Wooden pallets are one the most common disposable wooden items in the world. Used to carry loads by forklifts, their lifetime is quite short. Every year, tons of them end up in landfills. That is a shame - since they can be repurposed in so many imaginative ways.
And good news for gardeners is that their shape and structure makes them useful and refreshing addition in your garden. Pallets can be repurposed for creating all kinds of garden add-ons.
How have these bulky warehouse items become a perfect addition to almost any garden?
Using old pallets in your garden has several advantages:
Palettes are very versatile and can have a lot of roles in your garden; you can create almost anything: raised beds, shelves, trellises, or garden furniture.
You get a lot of material to work with for a bargain price.
You are upcycling disposed items, decreasing the amount of garbage in landfills and bettering your environmental footprint.
Their natural, raw, rustic look can bring a real refreshment to a garden.
Gardening With Pallets
Here are some ideas on how to use pallets for growing your precious plants and create unique plant setups!
Pallet raised beds
Pallets can be excellent skeletons for your raised beds or planter boxes. Since pallets are very versatile, you can fit them into almost any raised bed design - high or low, plain or painted, utility or decorative.
Many people choose to line their boxes and beds with durable plastic liners (e.g., a pool liner), with a tube for drainage. This especially goes if you’re planning to grow delicate plants or food crops.
The liner will prevent the wood from rotting, and also keep moisture in the ground. Besides that, it makes a barrier between roots and hazardous chemicals, if they have happened to come in contact with pallets.
When buying pallets, try to discover where they have been produced, and if they have been in contact with any kind of toxic chemicals. If you are unsure - do line your beds.
If you want upcycled wooden plant boxes, of course, it is easiest to find a bunch of whole wooden boxes. However, that may not be easy or cheap in all areas - especially if you need a lot of boxes.
That is why you can make them from - you’ve guessed it - pallet boards!
These boxes are nicely stacked in a slanted rack, which makes the construction ideal for shows and marketplaces.
Pallet Platforms for Potted Plants
In this upcycled garden which thoughtfully revives a gray concrete space, notice the use of pallets in the lower right corner. They are utilized as platforms to keep the potted plants off the ground.
Besides being neater than pots simply laid on the ground (and some rustic chic) raising your plants like this has another advantage - better drainage and air circulation, which decreases the chance of proliferation of pathogenic molds and fungi. Also, plants are easier to group.
Mobile Pallet Flower Shelf
One of the drawbacks of pallet accessories and furniture is that they can be quite bulky; once you have the setup in place, it can be quite difficult to move it around.
However, designs featuring wheels tackle that challenge.
This moveable white flower shelf looks lovely with two colorful flower beds (potted plants would be equally nice). Plus, you can move it around with relative ease thanks to the addition of wheels. This is a practical option if you have a need to change your garden or porch setup often, whether it’s because of the social events, sun exposure or simply for the love of change.
Pallet Row Divider
I don’t know about you, but I kinda hate planting and controlling rows. Perhaps it’s due to my free-spirited nature, but I just have a hard time keeping everything in line as plants grow and try to find their way around freely and spontaneously.
A pallet layed on the ground prior to planting might be an answer to such issues. The boards will keep the cultivated plants from spreading to the sides, and most weeds in between will be stunned by the lack of sun and won’t grow vigorous - or at all. That’s the way you can have perfect rows with almost no effort.
Painting the pallet to match (or contrast) the color of the flowers will give a lovely visual effect.
Rustic Pallet Flowerpots Plus Pot Shelf
This design is really something special. It utilizes pallets both as flower beds/pots (yellow, blue) and a holder for the pots (white). For the holder shelf, the pallets are used whole and stacked. In the case of the flower pots, they are made from the pallet boards to fit the openings on the shelf.
The design is visually really unique - pots are like little drawers with vegetation growing out of them. It might be a little unpractical when it comes to the use of space, but remember that the upper surface of pallet “shelf” can be used in various ways if it is not too high.
Pallet Garden Toolbox or Crate
Like with planting boxes, making toolboxes are fairly simple to make, and many instructions can be found online.
A solid toolbox can have more than one purpose - besides keeping your gardening tools all it one place, it can serve as a seat to rest your legs when taking a break from working.
General Purpose Support
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In the garden - especially if you have a large one - you never know when you’ll require additional structural support. Stacked pallets can serve as temporary tables, seats, shelves or platforms to keep your precious produce off the ground.
That is why, if you have the space to accommodate them, you should always have a few multi-purpose pallets around, just in case.
Vertical Gardening with Pallets
Because of the simple fact that they need to defy gravity, vertical gardens are known to be demanding when it comes to construction material.
Luckily, pallets can create a perfect basis for several types of vertical gardens, whether they serve as pot holders, or as a trellis for creeping vines coming from below.
Let's check out some vertical garden pallet designs.
Colorful Vertical Pallet Garden
If you are put off by the simplicity and often dull colors of pallets, the solution is easy - paint them in bright colors and then use them as supporting frame for your plants. As you can see, the soilless growth medium is tucked in beneath the pallet.
This idea is especially interesting if you’ll be growing plants that are not very attractive or lush by nature (e.g., lettuce or some herbs), if you’re creating a vertical school garden intended to entertain kids, or if you live in the far north where colors are always welcome to brighten those cloudy days.
Vivid Vertical Planting Boxes / Flowerpots
As I have already shown you, you can use pallet boards to create plantable wooden boxes.
This example is special since these planting boxes are stacked up vertically - attached to a wall, and vividly painted. It is a nice example of how you can make non-flowering plant arrangement really stand out.
The Simplest Pallet Shelf
This pallet shelf concept is about as simple as it gets - but still, could be insanely practical if you want to hang your plants on a wall.
Basically, it consists of a pallet (here painted white) that is hung on the wall, with boards being horizontal. Pots are then attached to the pallet via wire flower pot hangers.
Vertical Lean On Planting Boxes
These pallets are only slightly modified to accommodate growing veggies. There is no need to hang them and screw them in anywhere - they are simply leaned onto a fence. This way you get vertical growing space with very little effort.
Pallets can provide excellent support for smaller vines and creepers, such as Morning glory, peas, or beans. With pallets, there is no need to get tangled up in ropes and wires commonly used as a garden trellis. Just secure your pallet in place in the middle of a grow bed, or lean it onto a wall. Your creepers will find their way upwards and thrive.
Garden Furniture from Pallets
Wooden pallets are suitable for making some original, upcycled garden furniture. Chairs, sofas, tables - with a bit of pre-meditation and modification, they could be an awesome addition to your garden.
When picking pallets for furniture projects, make sure they are resilient and in fairly good shape so they can endure the pressure of, for example, sitting down on them.
DIY Pallet Couch for a Night Garden
These cozy sofas for two were made by only slightly modifying pallets, with the addition of multi-colored pillows. They are considerately placed on the pavement next to the night lights on the edge of the lawn, thereby making a great asset if you love to have summer night hangouts with friends and family.
The low cost of palettes makes this design a suitable candidate even if you’re hosting a one-time event in your yard and need additional seats for your guests. It’s more original and environmentally-friendly than buying a bunch of plastic chairs, and pretty pillows are certainly a keeper.
Simple Comfy Pallet Seating or Pet Bed
Here’s an idea offers a lot of comfort with a little effort. As you can see, the construction basically consists of two refurbished pallets, with a comfortable matching pillow on the top.
Besides serving as an unpretentious resting place for humans, the size and the height of this piece makes it a perfect doggie bed. Many dogs like to have a little perch - especially if they spend most of their time in their yard - so they can watch over their territory clearly.
Simple Pallet Herb Garden Sofa
Unlike previous small couch design which requires some carpentry work to get the backrests under an angle, this DIY garden sofa consists of pallets that are stacked and connected all under 90-degree angles, which makes constructing it simple. Comfortable, colorful pillows ensure coziness and aesthetic enhancement of the wooden base.
In order to avoid the crude outlines of the sofa dominating a small garden or a green porch, the sofa can be put against the wall and the corner, plus surrounded with tall potted herbs and some vines. Such a setup enables a cozy, intimate feel both when sitting on the sofa and when viewing the garden from the outside. And of course, there is the scent of the herbs.
Colorful Table And Bench From Pallets
If you’ve planned on making simple garden furniture, but the pallets that are not in perfect shape, you can always refresh their looks with some bold colors!
The vividly-orange table and bench are perfect examples. The bold orange and yellow create a fantastic contrast against green lawn grass. As you can see, the blueprint for making these two pieces is fairly simple. The only relatively advanced features are the upcycled wheels on both items - which is quite an useful upgrade considering that palette furniture can be quite bulky. The wheels make them easy to move around your patio when you desire a change of scenery.
If you’re a confident maker and have enough space in your yard, here’s one wild, challenging idea.
The swing seats are made from pallets, painted red, and hung with chains on a sturdy metal construction - which is sort of contrasting, but safety comes first! The swing’s size and number, coupled with the fact that they are all facing each other, make a promise of a lot of family fun.
If you are limited with space, or simply don’t need that many swings, you can opt for some of the simpler pallet swing projects out there.
Wooden alcove from palettes
This wonderful alcove was entirely created from light-colored palettes. The fact that it is not all perfectly in-line gives the construction a playful note and possibly hides imperfections of repurposed materials such as palettes. It is neatly lined with flowers and a beautiful young little treeline which will surely provide shade, much-needed during the summer months in the garden - a much prettier natural setup than any that includes parasols.
An alcove like this will create a perfect spot for summer hangouts. It’s like your own private garden bar.
Other Cool Pallet Garden Ideas
As pallets are really versatile both when used whole or as a source for wooden boards, there is a variety of other things you can create to enhance your garden.
Decorative Plantable Fence Made From Pallets
With their height, pallets provide ideal material for making a fence. However, if you decide to use them whole rather than take them apart, the depth they possess can let you create not just a regular one, but a “3D” fence with space to plant something within the fence itself!
This wonderful example keeps the raw charm of unpainted, unmodified pallets, but combines them with some decorative LED lighting. The empty space on the top is utilized in the form of small plant beds. Planting lower-growing plants whose flowers open up at night (tropical white morning glory, pink ladies) would complement this concept perfectly - plus would attract beautiful moths such as the hummingbird hawk-moths.
Pallet Compost Bin
Composting should be a must for any garden, organic or not. We all have an endless supply of excess organic matter around the house. Instead of loading it onto trucks to rot in a landfill, why not use them to create a perfect fertilizer for your garden?
For composting, you will need a compost bin, and while you can buy many pre-made ones, you can easily construct one out of pallets, or pallet boards. This will save you some money and is in tune with the general composting philosophy that nothing should be wasted.
Pallet Bug Hotel
“Bug Hotels” are basically invertebrate shelters, created by filling up wooden structures with suitable materials such as straw, broken ceramic pots, and bamboo sticks. One of the coolest things about them is that they will mostly attract insects that are beneficial for your garden - solitary bees, spiders, ladybugs and other predatory beetles.
Pallets make a perfect base for building an invertebrate shelter. Our example shows simply stacked pallets filled with suitable add-ons inside. The very size of this construction makes it a five-star bug hotel - with a lot of room for every insect to find a suitable niche without competing.
If you don’t have space for a full-frame bug hotel like this one, you can create a smaller version also by using pallet boards.
Wooden Pallet Walkway
Wooden walkways are a beautiful addition to any garden - their natural texture helps them fit any garden style.
Instead of using freshly chopped down living trees, did you know you can use pallet boards to create a beautiful, rustic walkway?
When building a pallet walkway, make sure to use only the boards that are thick and resilient enough to endure walking - especially if you’re planning it to be slightly off the ground, like my example here.
Pallet Decorative Wood Wall
If you’re into rustic chic, an old-timey wood wall could have a decorative plus practical role in your garden. You could attach one onto can a concrete/brick masonry wall, e.g., the one belonging to your garden shed - especially if it’s unsightly.
Besides giving a warm visual appeal, a wood wall can be practical for hanging things you need in your garden (tools), or things you like (decoration). Quick hammer-and-nails action is all you need to get your items on a wooden wall - much easier than drilling into concrete!
Red White and Blue Sandbox for Kids
Cute little sandbox is a garden upgrade your kids will surely be grateful for. What’s special about this design is the wooden “flag” wall diving the sandpit in two parts. The vertical surface offers numerous advantages for the kids - for example, giving them another surface for play in a limited space, or enabling them to separate when they don’t feel like cooperating.
As for garden design concerns, the pallet flag is an original detail that will give a special charm to your yard - and is especially useful if you don’t have colorful flowers around (though it can complement them just fine in the case you do).
This example uses thicker upcycled boards than those you can obtain from pallets for the sandbox itself, but with a little extra effort, you can create an entire sandbox out of pallet material.
As you can see, pallets can have numerous uses in any garden. They provide both structure and material for you to create versatile, innovative accessories for your garden.
I hope you have enjoyed our list of pallet garden ideas. Have you tried any? What is your experience with using pallets in the garden? Post a comment - we would love to hear from you.
Also, feel free to share this article and spread the word about how using old pallets is useful for both your garden, and our planet.