DIY Recycled Pallet Planter

Recycled Pallet Planter skids have become very popular. Gardeners are changing wood pallets into planters for flowers, herbs or trailing flowers. They fit perfectly in most gardens, and they work well in limited space, such as porches and patios.

Well… are you thinking about tackling this project? This project can easily be completed in one weekend. In fact, EcoVision founders and avid gardeners Fritz + Catherine tried their hand at one. Do you want to learn how they did it?

What You’ll Need

Landscape Fabric
Staple Gun or a Hammer + Tacks
Outdoor Paint + Primer
Potting Soil
Favorite Plants or Seeds
Chicken Wire
And don’t forget the Pallet

Our Technique & Tips

First, you’ll need to get your hands on a wooden pallet. They are usually found discarded in recycling next to most commercial businesses. Some companies reuse their pallets. If you are not sure you can take it – go in and ask the business. We found ours in our backyard, leftover from the delivery of our recycled shed. It’s important to remember to choose a pallet that has not been chemically treated. You can tell by an ‘HT’ (heat treated) stamped on the side as opposed to a ‘CT’ (chemically treated) stamped pallet. (‘DB’ means that the wood has been debarked, this has no bearing on the safety of the pallet.) If you can’t find a marking, assume it is chemically treated, and treat it accordingly.

Pallet Prep

Clean the pallet. Give it a good scrubbing with bleach and water, and let it dry completely. If you intend to paint or stain the pallet, make sure to remove all the dirt and grime. Who knows what was originally stored on the pallet? It can be near impossible tell if any chemicals or foreign substance have leaked on to the pallet, so to be safe, scrub it. Next we removed a couple of boards from the pallet’s construction, in order for the plants to have more space to live. The loose boards were then fastened with screws, to secure the construction.

Some pallet boards can be a little tricky to remove. A crowbar or claw hammer has a tendency to split the wood. But since our only intent was to use the removed boards in our outdoor fireplace, that method worked fine for us. We also replaced some of the slats that were rotten and damaged with fresh wood. Then we lightly sanded some of the wood surface to make it splinter free. Then the pallet was primed prior to painting. The pallet was painted teal to coordinate with the two stools residing next to it in the garden. Benjamin Moore Outdoor No VOC was our paint of choice.

Planter Boxes

Next, using your staple gun (or hammer and tacks) attach the chicken wire cut to fit the spaces. Line the chicken wire with landscape fabric to keep the dirt in. Make sure to drape enough fabric down between the front and back of each chicken wire shelf. This will help create a bowl shape for your dirt and plants.

Corners can be tricky. You’ll have to tuck, fold, and add a couple more staples to hold, but don’t worry no one will see it. You can also cover the whole back side of the pallet instead, but we want ours to have the freedom of being seen from both sides. Fill the new planter boxes with potting soil, then plant your chosen plants and seeds. Be careful, there are some health concerns for mixing chemically treated pallets with edible plants. Choose your plants and pallets accordingly – if your pallet is chemically treated, skip the edibles and go for flowers and decorative greens.

Display + Care

Next, using your staple gun (or hammer and tacks) attach the chicken wire cut to fit the spaces. Line the chicken wire with landscape fabric to keep the dirt in. Make sure to drape enough fabric down between the front and back of each chicken wire shelf. This will help create a bowl shape for your dirt and plants.

Corners can be tricky. You’ll have to tuck, fold, and add a couple more staples to hold, but don’t worry no one will see it. You can also cover the whole back side of the pallet instead, but we want ours to have the freedom of being seen from both sides.Fill the new planter boxes with potting soil, then plant your chosen plants and seeds.

Be careful, there are some health concerns for mixing chemically treated pallets with edible plants. Choose your plants and pallets accordingly – if your pallet is chemically treated, skip the edibles and go for flowers and decorative greens.

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Brooke Rogers

Graphic Designer at GreenLeaf Media Group
Brooke Rogers has a background in graphic design and lends her skills and insight to a variety of companies with an emphasis in sustainable practices and alternative eco-conscious services.

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