DIY Pallet Planter
by Emily Stricklin on Jun 27, 2022
#1) Find Free Pallets:
Did you know that you can usually get pallets for free in multiple places? Here are a few places I recommend, first your local “Mom & Pop” size hardware or feed shops. They normally have a large pile out in the back and if you ask them for a few, they typically say “yeah go ahead or knock yourself out!” Another place you can go is to Craigslist, in the “free section” you will always find businesses and residential addresses where they are giving away free pallets. Because what you don’t want to do is go to large businesses like Walmart, Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply, Menards or Home Depot and take the ones from the back of their store. They have cameras up and they will report you for stealing private property. So, when in doubt, always ask!
#2) Tools & Safety Equipment needed:
For this project, you will need a few tools and some safety equipment to prevent injury. Here are the tools you will need to get started: A saw of some kind, it does not need to be motorized but it will save you a Ton of Time if you don’t have to manually hack saw these pallets apart. Also, I recommend a hammer and crowbar for prying boards apart and removing nails. You will need a drill with a set of bits, a shovel and also a tape measure. For safety, you should have some gloves to protect from splinters, eye protection to keep the sawdust out of your eyeballs. And perhaps long sleeves if you don’t want sawdust on your arms. Also, you may want to wear a bandana or face mask to keep sawdust out of your nose and mouth.
#3) Break down Pallet:
Once you have all of your materials gathered, it is DEMO time! HAHA this is the fun part where you get to start breaking the pallets down into useable sections. But before you start cutting them, use your tape measure to mark your cuts. You can pick any size you want with these planters. But square or rectangular shapes are the easiest formats. Make sure to measure twice and cut once, then repeat until you have all the sides you will need to complete your square or rectangular planter box.
#4) Build Planter:
Next, take your 4 pre-cut sides and begin placing them together. You may want to use clamps to temporarily hold them together but this is not required or necessary. Use your drill with (wood screws) to attach them to each other in the shape you have selected. If your pallet has wide gaps, use some of the scrap wood leftovers from cutting to fill the gaps. Repeat until you have 4 sides and a base all attached to each other and then your planter box is complete! It is recommended to place dividers inside your box if you plan to plant multiple items in it, but it is not required.
#5) Line interior with Landscaping Fabric:
Hopefully, you read ahead and got some landscaping fabric while you were at the hardware store. You will want to now line the interior of the planter box with this material. This will help keep everything intact and inside your box. You can glue or staple it in place with a staple gun if you want but this is also not necessary.
#6) Fill with Fresh Compost & Soil:
Next, it is time to fill your planter box with soil and compost. You will want to do a mixture of the two. This will all depend upon what you are planting. For plants, it is recommended to use 4 parts soil to 1 part compost. For veggies, it is recommended to use a layering system. This means you will put a layer of soil, followed by a layer of compost and repeat all the way to the top. All trees and shrubs only require 10% compost or a 9 to 1 ratio of soil to compost to grow successfully. So be sure to look up the best ratio for what you plan to plant and mix or layer it accordingly in your box. Then use your shovel to fill it up. You can get pre-made compost at the store or use your own that you make from kitchen scraps. I wrote a blog for our Spring 2022 Edition Catalog on how to start your own Compost, called “Composting 101” you can read it on our website.
#7) Start Planting:
Now it is time to dig in and get your hands dirty if they are not already Haha. Plant your seeds, flowers, veggies or plants inside your new planter box. If you decide to plant multiple items in the same box, be sure that you separate them with appropriate space for growth without the interference of each other. This is only if you did not insert dividers during the build process.
#8) Water in & Let Set:
After you have everything planted and buried in, go grab your water hose or watering pot and soak it in the soil. Be sure to give them all a good soaking to allow everything to properly set in. Just don’t flood your box, you don’t want the water running over the edge like a waterfall. LOL
#9) Label & Paint (Optional):
If you like, you can also label your new seeds with garden stakes. This comes in handy if you built multiple boxes and planted multiple items in each. That way you don’t forget what is where? Note: some items may need a small stick or trellis once they start growing like tomatoes, strawberries, etc. And if you want to paint your planter box, feel free to do so. Me personally, I like the natural raw wood look. It gives a Nice Rustic finish. But painted boxes would also be nice and might help bring a pop of color to your yard, garden or porch.
#10) Water & Weed Maintenance:
After that, all that is left is maintenance. You will want to water your seeds, flowers or plants regularly. It is recommended to do so in the evenings. This prevents them from getting sunburnt if you water them during the day. Water acts like a magnifying glass in the sun and it will literally burn your plants. Also, make sure they are in a location where they get ample sunlight, you don’t want them stuck in the shade all day or they will not grow properly. And be sure to pluck out any weeds as they try to grow in and suffocate your harvest. Pesticide is also optional to keep the bugs from eating your veggies. But there are also natural remedies that don’t involve chemicals and are much healthier for you. If you have a garden and some chickens I recommend you combine the two! Chickens eat the bugs and provide natural fertilizer when they soil the ground.
This is an easy project for anyone to do on the weekend. Then you can grow your own veggies or fruit from home if you choose. Or surround yourself with beautiful flowers and plant arrangements. And there is nothing more rewarding than eating what you produce. So, get to work and enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come!