When upcycled materials like pallet wood meet your garden, then there’s room for plants to grow in your smaller home! With a DIY vertical pallet garden, you can harvest flowers, fresh herbs or leafy greens without taking up much space. Here’s why you should consider having this at home and how you can start building one.
Why Build a Vertical Pallet Garden
A vertical garden or green wall is a type of gardening that makes use of horizontal planes, fences or walls. It comes in various sizes and garden designs. But my favourite would have to be garden projects that repurpose waste materials like old ladders, plastic bottles or scrap wood. A vertical pallet garden is a good example. It’s easy to make and has several benefits:
- Inexpensive. Pallet wood can be acquired for free, which is great if you’re on a tight budget. And even if you have to purchase it, it is readily available at an affordable price.
- Versatile. Garden enthusiasts can set it up in small spaces, on patios or decks or in apartments with a tiny balcony or front yard. Herbs, succulents and some vegetables can easily thrive in a pallet garden, too.
- Space-efficient. A vertical garden is a tiered timber planter with several pallet compartments to house many plants and increase your harvest yield.
- Low maintenance. With everything planted in one small garden space, watering or pruning is a breeze. You can also fill it with hardy plants to make maintenance easier.
- Eco-friendly. Repurposing wood pallets helps in reducing landfill waste. A vertical garden with flowers can attract pollinators, too.
- Decorative. Who needs paint when you can cover up damaged walls with a beautiful vertical garden?
Easy Steps to Build a Vertical Pallet Garden
Constructing your vertical pallet garden is relatively easy. However, depending on the state of your pallet wood, you may need to use sandpaper for removing splinters and a hammer for fixing any stray nails. Make sure to have protective gloves on while working. For this DIY garden project, you will need landscape fabric or weed cloth, drill and staple gun. If you’re not propping your garden against the wall, then have mounting brackets or weather-resistant screws ready, too.
1. Get a good-quality pallet
If possible, acquire heat-treated or kiln-dried pallets from a fruit stand, recycling centre or local hardware. These have HT marked on the pallet board and are unlikely to have harmful chemicals, making them safer for growing edible plants. Also, used pallets come in various shapes and sizes, so choose one that will need less work.
2. Prep your pallet wall planter
Reconfigure your preferred pallet layout based on the plants you want to grow. For instance, have small plants on the lowest layer while tall plants can be on top. Use a pry bar to remove excess pallet boards. You might need to drill holes, too, for additional drainage. Next, inspect it for chipped wood and hammer down or remove all stray nails. Then, smoothen the surface and rough edges with sandpaper.
3. Design your pallet planter
You can use a suitable wood paint to colour your timber planter or leave it as is for a rustic look. But, since you’ll be using for growing plants, I recommend making it waterproof using water-resistant timber stain. Also, if your garden space allows it, you can join two pallets together with door hinges to make them foldable. It will strengthen your vertical garden and increase its grow space, too.
4. Create your planting pockets
Next, measure your pallet compartments to apply the pocket tray method. Use a utility knife or scissors to trim your landscape fabric to size. Then use shade cloth clips to clamp the weed matting or mesh to the wood. Some use a staple gun instead. Just make sure that there are no gaps to prevent your potting compost from spilling out. Once the pockets are ready, cover the bottom and sides of your pallet with more landscaping fabric. You may also use plastic sheeting as an additional layer to protect your wall from moisture.
5. Position or mount your pallet wall planter
Prop your finished pallet planter against the wall or use the proper equipment if you want to mount it. When you do this, choose a spot where your plants can get sufficient sunlight (or shade).
6. Fill each compartment with potting mix
It’s time for the best part of your garden project: putting your plants in place! Start by filling each plant pocket halfway with high-quality potting soil. Do not use regular garden soil as it doesn’t drain well and can be too heavy. Tuck your plants in, with their roots secured in the surrounding soil. Fill each compartment with more soil if necessary, then water your plants.
Observe your vertical planter for the coming weeks as you might need to put additional soil. Your plants are above ground and tend to dry out fast, so make sure to water them regularly. Just keep the amount of water at a minimum so the soil won’t spill out. Also, prune your plants as needed.
Vertical Pallet Garden Ideas
There are so many annual and seasonal plants that can grow in your vertical garden. Here’s a list to spark your creativity:
- Pallet herb garden. This idea is perfect right beside your kitchen. You can plant your herbs directly in the pallet compartments or use the board for holding your potted plants. You can even add extra touches like attaching chalkboards to label your pallet herb garden. Try growing parsley, mint, basil and oregano.
- Homegrown microgreens. With a garden wall, you can harvest these tiny and delicious plants without bending down! Some easy-to-grow microgreens include kohlrabi, red amaranth, tatsoi and cabbage.
- Fresh salad greens. Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce and Swiss chard grow best in vertical gardens as they stay protected from leaf decay, pest attack and weeds.
- Succulent haven. For those interested in growing indoor plants, fill your timber pallet with drought-tolerant succulents. Plant different varieties to add character to your living wall.
- Flower garden. Add flowering plants to your vertical garden that don’t have deep root systems. Orchids, hoya, begonias and bromeliads are excellent ideas. You can also grow edible flowers like pansies and calendula if you like.