What Can I Plant Over Underground Utilities: What You Need to Know

Are you tired of limited space for gardening due to buried utilities in your yard? Vertical gardening might just be the solution you need! With this innovative technique, you can create a lush and beautiful garden that grows upward instead of outward. 

But how do you ensure that your plants thrive without damaging underground pipes and wires? 

Introduction to Vertical Gardening

What Can I Plant Over Underground Utilities

If you’re looking for a way to add some greenery to your home without taking up too much space, vertical gardening is a great option! Vertical gardens are perfect for small spaces, balconies, and even patios. Plus, they can be a great way to camouflage unsightly utility boxes or pipes.

If you’re new to vertical gardening, there are a few things you should know before getting started. 

  • It’s important to choose the right plants for your garden. Not all plants are suited for vertical growth, so it’s important to do your research beforehand. 
  • You’ll need to make sure that your vertical garden is getting enough light. This can be tricky if you’re growing on a shady balcony or patio. 
  • You’ll need to water your plants regularly and fertilize them every few weeks to ensure that they’re getting the nutrients they need.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start planning your own vertical garden!

Benefits of Overhead Planting

There are many benefits to planting overhead, including:

  • Increased sunlight exposure for your plants – This is especially beneficial for sun-loving plants that need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Improved air circulation around your plants – This can help prevent disease and encourage healthier growth.
  • Greater space efficiency – You can grow more in a smaller area by planting upward instead of outward.
  • Enhanced curb appeal – A well-designed vertical garden can add beauty and interest to your home’s exterior.
  • Easier maintenance – Since vertical gardens are often contained in one area, they can be simpler to care for than traditional gardens.

Identifying Underground Utilities

If you’re thinking about starting a vertical garden, the first step is to identify any underground utilities that might be in the way. This is especially important if you plan on doing any drilling or digging as part of your project.

The best way to identify underground utilities is to contact your local utility company. They should be able to provide you with a map that shows the location of all underground lines in your area. Once you have this map, you can mark off any areas where you need to avoid drilling or digging.

Another option is to use a metal detector to scan for buried utilities before you start your project. This can be a bit more time-consuming, but it’s worth it if it means avoiding any damage to underground lines.

Once you’ve identified all of the potential hazards, you can start planning your vertical garden with confidence!

Tips for Planning a Vertical Garden Above Your Utilities

  • Check for underground utility lines before planning your vertical garden. Call 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” number, to have utilities marked for free.
  • Choose a location for your vertical garden that gets plenty of sunlight. Most plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive.
  • Consider the weight of your plants when choosing a location for your vertical garden. Some plants, like tomatoes, can get heavy as they grow and produce fruit. Make sure the area you choose can support the weight of your plants.
  • Plan for irrigation when creating your vertical garden. Hand-watering can be time-consuming, so consider installing a drip irrigation system or soaker hose to keep your plants healthy and hydrated.

Recommended Plants for Planting Above Underground Utilities

If you’re looking to add some greenery to your home but are limited on space, vertical gardening is a great option. But before you start planting away, it’s important to know what plants are safe to grow above underground utilities. Here are a few of our recommendations:

1. Creeping Jenny: A fast-growing plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions, creeping jenny is perfect for covering large areas quickly. Just be sure to keep an eye on its growth and trim it back as needed so it doesn’t get too big or overwhelm your space.

2. Boston Ivy: A classic climbing plant, Boston ivy is perfect for adding some green to blank walls or fences. It’s also relatively low-maintenance, making it a great option for busy homeowners.

3. Sweet Potato Vine: Another fast-growing plant, sweet potato vine is perfect for filling in empty spaces in your garden. It’s also drought-tolerant, so you don’t have to worry about watering it too often.

4. Golden Pothos: A trailing plant that’s perfect for hanging baskets or containers, golden pothos are easy to care for and thrive in most conditions. Just be sure to give it enough light – it prefers bright, indirect sunlight.

Soil Amendments and Fertilizer Recommendations for Above Ground Gardening

Most gardens are planted in the ground, but what if your utilities are buried too close to the surface for traditional gardening? Vertical gardening is a great solution for gardeners with shallow utility lines.

There are a few things to keep in mind when vertical gardening:

  • Soil amendments and fertilizer recommendations will be different than for traditional gardening.
  • Make sure your containers have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  • Choose plants that are well-suited to growing in containers and in your climate.

Here are some general soil amendments and fertilizer recommendations for vertical gardening:

Use a light, well-draining potting mix or make your own by mixing equal parts sand, perlite, and peat moss.

Add organic matter such as compost or manure to improve fertility and help retain moisture.

Fertilize regularly with a balanced fertilizer formulated for container plants. Water soluble fertilizers can be applied more frequently than granular ones.

Maintenance Tips for Vertical Gardening Over Buried Utilities

If you’re planning on starting a vertical garden, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to avoid damaging any buried utilities. 

First, you’ll need to determine the location of all buried utilities on your property. Once you know where they’re located, you can avoid placing your garden beds over them.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that the area where you plan to build your vertical garden is level. This will help prevent any damage to the utilities that could be caused by roots or water drainage.

When it comes time to actually plant your vertical garden, be careful not to damage the utilities with shovels or other gardening tools. If you accidentally damage a utility line, be sure to call the appropriate repair service immediately.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all the benefits of vertical gardening without having to worry about damaging your buried utilities.


Vertical gardening is a great way to make use of limited space, increase yields, and protect underground utilities from accidental damage. 

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can successfully implement vertical gardens over your buried utility lines without any issues. 

Not only will it help you maximize space and produce more crops for yourself or others, but with proper planning and execution, it can also help protect your underground utilities from potential damage caused by digging too deep!

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