DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Tiered Hanging Pots

by Kate Pruitt

When you collect as many things as I do, floor and table space can quickly become precious commodities. Having shelves full of plants is just not feasible in the studio, but I was not going to let that stop me from pursuing my dream of building a little greenhouse. If you have an interest in going vertical with your greenery, you could whip up this tiered hanging planter in a day. You just need a tiny bit of scrap wood, some rope and a few basic woodworking tools. The best part — which should have been obvious to me from the start, but being a total gardening novice, it wasn’t — is that the system makes watering a breeze. All the runoff from the previous pot drips into the plants below, so you only need to place a little dish or bucket under the bottom. Enjoy! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • scrap wood
  • jigsaw
  • terracotta pots
  • rope
  • 3/8″ boring bit
  • paintbrush and paint
  • drill
  • plants
  • metal ring


1. Measure and mark the plank of wood to create a square with at least 3/4″ to 1″ of space around the pot.

2. Trace the lip of your pot onto the face of the wood. Trace a circle within the circumference of the one you just drew but spaced 1/4″ from the outer circle, or use a circular template that is approximately 1/4″ smaller than the radius of the pot to do the same. You will end with two concentric circles, one with a radius 1/4″ smaller than the first. Repeat with all four squares.

3. Clamp the first piece of wood down to a stable surface and drill a hole into the center of the circles with the 3/8″ boring bit. This will provide a space for your jigsaw blade to enter the wood so you can begin your cut. Working slowly and in sections, use the jigsaw to cut out the shape of the inner circle. You may have to unclamp, reposition the wood and reclamp in order to get a good angle for cutting out the entire shape. Repeat with all four squares.

4. Once all the inner circles are cut out, clamp a single square down to a piece of scrap wood and use a ruler to make a dot in the four corners of the squares, 1/2″ in from each side. Use the 3/8″ boring bit and drill holes completely through the wood at each of those four corner marks. Repeat with all four squares.

5. As an optional step, you can paint the sides of your squares for a pop of color, or paint your rope a different color. I chose to paint my rope navy blue, using acrylic paints slightly watered down. Only paint the two cut edges on each square, and position the squares on the ropes so that the unpainted and painted edges will alternate when hanging.

6. Now your squares are ready to hang. I chose to space my plants 12″ apart, but this can depend on the type of plants you’re using. Cut four lengths of rope and tie them all together in a knot about 6″ from the top. Use the 6″ strands to secure the ropes to the metal ring.

7. Hang the ring in an open area and slide the first wood square onto all four strands, about 12″ from the top knot. Tie a knot directly underneath the wood square on all four ropes, place the plant into the opening and check to make sure the piece is level. If the plant is not hanging level, you can adjust the knots up or down.

8. Repeat step 6 with the remaining three squares: Slide the square onto the ropes, measure about 12″ (or you can place your potted plant inside and eyeball the distance) and secure a knot underneath on all four ropes. Always make sure to check if the pieces are hanging straight, and adjust the knots as needed. After the last square is on and the knots are tied underneath, snip off the excess rope with scissors.

You’re done! Fill the squares with your planted pots, and find a nice sunny home for your new planter.

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  • Thank you for this wonderful idea! I can’t wait to get started and make my own with whatever materials I’ve got kicking around the house.

  • I made these same shelf’s back in the 70’s. but I am allergic to jute rope now so I have use the same kind of design of rope that they would use camping and boating a nylon or cotton rope. if you use nylon melt the ends after you cut them with a match to melt them so they don’t come unraveled.

  • Love the idea, but will use plastic pots that have the drip dish. Other than that this is a totally fabulous idea!

  • Where did you get the black hook/triangular hanging piece that you hung the piece from? I love this idea!!

  • Beautiful creativity but I have a question how do you save the dropping water since the bottom of the container has hole.


    • “All the runoff from the previous pot drips into the plants below, so you only need to place a little dish or bucket under the bottom.”

      She’s saying that the holes in the top three pots are a non-issue because the water just drips on the next plant down, but for the last pot she recommends putting a dish or a bucket beneath it to collect that water that comes through the drainage hole :)

  • I love this post. I wish I had some tools on me to make this! On a totally unrelated note, could you tell me how you got you were able to put up your pictures in that way? I love it!!!

  • Thanks for the great DIY idea. Can you suggest the length of rope to start with as well as a provide a photo of how the ropes are tied to the ring at the top? Thanks!

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