How To Build A Self Watering Vertical Garden

Vertical gardens don’t just look good. They are good for the environment, as well. They help to reduce the carbon footprint of a building by filtering pollutants and carbon dioxide. Vertical gardens also benefit those who live nearby as the overall quality of the air is improved.

And gardening doesn’t get any ‘greener’ than this project! Here’s a DIY vertical vegetable garden that uses recycled PET bottles as planters. And it’s equipped with an automatic watering system, powered by solar panels and a home-made wind turbine!

The vegetable garden is made up of 72 large water bottles cut in half and installed upside down on a wooden shelf. This method enables you to plant large quantity of produce in a very limited space.

There are two water reservoirs. The first one collects rainwater. It’s situated on the side of the green wall, and is comprised of eight barrels each holding 200 litres of water. The second reservoir located under the wooden shelf collects excess water from the planters. These bottom reservoirs are made from repurposed street barriers!

The water is pumped from the reservoir into a PVC pipe with holes on top of the green wall. Water then drips to the planters and the excess goes back to the reservoir creating a complete cycle!

The water is circulated using 12v pumps which is powered by a turbine and two solar panels. The power is stored in a car battery. To maintain the right moisture the watering system is regulated by a timer.


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  • 2” Pine Planks
  • 4×4 Pine Timbers
  • Large PET Bottles
  • 200-Liter Plastic Barrels
  • 100-Liter Plastic “New Jersey” Street Barriers
  • 12v Water Pumps
  • Hybrid Power System
  • 10w PV Panels
  • Vawt Turbine
  • 12v Car Battery
  • Timer – to regulate watering cycle
  • 4-cm PVC Pipe
  • Plastic Cap
  • Water Hose
  • Rubber Bands
  • Juta Net
  • Juta Cord
  • Screws


  • Cordless Drill
  • Hand Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Hole Saw




I obtained from my friend Ricky a hundred of 18l PET bottles round and square shaped, ideal for my project.


The prototype of planter was a cut bottle filled with 1/3 of expanded clay and 2/3 of soil.


To prevent the mixing of the clay, i decided to use felt bags sew from a mat bought on the internet.


This solution create an air gap between the internal wall of the bottle and the soil, adding some aeration to the system. This bag are reusable and permit to remix the soil after harvest.

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