How To Build A Hydroponic Tower Garden (Step By Step)

Growing your own food has never been easier. Hydroponic tower garden systems are a great way to grow a lot of plants in a small space. 

This is especially true if you lack outdoor space, live in an apartment or have limited sunlight exposure due to climate where you live. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to build your own hydroponic tower garden from start to finish. 

We’ll walk through the parts list for building one as well as share ideas on which plants work best in these systems and how to grow them successfully indoors year-round.


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Key Takeaways
Building a hydroponic tower garden can provide a variety of benefits, including space efficiency and better plant growth rates.
Common hydroponic tower designs include vertical stack systems and standalone towers.
Nutrient solutions are a vital part of hydroponic tower gardens and need to be monitored regularly.
Lighting is also an important factor to consider when building a hydroponic tower garden.
Regular pruning and maintenance are necessary for healthy and productive plants in a hydroponic tower garden.

What You’ll Need

PVC pipe—one piece needs to be at least 10 feet long.

Cap—this will fit over the top of your PVC pipe and help keep it free from dirt, debris and water. If you get a cap with a hole in it (like a grower’s net), then you’ll need some way to secure that cap on your tower garden; something like zip ties or cable ties can work.

Screws—you’ll need enough screws for each end of your tower garden project; these should be screwed into place inside the cap and through the PVC pipe itself. 

You may also want to add extra screws along certain surfaces if you feel like it’s necessary for added stability for your tower garden project as well!

Glue—this is optional but recommended if you’re attaching anything together like trays within their own containers so they don’t jostle around when there’s motion occurring inside them due to windy weather conditions outside (or even just normal activity inside).

If you are interested in farming through a hydroponic system, you need to know the basics of building one first. Our guide on building a hydroponic farm can help you get started on your project with expert advice and step-by-step instructions.

Cut the 3-inch PVC Pipes

Now that you have your materials, it’s time to cut the PVC pipes. You might be tempted to use a hacksaw or circular saw, but this can be dangerous and cause injuries. Instead, invest in a PVC pipe cutter for about $10 at your local hardware store (you’ll find one online as well).

With your cutter in hand, grab the first length of 3-inch PVC pipe and make sure both ends are capped with end caps. 

This will prevent leaks from occurring when water flows through them later on. Next, measure out how long each piece needs to be based on where they’ll be placed within your tower garden (see diagram above). 

For example: if my tower is 4 feet tall and I want my first level at 1 foot off the ground (with no spacing between levels), then each section would need to be 17 inches long because I have 17 inches between where it starts on top of my original structure and where it ends at ground level.

Once measured properly and ready for cutting, place one end into one side of your pipe cutter make sure neither end cap falls off while doing so and squeeze down firmly until an audible click sounds from inside the tool telling us that our plastic has been successfully cut through completely! 

Repeat with all five pieces needed for each level as shown above; once done cutting both ends should look like this:

Assemble the Base

Cutting the PVC pipes into equal lengths is easy, but it’s important to make sure you have enough to complete the project. 

Each pipe should be 18 inches long, and there are 15 in each section of your tower garden. You want to give yourself around 1 inch between each pipe and coupler, so that leaves you with 16 inches (or 17 if you’re using a 5-inch wide base). 

So if your space is 24 inches across by 12 inches deep, then you’ll need eight runs of PVC pipe (24/17 = 1.41). 

This means that instead of cutting seven 3-foot pieces out of one piece of 10-foot PVC pipe like I did; I actually needed eight 13-foot sections instead! If this happens to you as well when cutting your pipes, just cut them down later on once all the pieces have been assembled properly onto a stable base.

One of the most versatile materials for building a hydroponic system is PVC pipe. Our guide on how to build a hydroponic garden with PVC pipe covers everything you need to know to create an efficient and durable hydroponic garden with this material.

Add the Cap

Now that your tower is assembled, it’s time to install the cap. To do this, use a drill and bit to make holes in the cap that align with the holes on top of your tower. 

The number of rows will depend on what type of pump you are using; for example, if you are using a 1/4″ inline pump like I did and need 10 gallons per hour (GPH), then you would have 2 rows with 5 holes each (20 total) in order to achieve your goal.

Once all of your holes have been drilled out, place this piece on top of your tower and screw it into place by hand tightening screws through each hole. 

These screws will be removed later when we attach an elbow fitting or other piece to our hydroponic system’s down stem feed as well as when we install our air pump’s air stone into one side of our cap so make sure not tighten them down too tight now! 

Finally take some time here now before moving forward with drilling any more holes into this part since doing so without properly preparing could ruin either product due to its plastic construction being brittle enough already without having stress put upon its integrity during assembly processes…

Glue on the Couplings

You can use PVC glue to secure the couplings to the pipe. Spread a thin layer of glue around each coupling, press it onto one end of the pipe, and then slide it back down until you reach where you started. 

This will help ensure that they remain straight while still allowing room for movement as they expand with water over time.

Hydroponic gardening can be done indoors, allowing you to enjoy fresh and organic produce all year round. Our easy-to-follow guide on building a hydroponic garden indoors teaches you how to set up an indoor hydroponic garden in a few simple steps, without the need for natural sunlight or soil.

Drill Holes in the Tower

First, drill holes in the tower with a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the pipe you plan to use. 

Make sure to drill holes on all sides, as well as at least 1 inch apart from each other (depending on how many plants you’re growing).

Next, slip your pipes into their respective holes and secure them with T-hinges or spring clamps (you’ll have to measure these yourself). You can also use zip ties if you don’t have any of these materials available to you!

Assemble the Pump and Timer

Now you can connect the pump to the water catchment tray. The pump is connected to a timer, so that it is on for a certain amount of time and then off for another length of time. For example: 

The pump may be on from 6 AM to 6 PM. Then, at 6 PM it will shut off until 6 AM. This is how we are going to have our pump operated by our timer!

Now connect the timer to your water catchment tray with an extension cord (this will allow you more freedom in where you choose to place your tower garden). 

Finally, attach another extension cord between the top of your tower garden and bottom portion where all of these components are located (see picture below).

High pH levels can be detrimental to your hydroponic garden, but lowering them doesn’t have to be complex. Our guide on how to bring pH down in hydroponics explains why pH matters in hydroponic systems and offers easy-to-follow techniques on how to lower pH levels safely and efficiently.

Create a Water Catchment Tray

The first step in building your hydroponic tower garden is to create a water catchment tray. This tray will hold all of the water that is used for watering your plants, and it should be at least 1 inch deep so that no water evaporates during the day. 

It should also be at least 4 inches wide and 8 inches long, so that you can use it as a reservoir for collected rainwater or dew from night air.

If you want to use this catchment tray outside, select one made of plastic or metal since they won’t rust over time (if they’re made from iron). If you plan on using this indoor only, then any material will work fine!

Make sure there is a hole in the bottom of your catchment tray so that any excess water can drain away instead of collecting there you don’t want mold growing inside!

Creating a Water Catchment Tray

1Choose a tray that is at least 1 inch deep and can fit beneath your hydroponic tower garden.
2Clean and sanitize the tray thoroughly to prevent any disease or contamination from affecting your plants.
3Using waterproof tape or a sealant, seal the edges of the tray to prevent water from leaking out.
4Add a layer of medium to the bottom of the tray. This will serve as a barrier between the water and the roots of your plants.
5Add water to the tray until it reaches the designated water level line. Check your hydroponic system’s instructions to learn where this line should be.
6Check the water level daily and refill it as necessary to ensure that the water doesn’t run out. This will ensure that your plants receive a consistent supply of water and nutrients.

Create a Grow Medium Tray

Now that you have your tower, it’s time to start planting! To get started, fill the grow tray with potting soil. 

Make sure that it is deep enough to accommodate the roots of your plants and remember that different plants will require different amounts of water and nutrients. 

If you’re growing an herb or leafy green, like basil or lettuce; then use a regular organic potting mix made from peat moss and composted bark mulch. 

A good rule of thumb is to add 1 part perlite or sand for every 2 parts soil mixture used in your final product.

For larger plants such as tomatoes or cucumbers; use an aerated clay aggregate (ACM) which will provide more aeration for larger root systems like these plants need so they can take in more oxygen without having too much moisture around their roots at any given time. You may also want

Root rot is one of the most common problems in hydroponic gardening, but it can be prevented with the right strategies. Our expert advice on how to avoid root rot in hydroponics highlights the causes of root rot in hydroponic systems and provides actionable tips on how to keep your hydroponic garden healthy and disease-free.

Create an Open Grow Medium Tray

Fill your open grow tray with a medium, such as gravel or coconut coir.

Fill the tray with water until it’s about two inches deep and then add nutrients—the exact amount depends on how much you’re using (check your nutrient system’s instructions for the right ratio).

Add seeds to the top of this mixture and cover them lightly with another layer of grow medium or a cloth that allows dirt particles to fall through.

Add Water, Nutrients and Seeds

The first step in building your tower garden is to add water and nutrients. While most plants can get by without additional nutrients, they will grow significantly faster with them. 

If you are growing a variety of plants in your tower garden, it’s best to choose one type of nutrient that all the plants will be able to thrive on.

For example, if you are using tomato seeds, then an all-purpose mix like Fish & Seaweed Hydroponic Nutrient may be appropriate for all the plants in your garden. 

For other types of plants such as lettuce or herbs that don’t need much extra nutrition added, you can use a simpler mix such as Root Stimulator® for Plants which provides just enough fertilizer for optimal growth but not so much that it would cause any damage if used incorrectly.

Water, Nutrients, and Seeds Table

1Add water to your tower garden. Depending on the type of hydroponic system you use, this may involve filling a reservoir or adding water directly to the tower.
2Mix the nutrient solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Nutrient solutions include essential elements like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
3Pour the nutrient solution into the system or tower. You may need to adjust the pH level of the solution to optimize nutrient uptake.
4Add seeds or seedlings to the system or tower. Be sure to follow the planting depth and spacing recommended for the specific plant you are growing.
5Monitor the water level and nutrient levels regularly to ensure optimized plant growth, and adjust as necessary.


You now have the knowledge to make your own hydroponic tower garden! It’s a great way to get your feet wet in this exciting hobby, and it can be modified to suit many needs. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to what kind of plants you want to grow and how much space you have available. 

The best part is that if something goes wrong with one plant or another type of crop dies off because they didn’t get enough light or water, then just switch out those empty pots with new ones and start over again.

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about hydroponic gardening and building hydroponic systems, check out these resources:

DIY Hydroponic Tower Garden Lights Guide: This guide offers a step-by-step process for building a hydroponic tower garden that includes effective lighting techniques.

Building a Vertical Hydroponic Tower: This fact sheet provides a comprehensive overview of how to build a vertical hydroponic tower, including materials, design, setup, and maintenance.

Hydroponic Tower: Benefits, Types, and How to Build Your Own: This ultimate guide to hydroponic towers covers everything from the benefits of hydroponic gardening to the types of towers available and how to build your own competitive system.


What is hydroponic gardening?

Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil, in which the plant roots receive nutrients directly from water solutions.

How does a hydroponic system work?

A hydroponic system works by allowing plants to grow in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution that delivers essential nutrients directly to the roots.

What types of plants are suitable for hydroponic gardening?

Almost any type of plant can be grown hydroponically, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs. However, some plants, such as lettuce and herbs, tend to grow better in hydroponic systems due to their shallow root systems.

What are the advantages of hydroponic gardening?

The advantages of hydroponic gardening include smaller space requirements, faster plant growth, higher yield, reduced water usage, and better nutrient control.

Do hydroponic gardens require a lot of maintenance?

Hydroponic gardens require less maintenance than traditional gardens, but they still require regular monitoring of nutrient levels, pH levels, and water quality to ensure optimal plant growth.