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Spring is the perfect time to get your garden on! If you’re looking for a fun, easy project, why not try making your own vertical pallet planter? All you need is some basic carpentry skills and a few tools. It’s a fantastic way to upcycle old pallets and scrap wood.
If you’re like me, you love spending time outside in your garden. But if you don’t have a lot of space, or if the weather is bad, gardening can be a challenge. That’s where vertical gardening comes in! You can create a beautiful and productive garden even if you don’t have a lot of space with a vertical pallet planter. Follow these simple steps to make your own!
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a simple planter that can be customized to fit any space. Let’s get started!
How to make a vertical pallet planter/garden
This project is straightforward and pretty quick to make. It includes one full pallet(and this can be any size depending on your space), 9 pallet planks, and an old decking board, but any other scrap wood would do.
Then you only need some screws, a saw, and a sanding block/RO sander. To finish, I used Aldi garden paint that gives great coverage in 1-2 coats and makes the surface waterproof. It’s very easy to work with, has a low odor, and is water-soluble. What not to like?!
Tools and materials
- A pallet and some scrap/spare pallet planks/decking board
- A circular saw or mini circular saw/hand saw/jigsaw
- Random orbital sander/sanding discs, sanding sponge
- Safety goggles and a dust mask/respirator
- Drill and drill bits
– 4.0x40mm(8 x 1-1/2) Zinc Yellow Passivated Pozi mdf screws for load bearing timber for securing the bottoms of the shelves
– 3.5 x 30mm(6x 1-1/4) Anit Split Fast Drive Pozi Wood Screws for the fronts of the shelves but these regular pozi screws 3.5x30mm(6 x 1 1/4) would do as well
– 3.5x35mm(6x 1-1/2) Zinc Yellow Passivated Pozi for the sides
- 4 right angle brackets with screws for securing the sides of the bottom shelf
- Outdoor paint and foam roller, paintbrush
- Coconut liner
- Soil and plants
Prep the pallet and spare boards
The first step is to prepare the wood and pallet you’re going to work with. This includes removing any nails that are sticking out and washing everything with soapy water or diluted bleach and water solution. Additionally, I added an extra board to fill the gap between planks at the bottom of the planter.
The pallet and spare pallet planks didn’t require much cleaning. However, the decking boards were a bit sandy and accumulated some dirt in the grooves since they’d been sitting in my garden for quite some time. I used a stiff bristle brush and a cloth to remove the debris. I washed the pallet with soapy water, and then I left it all to dry in the sun.
The next step was to cut the pallet boards to the size to be used for the shelves fronts and bottoms( in this case 40in) and the decking board that was going to make the sides( 10in for the bottom shelf and 5in for the rest).
The next step was sanding the pallet and the spare pallet planks with a P-60 grit to eliminate all irregularities, splitters, and “hairy” parts. I didn’t sand the decking boards as there was no need.
I usually use 2 or 3 sandpaper grits for my projects(or even more if necessary), but here i was going to use paint that is great for raw wood, and that would create a waterproof layer. Since it’s a planter, I didn’t need the wood to be super smooth. 2 coats of this paint have made it pretty smooth anyway.
The next step was painting. I used Aldi garden paint in willow green and a high-density foam roller, plus an old paintbrush for all the hard-to-reach places. Make sure you don’t use your best paintbrushes for a project like this. All the rough wood spots in the crevices will destroy them. You can also use a paint sprayer if you have one, as I did for the pallet sofas. Make sure you dilute your paint accordingly.
Assembling the planter
Now was the time to assemble the planter. Make sure you start with the top shelf first. This way, it will be much easier to screw the bottoms of the rest of the shelves without any clamps. I started with the bottom shelf and realized that screwing the bottom of the shelf above it was going to be a bit tricky as there wasn’t enough space to fit the drill comfortably.
There are many ways to do this actually. You can assemble the shelves first and then screw them to the pallet or use hooks to simply hang them. I decided to assemble them one by one.
So the first step is to screw the sides of the first shelf using pocket holes or corner brackets. I’ve used 3.5x35mm(6x 1-1/2) zinc yellow passivated pozi wood screws.
As you can see I already did the bottom shelf here but starting with the top makes more sense.
Then the bottom of a shelf no 1 (2 screws on each side- 4.0x40mm(8 x 1-1/2) Zinc Yellow Passivated Pozi mdf screws), I flipped the pallet upside down to screw for this. Laid it flat again sad then did the front.
I used 4.0x40mm(8 x 1-1/2) Zinc Yellow Passivated Pozi mdf screws for the bottoms and made pilot holes to avoid splitting and then 3.5 x 30mm Anit Split Fast Drive Pozi Wood Screws for fronts that didn’t require pre-drilling.
So you go to the next shelf and repeat the process. Pretty straightforward. If only I didn’t start with the bottom shelf first, lol.
I made the bottom shelf bigger to make the planter more stable and fit my strawberries into the space. I used 4 corner brackets for securing the sides and two pallet planks for the bottom. Then I screwed 2 planks to make the bottom and one to make the front of this shelf.
Prepping the shelves
The next thing is to make sure your shelves can keep the soil in. I used weed control fabric for my first pallet garden. That I later changed to a coconut liner. With this project, I decided to go for the coconut liner from the start as it won’t degenerate as quickly as the fabric.
I’ve bought coconut liner sheets that I’ve cut to fit the shelves. I’ve used a very sharp craft knife to do this. But once you start cutting, it’s pretty easy to rip. Of course, big sharp scissors would work as well.
Adding Soil and plants
Next, I placed the soil into the prepared spaces. Then, since I follow a biodynamic calendar for my garden, I planted and sown my plants accordingly to correct timing starting with strawberries at the bottom, then thyme and oregano. Then, I have sown Italian parsley, cinnamon basil, and cilantro. And I transplanted fuchsia flowers on the top shelf.
So there you have it, your very own vertical planter/garden made from an old pallet. Not only is this a great way to recycle materials, but it also makes for a fun and easy DIY project. I hope you enjoyed following along and that you’re inspired to get creative with your own gardening projects. Got any other tips or tricks up your sleeve? Share them in the comments below!
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