I wrote about the start of our our courtyard make-over a little while ago – since then I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate more greenery into this space.  That was easier said than done, particularly since our courtyard is very hot and dry, and Cape Town is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in history.  I’ve been accumulating some succulent plants over the past couple of years, but many of them weren’t particularly happy in our indoor laundry area where I was keeping them.  Inspired by the lovely Debee (InspireLovely on Instagram), I decided to find a way of incorporating a vertical succulent garden into the courtyard.  Rather than using a wooden pallet, we headed off to our local Builder’s Warehouse to buy some guttering, and I’m rather pleased with the results!  We placed two sections against the wall where our washing line is, which works well with the metal structure which I found at Milnerton Market.  We incorporated an additional three sections on another piece of wall in the courtyard.  I can’t wait to see if the plants prefer their new environment.   I’m also hoping that with time they will all grow to be a bit larger, so that you get more of a green effect that will camouflage the white guttering.  We’ll have to wait and see!

What you’ll need:

  • Lengths of guttering (from Builder’s Warehouse or your local hardware store)
  • Gutter ends
  • Gutter brackets (I recommend using at least one bracket per metre of gutter)
  • Drainage chips/stones (available from Stodels or your local nursery)
  • Cactus/succlent soil mix (available from Stodels or your local nursery)
  • Succulent plants (available from Stodels or your local nursery)
  • Spirit level
  • Hand saw to cut gutter
  • Electric drill
  • Screws
  • Hammer

With the help of my amazing husband, we were able to complete our vertical garden in a single day.  Once you’ve cut your guttering into the desired lengths,  clip on the ends and mount the brackets to the wall.  Pop in your gutters and you’re ready to go!  Remember that succulents like well-drained sandy soil, so drill regular holes into the bottom of the gutters to ensure that excess water can drain easily.  I then added a layer of drainage chips (small stones), before the succulent soil mix.  Then you can have fun playing with the plants!  There are loads of online guides to planting, growing and propagating succulents, so be sure to treat them properly.  I’ll be posting updates on Instagram, so remember to follow!


Thanks again to Prominent Paints for sponsoring the paint for our courtyard make-over!  I’m still very much in love with the stenciled floor.  You can find the original post (with before-and-after pics) here.


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