Inspiring Pallet Gardening Ideas
Recently I upcycled a pallet and large square wooden crate lying around a local landscaping yard into a mini garden shed for $7. I was so pleased with the result it made me consider other ways to reuse materials for my garden needs. With more of us conscious of repurposing rather than impacting on landfill with unnecessary waste, I thought I’d share these DIY creative ideas to upcycle free wood pallets. You may be amazed at the possibilities!
“Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling
I’m sure this pallet planter project could become addictive!
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Learn how to make your own edible and flower pallet garden in this tutorial video:
Pallets can be used as they are, given a coat of paint and hung on a wall as shelving or dismantled and the timber used for another project. Check out these inspiring ideas:
Here’s another solution using pallets for raising seeds:
If you’re feeling inspired, I’ve listed some projects with tutorials you can get stuck into. Enjoy!
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DIY Pallet Projects
Try making this simple vertical pallet garden with pots.
Or visit eHow for instructions on How to Build a Compost Bin Using Pallets.
Here is a video tutorial on building compost bins:
- How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden – Tutorial from Life on the Balcony. (Please read my Tips below on this project)
Here’s another option:
- A super simple bench!
- DIY Planter with Succulents – these hardy plants suit these next two projects.
- Make a Succulent Pallet Table – This tutorial from Far Out Flora is no longer available but may inspire you to create something similar.
- DIY Bird Houses (Make for yourself or sell for an income)
I hope these projects have inspired you with a few ideas on ways to repurpose pallets at your place!
Tips for Upcycling Pallets in Your Garden
- SAFETY FIRST! If you intend growing edibles in your pallet garden, do your due diligence first. You can use pallets as support structures rather than planting directly into them. No VOC or eco-friendly preserving treatments may also be an option. Remember to use PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves and a mask when handling or cutting timber.
- Heat treated (HT) marked hardwood pallets are safer to use rather than those that have been fumigated and marked chemically treated (CT) or pressure treated. See a HT stamp here. For US, Canada and Europe, see How to Tell if a Pallet is Safe for Reuse. There’s also a handy infographic and more tips and images on pallet safety with US, Europe and International marking via DIY Ready.
Via Lovely Greens
- For Australians, check out the Recycling Wood Pallets & Packaging. It contains many tips for uses, imported and local pallet chemical treatments and where to locate wood recycling businesses.
- Check what they’ve been used for to avoid chemical contamination. It’s wise to Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food especially with any material with a past life! Pallet timber varies widely – from new to old, pine to hardwood and how it has been used and treated. Timber is porous and can form a breeding ground for bacteria and moulds, especially when wet or in humid conditions. Many have been treated with chemicals to prevent insects and fungal attacks on the wood especially if they have been imported. Others are used by businesses to store chemicals or toxic industrial waste. So please consider the Precautionary Principle and err on the side of caution.
- Avoid wood dust and composite wood block pallets that contain formaldehyde – both are known carcinogens.
- There are some useful tips on identifying treated wood and which to choose/steer clear of in the following articles: ‘How to Tell if Wood Pallets are Safe for Crafting‘; ‘All You Ever Wanted to know about Pallet Wood‘; The Scoop on Safe Shipping Pallets and ‘How to Determine if a Wood Pallet is Safe for Use‘.
- To help you make an informed decision about using timber in DIY projects your garden, also consider learning more about Pressure Treated Wood – Its Uses, Limitations & Safety Considerations and Using Pressure Treated Wood for Raised Garden Frames – Is it safe for growing food?
- Watering vertical pallet gardens will be an issue you need to plan for – as in any container, plants require sufficient moisture, light and nutrients to do well. If you want to avoid spending too much time hand watering, consider installing a drip irrigation system before adding your plants. The bottom two rows will be the driest so consider succulents or plants with low water requirements.
- For vertical pallet gardens, add a quality potting mix rich in nutrients and moisture holding capacity.
- Depending on what you want to plant into pallet gardens, you may find it tidier to staple a second layer of landscape fabric to the front facing side of the pallet (underneath the timber slats) to hold the soil in and prevent mess when watering.
- Intensive planting does require higher maintenance for your garden to stay healthy – consider the time you have to care for it before embarking on your project.
- Renters and balcony gardeners should check the body corporate regulations as to what is allowed first! Remember to consider the additional weight of a vertical pallet planter too.
- Be courteous! If you are salvaging pallets from a commercial location remember to ask first – many businesses are happy for you to remove them but some pay a deposit and have to return the pallets to get a refund.
- Use a pallet to keep your container gardens up off the ground.
- Screw 4 strong castors to the bottom corners of a pallet and you have an instant portable garden – an easy solution for moving plants around into/out of the sun.
- For tips on building with pallets and where to source them read How to Build with Recycled Pallets.
- If you are going to dismantle a pallet for your project, here are some handy instructions or watch this video on How to Dismantle Pallets Successfully:
So what are your thoughts on upcycling pallets? Which idea are you inspired to get started on?
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