View our other publications:

Reprint: Step it up

This wooden ladder, a hand-me-down from my husband’s grandfather, was literally on its last leg when my husband decided to throw it out, but I rescued it to reuse as a plant stand. With a little love, our old ladder was transformed into something grandpa would be proud of.



Wood ladder, painted or stained if desired

Screws, washers and nuts

Plastic containers with drainage holes Moist potting soil



Drill with a bit the same size as screws

Materials note: The length of the screws depends on the thickness of the ladder steps. The steps on my ladder were 1 inch thick, so I used 11⁄2 inch long round head machine screws.

  1. Drill a hole in the center of each container bottom. if a center drainage hole exists, you can skip this step.
  2. Mark the center of each step. drill a hole through each step where marked.
  3. Place container on step, aligning the holes.
  4. Add 1 washer to a screw, then push the screw with washer through container and step.
  5. Place a second washer on the screw underneath step, then thread a nut on. to avoid cracking the plastic container, only hand-tighten the nut.
  6. Repeat steps 3–5 until all containers are attached.
  7. Fill each pot with moist soil and plant as desired.

This project could also be brought indoors to display houseplants.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Have you created a vertical planter you’d like to share? Send pictures and description to [email protected] or post to the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal Facebook wall. We’d love to share them with our readers!

Subscribe to our newsletter