Outdoor Shelves Part Two: Framed Hens and Chicks

After a bitter cold week here in North Central Pennsylvania things finally started to warm up yesterday. I think it’s almost time to start picking up some plants! In fact, my Mom and I have a little trip planned to visit this amazing greenhouse tomorrow. So excited!

Yesterday I made a little more progress on my Outdoor Shelves. I hinted that this was going to be happening in my last post and a few of you easily picked up on my plans.

I now am officially the owner and creator of my first vertical garden! Ta da!

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Now, I know what you are thinking, “Michael, you’re going to need a few more hens and chicks because that just looks like framed dirt.’

I do realized I need a lot more hens and chicks, but I picked up this little bunch at my brother’s house yesterday and just couldn’t wait to get started. I have a few leads on some more, so this sucker will be full in no time, plus I want to leave a little room for things to grow.

Here is how this whole thing came together. (I made the framework last week, if you missed that you can see how I did that here.)

The first step to making my framed hens and chicks was to cut a back for my frame.  I traced my frame onto an old piece of paneling I had on hand, then cut it out using a circular saw. After that I sanded down any rough edges.

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I picked up some hardware cloth (wire screen) at the local hardware store. Using my newly cut back as guide I cut out the cloth it leaving a little extra on each side as I will be stapling this to my frame.

I trimmed off the excess on each corner to to give me a nice clean edge when inserting it into the frame.

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I folded the hardware cloth to neatly fit into my frame and then slide it into place. Using a staple gun, I secured it to the frame.

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Once all the staples were in and the screen was secure, I was ready for dirt.

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I did purchase one new bag of soil designed for succulents and cactus as the first layer.

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I filled in the rest with soil I had from an old flower pot. I packed the soil in as much as I could to make sure it would stay in place.

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Once the frame was well packed with dirt and any excess was removed from the frame. I applied the back with wood screws.

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When I flipped the frame over I  honestly expected lots of dirt to fall out, but was pleasantly surprised to see that mostly all of it stayed inside the frame.

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Next up, planting! I was going to go with a mix of succulents for this frame, but ultimately decided to stick with just hens and chicks as they can stay outside all winter.

I dug these guys out of my brother’s driveway. Some of them already have little baby chicks growing out of them! Too cute.

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To plant, I used a wooden skewer. I first inserted it through the grid and then wiggled it around to form a hole. Then, I placed the roots of the plant in the hole. If the roots were large I used the skewer to force them down.

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Once the plant was in place, I inserted the skewer into the holes around it to fill the dirt back in.

The process was a little tedious, but I love planting, so I enjoyed every minute of it!

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After that, I was done (for now), and back to the wall the shelf framed hens and chicks went.

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Its been hanging for about 24 hours now and everything is still in place. Success!

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I also temporarily added a couple other succulents to the little pots on the shelves (I bought these before I made the decision to stick with just hens and chicks). They most likely won’t stay there, but I’m desperate for a little more green!

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Over the next week or two I finish up the styling of these little shelves and share the completed look with you then.

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I’m also hoping to dig up a few more hens and chicks too, unless these guys plan on multiplying over night.

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So, what do you think of my new vertical garden?
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Posted By at 11:55 PM
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  • Moe' at

    would love to see an updated photo of this !!!

  • Cathy at

    Absolutely love this! On my way to gather some wood scraps!

  • Alexis at

    Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing^^

  • Grizz at

    I love this idea and project, my only question for you is how do you intend to keep the soil from packing/settling and falling out of the frame when watering the plants? Otherwise great idea and concept..

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Grizz, I take the frame down to water it. Therefor it’s flat and no soil falls out. It’s been hanging for a little over a year and I did have to add new dirt to the planter about a month ago. I’ll be doing an update post soon. You’ll be amazing at how it looks now. Great questions. ๐Ÿ™‚

      xo Michael

      • Cindy at

        Love your idea! You might want to add some coconut fiber before the dirt next time. Holds everything in much better. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yvonne at

        Reading your description of your process shows your gentlity and kindness. I am in the process of making my own vertical succulent garden, so have been looking at a variety of posts showing other people’s work. Just reading how you express yourself made your blog, and you as a result, standout. Your mother hen was lucky to have you as a ‘chick!’ The world needs men like you.

      • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

        You’re too kind Yvonne. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

        xo Michael

  • Linda at

    Shut the flip up! That is more than cute! Very very clever!

  • Arctida at

    Such a lovely vertical garden! Love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous at

    Wow…what a great idea for vertical space and easy to care plant…we’re do the babies go, for more growth?
    I have just the spot at my new retirement community…

  • Tammy Henderson at

    I love this!!and succulents have been my biggest obsession lately! We did a vertical Flower garden…Now I really want to do a succulent one…Love your porch! If you get a chance come by and check out our vertical flower planter. wow so glad I found your blog! Very NICE

  • Anonymous at

    I have even tried this with climbing roses and other climbing things that will not be as heavy. enjoy your blog lots

  • Linda Leyble at

    Very cool Michael – found out about you via Brooklyn Limestone. I have to try making one of these verticals! I love them.

    Check out my blog – I reported on the San Francisco Decorators Showcase which had a huge vertical wall of succulents. As you are walking to the front door of the house,you are greeted with a long and gorgeous vertical garden. It’s stunning!!

    Check out the post called The San Francisco Decorators Showcase Part 1

    Great job! Linda


  • Anonymous at

    Lovely front porch!
    Please put saucers under those pots so the deck doesn’t rot! ๐Ÿ˜€

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