It seems like there are a million creative ideas for making things out of pallets these days, so naturally I sought out one specifically for the garden. This planter has a rustic look that is enhanced by greenery cascading down it, and it creates a ton of room for planting—perfect for those without much outdoor space.
This project comes from Chris Peterson’s book Building with Secondhand Stuff: How to Reclaim, Re-use & Upcycle Salvaged & Leftover Materials, which is chock-full of inspired ideas for giving new life to old things that you already have lying around or have salvaged. If you like this pallet planter, you’ll love the rest of the projects in the book!
Note: before you get started using a pallet for any project, be sure that the wood you are using is safe. This article tells you which wood is safe and teaches you how to read the pallet stamp.
How to Create a Pallet Planter
By Chris Peterson
- Clean the pallet and remove or pound down any protruding nails. Leave the two end boards and one middle board. Remove boards with a claw hammer or pry bar, or use a long-handled pallet buster. If you’re mounting the planter on a fence or wall, mount it now. Be sure the fasteners are strong enough to support the added weight of moist soil and plants. If you want to paint the pallet, do so after it is mounted.
- Measure and cut a sheet of thick landscape fabric about 1’ longer than the width of the pallet and three times as wide as the cavities between the boards. Fold the edges in and the front and back over, and staple them to create a pocket as deep as the width of one individual pallet board.
- Slide the fabric pocket behind one front board of the pallet so that it sits securely in the cavity. Make any necessary adjustments. Staple the landscape fabric pocket in place. Repeat with the remaining board cavities. Fill the pockets with potting soil and plant your preferred plants. Water thoroughly. For even more visual interest and to remember which plants were put where, you can staple a plant identifier tag, seed packet, or screw on a label holder in front of the plants. You can even draw directly on the board with chalk or colored pencil.
Reprinted with permission from Building with Secondhand Stuff: How to Reclaim, Re-use & Upcycle Salvaged & Leftover Materials by Chris Peterson © 2011. Published by Voyageur Press. Photography courtesy of Voyageur Press.
About the Author
Chris Peterson is a professional writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. An expert in home design, repair and renovation and an avid cook, he’s the author of When Duct Tape Just Isn’t Enough: Quick Fixes for Everyday Disasters, A Man’s Whirled: Every Guy’s Guide to Cooking with the Blender, and several other books.
I love making stuff out of pallets. I can find a use for anything that others throw away. I have pallet furniture in my garden
I’ve seen so many pretty planting projects (yours above), but I’ve also seen warnings that pallets are toxic. I don’t know. Do you think that is a concern?
Hi Jill, great question! The book covers this topic but from what I understand, you need to use untreated wood for all pallet projects, garden or otherwise. Apparently, Canadian wood is the safest, but you can look for Heat Treated lumber as opposed to chemically treated by reading the stamps https://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/how-to-tell-if-your-pallet-is-safe-to-reuse-pallet-safety-info.html
Pressure treated wood contains poison.
Great! I also have some projects with nail gun.
I just looked this idea and tried it. I think I did something wrong……..we had a rain storm and my pockets, soil & plants all fell threw the bottom of each one. I didn’t have a clue what I did wrong. I used the weed block/liner to make the pockets,did anyone else have this issue?