Wooden shipping pallets are a popular material for diy projects. You can make almost anything with them. Try a lemonade stand, an Adirondack chair, an outdoor table, a compost bin, or a raised garden bed. Recently, my interest fell in building the latter, and I teamed up with Bentley Marlow from the Urban Garden Experiment to show me how.
The Urban Garden Experiment is an organization based in Knoxville, Tennessee (hometown of DIY Network and HGTV) that aims to provide quality, affordable food to the radically poor and homeless. When the organization first started, Marlow prepped an abandoned inner city lot with seeds and plants donated by local gardening centers with the intention of donating its yield to the hungry. The effort became expensive and time consuming, and the lot has since been sold. But that’s when he got the idea to build gardens using upcycled shipping pallets. Pallet gardens are portable, inexpensive, easy to make, and perfect for urban or small space gardening. You can make one yourself by following these basic instructions.
Where do I get wooden pallets?
Shipping pallets are used to support goods during transport and are usually discarded after delivery. You can find shipping pallets at many businesses that receive big shipments, such as hardware stores, garden nurseries, and power equipment stores. Try visiting independent or locally owned businesses that would likely be happy to have you take pallets off of their hands. Some large companies already have contracts in place to remove pallets for a fee. Call ahead and always ask before you take.
Note that pallets used for gardens or indoor projects should always be heat treated as opposed to chemically treated. Look for the HT stamp on the wood before taking your pallets home.
What can I grow in a pallet garden?
Pallet gardens offer a small amount of growing room for flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It’s best to choose plants that do not require a lot of root space to thrive. Marlow chose to plant an herb garden (or what he called a “cook’s garden”) that included basil, parsley, chives, cilantro, and rosemary among other herbs. Marigolds were planted at each corner of the pallet garden as these serve as a natural pest and insect repellent.
How do I make a pallet garden?
There’s another guide right below showing you how to make an herb garden right in your kitchen.
To see more impressive pallet creations check out the Urban Garden Experiment’s sister organization, Knox Pallet House. Farima covered the KPH’s amazing pallet house design with video tour on HGTV’s Design Happens, our sister blog, in collaboration with the Rhythm ‘n’ Blooms festival in Knoxville. And below, find inspiration and instructions for building a lemonade stand from pallets.