If you were wondering how to turn your balcony or a small backyard into a green oasis, look no further: a pallet garden is an ideal solution that gives you the chance to plant a whole bunch of flowers and herbs into a space that’s only several square feet in size. These simple wooden structures are now one of the most popular foundations for building furniture, gardens, and art pieces. In this article, we will go through the process of building a pallet garden step by step.
Step 1: Find a Pallet
These wooden bunks are mostly used for storage, and you can easily find them at your local supermarket or building supply store. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, go to the their garbage disposal area and you’ll definitely find some old pallets lying around.
Step 2: Collect Tools and the Rest of the Materials You’ll Need
For making this unique garden, you will also need several tools:
- Several bags of planting soil
- Several meters of landscape fabric
- A high-quality staple gun
- A few dozen plants
- At least four L brackets
- A drill
- A hammer
- Some plywood or plastic
- A handful of screws and nails.
Step 3: Prepare the Pallet
Before you start building your garden, you should clean the pallet thoroughly and replace all the rusty nails in it with new ones. You can also replace broken or loose boards, and be sure to smooth out all of its rough edges—first with a rasp, and then with sandpaper.
Lay your pallet on the ground and cover it with landscape fabric, ensuring that 4 to 5 inches of extra fabric hang over each side. Staple the fabric to the boards and on the edges of the bunk. Distance between staples shouldn’t be bigger than one inch. Fold the extra fabric along the edges and staple it to the board together with the rest of the fabric. If you have enough fabric, you can do it one more time to create a double layer—this way you’ll be sure that soil isn’t going to fall out. If you want to be completely secure, you should nail the piece of plywood or plastic to the back of the bunk.
Step 4: Add Planting Soil
After you’ve finished with stapling, you should turn your pallet around with the fabric facing down. Pour at least two bags of potting soil into the slots on the pallet, creating small trenches with a spoon or trowel: this is where you’ll plant your herbs and flowers. Work from the top downwards, planting seedlings in the top drawer first. Ground-creeping plants like squash or cucumber should be planted in the bottom trench, while sun-loving herbs and flowers should be planted in the upper rows. Ensure that the plants are squeezed in well to prevent the soil from falling out.
Step 5: Maintenance
After you’ve placed the last plants, you should leave your garden to rest horizontally for at least one week. During this time you should water your plants regularly, since plant roots need time to grow and get hold of the soil inside the garden. If you lean the garden against a wall too early, both the soil and the plants can end up on your balcony floor, or worse—on someone’s head.
Step 6: Attach Your New Garden to the Wall
After a few weeks you can raise the garden upright. It is very important for your garden to stand still, that’s why the best solution is to mount it to the wall with the use of L-shaped brackets. You’ll need one bracket for each corner of the pallet, and you can easily attach them with nails or screws. You can also introduce some other security measures, like covering the pallet with some extra landscape fabric when the wind is too powerful, or during heavy rainfall.
This type of garden is perfect for an urban environment. In addition to creating one for your balcony, it is also a good idea to install a garden like this in your kitchen so you can enjoy the dishes prepared with fresh herbs. Also, sitting on the balcony during summer and just smelling the flowers can be very relaxing. Enjoy your new little garden and happy planting!
Oscar Waterworth is a carpenter from Sydney and a father of two amazing kids. When he was a child, was fascinated with DIY projects and played in his father’s workshop quite a lot. His first “project” was a simple, miniature wooden bench, and those positive experiences from his childhood eventually led me to him pursuing a career in carpentry.