Pre-pandemic, Rebecca Picchi, her husband, and their two young children were the antithesis of homebodies. Forced to slow down, the Sacramento, California–based project manager began to reevaluate how she spent her time indoors, which sparked a renewed interest in cooking—but there was a problem. The luxury of running to the store to pick up fresh ingredients was temporarily put on hold. Her solution? An art piece/herb garden, which currently hangs in their patio. “We weren’t plant people before, but having our own mini garden has allowed us to keep up with new recipes and get outside while staying home,” she explains.
Inspired by a painted pegboard she had seen on Instagram, she started with the palette. “I knew I wanted to use yellow and orange—two of my favorite colors—but since we were sheltered in place at the time of the project and I was also seven months pregnant, I couldn’t go to the hardware store to source paint like I normally would,” says Picchi. She landed on a third pale periwinkle shade (spotted on Pinterest) and sent her husband out to pick up three sample pots. “The best part about this project is that you can easily change up the colors whenever you’d like!” she says. Just remove the planters, paint over the wood, and remount them for a whole new installation.
Her biggest tip is to overplan—when you’re mounting to a wall, it’s important to make sure that everything is structurally sound—but once they had mapped it out, the process went smoothly. The project took a weekend to complete (“We could have finished in one day, but we had our toddler distracting us!”) and cost around $125. For anyone in a small space, it’s an unobtrusive way to get fresh greens on your plate and dress up a blank wall; hang it on your terrace or even in a sunny kitchen.
Now Picchi has a supermarket aisle’s worth of herbs growing on 4 feet of plywood: Thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, tarragon, and two basil pots all fit snugly. “We can never have enough fresh basil on hand,” she says. The biggest perk, though, has nothing to do with cooking at all: “It’s been great including our 2-year-old daughter, Cecilia, in the yard work, from planting to pulling weeds to watering the greens! She loves it.”
Here’s how Picchi created her floating garden:
- ½-inch common unfinished plywood
- 4-inch plant hangers (Picchi found a set of three on Amazon)
- Table saw
- Sander (Picchi used this one)
- Cordless drill
- Paintbrush or mini paint roller
- Paint samples (Picchi’s picks: Valspar’s Ultra White, Tangerine, Sassy Violet, and Honey Glaze)
- Protective Enamel Gloss Spray Paint
- Miniature terracotta pots (Picchi’s are from Lowe’s)
- D-ring anchors
- 2 screw hooks
- Silicone caulking
- Herbs or seeds of your choice
- Potting soil
Step 1: Map It Out
Measure the space you plan to hang your herb garden in, then use the saw to cut the plywood sheet to the right dimensions. (Pro tip: A hardware store can also cut yours down for free.) Next, use a ruler and pencil to measure out the spacing between each individual hanger—Picchi did two rows of four planters, marking the spots with an x. Lastly, with one of the plant hangers as a guide, mark the location of the mounting holes.
Step 2: Finish Off the Base
Pre-sink the holes with a drill bit a few sizes smaller in diameter than the screws you’ll be using to mount the hangers. Sand the front of the plywood to smooth it down.
Step 3: Slick on Some Color
Paint on two coats of white. Let them dry completely before sketching out your design using the pencil. Fill in the pattern with the colors of your choice—Picchi used a mini roller to fill in the largest sections and a detail brush to get crisp edges. Apply two coats of each hue, and don’t forget to coat the sides of the board, too.
Step 4: Mount Your Garden
Once everything is completely dry, attach the plant hangers to the plywood with the drill. Locate the studs in your wall and install the screw hooks. If this iswill outside, fill in any gaps in the mounting holes with silicone caulking to weatherproof them. Attach each D-ring to the back of the plywood so they line up with the wall hooks. Hang it up!
Step 5: Flex Your Green Thumb
Use potting soil to plant the herbs of your choice into the terracotta pots, then place them into the hangers. Fresh basil for your next pasta dinner is right around the corner.
Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.