Gutter Garden and fill it with succulents — off the edge of our chicken coop roof! Hey, chickens need cool places to live, too, right?

Finished Gutter Garden

Here’s the way we did it — but keep in mind that your materials (chain size/length, drill bits, screws) will vary on the size of your gutter garden. In parentheses you’ll find the specifics of what we used.


Assorted 2” succulents

Assorted 4” succulents

Gutter in your preferred material and length (we used a 7’ length of galvanized gutter)

(2) gutter end caps

Chain (choose a size and color to coordinate with your gutter, and length to hang your gutter garden on both ends and possibly in the middle)

“S” hooks


Tiny screws, optional

Cordless drill

Drill bit – We used a ¼” bit for the drainage holes and a 1/8” bit for the eyehooks

Jobe’s Cactus & Palm Potting Mix

Gutter Garden Plants

  1. Drill drainage holes in the bottom of your gutter.
  2. Attach the end caps to each end of your gutter. We added a few tiny screws to make sure the end caps didn’t fall off — this is optional, and only if you feel your end caps aren’t fitting as securely as you’d like them to.
  3. Attach eyehooks to the surface where you are going to hang your gutter garden (on the edge of the coop roof for our project).
  4. Attach chains with “S” hooks to your gutter — we attached chains several inches in from each end as well as in the middle of the gutter for extra support. Measure your chains before cutting to ensure they will hang your gutter at the level you want.
  5. Add Jobe’s Cactus & Palm Potting Mix — for our 7’ length of gutter, I used three bags.
  6. Plant succulents and hang your gutter. Use a buddy system for this — the planted gutter wasn’t too heavy, but it should be awkward to hang it on your own.

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Jenny Peterson is an Austin, Texas-based garden designer with her own firm, J. Peterson Garden Design, as well as a writer, author and speaker. She specializes in designing, writing and speaking about gardens that enhance the quality of life, heal from the inside out and help to create balance and wellness.