19 DIY Hydroponic Plans You Can Easily Set Up

Do you desire to have fruits, herbs, and vegetables all year round but don’t have space to grow them yourself?

Do you love gardening but don’t like some downsides of it? Or you want less work and some tips for better yield? If yes, hydroponics might be your best bet.

Derived from the two Greek words for water and toil, hydroponics means growing plants in water. With its outstanding advantages, hydroponics has become more and more popular worldwide, especially in Singapore, Australia, and Japan.

We have collected here 19 diy hydroponic plans to help you start your system right!

DIY Hydroponic Plans You Can Easily Set Up

#1 PVC NFT Hydroponics System

If you have limited space and 20 – 40 small plants you wish to grow, this plan is an ideal option. You can build up a closed system with large 4 inch PVC pipes, plastic cups, a reservoir, and a pump.

This system can be placed outside or inside. But if you want it indoors, make sure to have it equipped with grow lights.

Check out this link to learn how to make one yourself step by step.

#2 Bucket Hydroponics

This system is ideal for beginners who want to start small first with a large plant. To keep it simple, you will need to manually water it.

All the materials required to set it up is a 5-gallon bucket, growing media (coco coir or perlite-vermiculite), and nutrient mix.

Visit the link for the detailed tutorial!

#3 Hydroponic Vertical Garden Pipe

This method requires some work so it’d be more suitable for intermediate gardeners who look for large-scale hydroponic farming.

With layers of PVC pipes at different heights, you can grow more plants without much space needed. The materials required are basically PVC pipes, drip irrigation pipes, and a water reservoir.

Check out this video to learn the plan in detail.

#4 The Ebb And Flow Hydroponic System

This is a widely recognized intermediate level hydroponics system thanks to low-cost investment and extremely versatile. Plants will be put in a tray flooded with nutrient water. The water will be drained completely at regular intervals to make sure the system works.

Visit this video for the in-depth working of the system.

#5 Passive Bucket Kratky Method

This easiest and convenient plan is for beginners who want to try their hand at hydroponics.

The biggest upside of this system is that it can work passively itself without the need for electricity. All you need to build one up is a bucket, growing media (perlite and hydroton), nutrients, pH kits, and net pots.

Watch this video for a detailed how-to!

#6 Vertical Window Farm

With this plan, you can solve your lighting problem as well as create a fascinating window display.

You can recycle water bottles as containers and hang them on your window in a vertical rack setup. A reservoir will be used to bring nutrients through a system of pipes/tubes.

For more details, visit this video!

#7 $3 Desktop Hydroponics

Definitely a good start for those who want to give hydroponics a try. With $3 only in total, you will have a small hydroponics system on your desk.

All you need is a container (a coffee cup or a small bucket), growing media, and a small bubbler.

Watch this video to make this cute addition to your desk today!

#8 Mason Jar Hydroponic System

This is similar to the desktop hydroponics above, however, in this version, you will use a mason jar instead without any help from a pump. All you need to prepare is a mason jar and a net cup.

For a more detailed tutorial, check out this video!

#9 Hydroponic Rain Tower Garden

This is another vertical hydroponics system that uses a tower-like structure to hold plants. This is a bit costly (~$500) compared to other plans, however, given its scale and looks, it is totally worth it.

Visit this video to get a step-by-step how-to!

#10 Raft Hydroponic Systems

This system is based on the ancient Aztec growing methods, using large “rafts”, called chinampas, to fertilize living trees. All the materials you need are a water reservoir, pieces of foam, and net cups.

Set up your own raft hydroponic system with this link featuring step by step instructions!

#11 Deep Water Culture Hydroponics

This system is an ideal choice for growing tomatoes and lettuce indoors. It can fit 2 – 8 plants, depending on the size of the box. To set one up, you will need a storage box, net pots, LED grow lights, a bubbler, and some air hoses.

To get a better idea of the system, check out this video!

#12 The Drip Hydroponic System

This drip system works in a similar way to our normal watering method. However, in this system, soil is not needed.

The nutrients will be provided to the top of the grow media using a pump or simply gravity. However, you need to watch the system closely to avoid pump failure and clogged drip lines.

Find the detailed instruction to build this system here and here.

#13 Crystal Magic Hydroponic

This little cutie will light up your working space! Instead of using normal soil, you can grow your plants with crystal soil. With this magic, you can keep your plants alive, even if you don’t water them for weeks!

Check out this video to learn how to use crystal soil for your system!

#14 Hydroponic Wall

This is a large-scale project but imagine how many plants you can fit in! An impressive makeover for your dull wall and a vertical garden where you can harvest herbs and vegetables from, isn’t it convincing enough? The system looks complicated but with step by step instructions, you can easily build one for yourself.

To get that detailed tutorial, check out this link!

#15 Stackable Hydroponics

This is another way to solve your lack of space problem. However, the biggest downside of this system is the irregular flow into the plants at the lower levels.

But if you desire to grow different plants with different water and nutrient requirements, this is still worth experimenting with.

Watch this video if you are interested in giving it a try!

#16 Aquarium Hydroponics

If you have a fish aquarium and want to get your feet wet in the world of hydroponics, this is the coolest way! The project is so easy that you can even let your kids join forces. You can use this system for large lettuce or small beans.

To make it work, you will also need water, nutrients, water, a raft of barge fashioned out of foam. It can run passively or actively, using pumps and electricity.

For the step by step tutorial, check out this link! Or see more our collection of DIY Aquaponic plans!

#17 Zig-Zag Hydroponic System

This is another project using the NFT principle. In this system, the continuously flowing water will be used to grow the plant roots. The long list of materials might scare you off but in fact, all of them are pretty much readily available.

Check out this link for the detailed instruction on how to create this zig-zag hydroponic system.

#18 Vertical Gutter Garden

Depending on what you already have in your storage, this system’s total cost ranges from $90 to $130.

Designed by a team of four First-Year Engineering Science students from the University of Toronto, this plan is a great reference for anyone who wants to build an indoor hydroponic system.

For a deep look at the making process, check out this link!

#19 Dutch Bucket Hydroponic System

If you have limited space but desire to try a hand at hydroponics, this is an ideal start. The easiest plant to grow at first is tomatoes, but don’t worry, you will soon find yourself try out other veggies and fresh herbs as this is a great source of fun!

For the step by step tutorial, watch this video!

Conclusion

Have you found yourself interested in any DIY hydroponic plans above? Does any of them look good in your living room or backyard? Which one seems suitable given your gardening experience?

Hydroponics is the future of urban farming as it helps solve so many head-scratching problems. There are downsides, of course, but currently, the pros outweigh the cons.

With this environment-friendly hydroponics system, you can save up to 90% of water usage. It requires less cost, less labor, no soil needed but provides faster growth and better yield.

We hope you find this roundup helpful to help you get started. However, please keep it in mind that homemade DIY hydroponics is both a science and art.

With the information given so far, you can make your unique hydroponic system using your own creativity and what you’ve already had.

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Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. You can reach her at [email protected]

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. After accomplishing the program of level 1 sub-specialty in Pediatrics, he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for his Master’s degree of Public Health in the University of Edinburgh in 2019

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