Looking for a DIY Pallet Planter project? I’m always creating compact solutions for my garden. If you have limited time, money, space or skills you may find this easy, low-cost pallet project a simple way to make your garden functional and beautiful.
I love reusing everyday materials to save money and tread lighter on the planet. Wood pallets are a free resource available at many business and industrial sites. I upcycle pallets for all sorts of garden projects, from mini garden storage units to compost bays and planters.
For this year’s Balcony Garden display at the Queensland Garden Expo, I salvaged a couple of timber pallets from a local organic farm and gave them a face lift for new life outdoors. They formed two side ‘walls’ in the display. I plan to now reuse them at home as they are so versatile.
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This pallet planter is easy enough for any of us girls to revamp too.
DIY Pallet Planter Tutorial
What you need:
- Clean Pallet – in new or as good condition as possible (heat-treated rather than chemical) – See tips at the end of the post on 20 Creative Ways to Upcycle Pallets in your Garden for what to look for.
- Sandpaper for any rough edges if needed + a pair of gloves.
- Hammer and a few 2.5cm (1 inch) nails.
- 2-3 extra timber palings from another pallet for shelves (cut to size if needed).
- Drill (optional and easier for pre-drilling holes if you have one but you can use the hammer instead) and a screwdriver.
- Non-toxic paint in your colour choice (preferably enviro-friendly low-VOC). Or timber stain and a medium sized paint brush.
- (Optional) depending on your situation, you may also want 2 steel star pickets or stakes and 4 screws (2 for each side) to support the pallet vertically either end.
- Patience (that’s for the painting part!!) or rope your kids or significant others in to help! It took about 1 hr to paint one coat on both sides for a good finish.
- Glass of bubbles to celebrate your achievement!
Take a good look at your pallet when choosing it. Each one is made differently and some lend themselves to this project more than others. This is what mine looked like on the underside.
On the other side it had vertical palings so looked good as a ‘fence’ or side wall.
5 Step-by-Step Instructions:
- STEP 1: Check the width of your potential ‘planter boxes’ on each tier of the pallet. My pallets were about 100mm (4 in) wide. If you want them wider so you can slot in a rectangular pot rather than making a shelf underneath, then you may need to remove the front timber slat and pack out the timber to make it the width you want. I didn’t need to do this but it’s an option.
- STEP 2: Add a timber paling as a ‘shelf’ for each planter ‘box’ by nailing it to the underside. I just used a hammer and nails for this. Measure the timber so it is the same length as the pallet, but not as wide so there is a gap along the edge for water to drain (see below).
- Nail the slat in place.
- Allow a gap for drainage. You can also drill additional drainage holes in the timber planter box base if you wish.
- STEP 3: Prepare the timber. If there are rough edges you may need to grab the gloves and use sandpaper to smooth these off and prevent splinters. I like a rustic look so don’t mind if the wood isn’t perfect but if you want to, you can fill holes or gaps with a timber putty or filler.
- Next, your pallet is ready for painting or timber stain depending on your personal taste and budget.
- Remember when choosing paint or tint, pale colours reflect light and dark colours absorb it. If you live in a warm climate, painting your pallet black may not be the best choice. Here in the subtropics, I chose cream. It looks classy and was a nice backdrop for the black decorative hooks and butterfly chalkboard I wanted to hang.
- Once the top coat is on, the planter should be looking like this:
- STEP 4: Next up you’re ready for the fun part – adding your pots, plants and decorative items.
- STEP 5: Position your pallet in place. If it needs support in the ground, use the star pickets or stakes. Otherwise, you can add some additional T-pieces of timber as feet supports and perhaps secure to your balcony with zip ties. Or secure to a planter box with more weight at the base. Add your favourite plants and water in.
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Here is the other pallet planter I made for the Expo at the other end of the Balcony Garden display:
Well, I hope you’re inspired to have a go at making your own Pallet Planter using this tutorial.
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.
I just want to say that people should be cautious of where they source their pallets. Some of them come from very nasty places and may be sprayed with insecticides or be contaminated by whatever was shipped on them.
[…] out this article on making a pallet planter – you’ll find more info there. Best of luck with your upcycled […]
Just discovered your site. Thank you for sharing so much great information.
I could spend hours just reading all the fantastic tips and ideas.
You are awesome!
I like it so much .. thanks for your nice sharing
Where did you find the adorable little hooks in the garden motif? I LOVE them!!! Would like to make one of these for my yard. Can’t wait to check out the other ideas…..
Hi Karla – not sure where you are located but I found these gorgeous hooks at my favourite garden centre, Le Jardin. Perhaps try Amazon. I preserve mine for outdoor use with an oil based lubricant so they don’t rust. Hope this helps! Would love to see a pic of your project when done so feel free to email me. 🙂
This looks amazing! I imagine for a balcony you could set it up so the back of the planter has a hanger and can be hung on the balcony walls themselves, though that would require some handiness. Tying the back of the pallet onto a bar type balcony with chain or lots of twine could also work, but it sounds like you don’t have that. Anyways, this project is awesome, I’ve been searching for better uses for pallets besides firewood and a coffee tabletop (with legs and a piece of wood or slab of stone/concrete on top), and this just might do the job. I’ll have to look into it!
What a pretty way to use a pallet! We have a shaded patio under our balcony, and that is exactly where a couple of these will go this summer. I love gardening! We moved to an acreage ten years ago; it was basically a cow pasture, but we rose (pun intended) to the challenge of amending the soil for flower gardening. Thank you for sharing your tutorial!
I will be linking up to your blog.
This was shared on facebook and I liked It so much I just had to copy the instructions down and save them to my computer to use next spring when we move our Mobile Home onto our own lot.
Great to hear Edwina – would love you to share a pic on Facebook when you get your pallet planter made in Spring. The Micro Gardener community page is http://www.facebook.com/TheMicroGardener. Hope to connect with you there! 🙂
This looks terrific! gonna do it
This is a terrific idea and looks great! I’d like to make one for my balcony. Any thoughts on how to keep it from toppling without being able to sink supports into the ground or drill into walls? I have a sunken terrace surrounded by brick walls. Perhaps simply leaning it would work?
I wouldn’t recommend leaning the pallet planter as it’s very heavy and it wouldn’t be safe to leave it unsecured. Even the one I made with pine rather than hardwood had a lot of weight. This kind of planter really needs to be supported with some kind of vertical stakes alongside that go into the ground or brackets that are secured into a solid wall surface or zip ties that hold it in place securely to posts or supports. It would be tragic if it fell and injured someone so you need to consider the safety aspect even though you like the design! Have you checked with your body corporate or landlord? You may be allowed to add brackets for an attractive feature. It’s always worth checking! Or perhaps another vertical structure may work better in your situation. Check out the articles on my site under Vertical Garden category and you may find another design idea to inspire you for your space. A couple of posts you might start with are https://themicrogardener.com/add-space-with-creative-vertical-gardens-part-1/ and https://themicrogardener.com/add-space-creative-vertical-gardens-part-2/. Hope this helps. 🙂