How to Build a Spiral Herb Garden Box From Recycled Material





Introduction: How to Build a Spiral Herb Garden Box From Recycled Material

This is an Instructable for creating awesome gardens from scrappy 'trash'.

The basic idea (for us) behind this instructable was to use what we had to create a unique garden. Our Supplies Consisted of 3 construction pallets, trim nails, staples, and heavy duty construction garbage bags.

The Basic Steps

1. Draw a design that utilizes your potential material
2. Gather the Material
3. Prepare the Material
4. Refigure / Adjust the Design to meet what you have
5. Assemble
6. Test
7. Use

Step 1: 1. Potential Designs

These were some basic sketches of what we were thinking we could make from what we thought we had to work with.

1. The first picture is a basic top view and elevation view sketch

2. The next picture uses a Top view with an Elevation Key to so that we could look at the top down design but also be thinking about when our heights would change. In this sketch there are three different height levels denoted by different lines

Step 2: Gathering Materials

Located Nearby is a construction site that has some waste piles of Shipping pallets - which we decided would be our material.

(You could use many different kinds of lumbers from construction site dumpsters, but because there were so many pallets we knew we could get some consistency with our wood, and so we wouldn't waste a lot of time trying to "find the right parts")

We used three of these pallets, that were almost identical, with the exception of some varying wood thicknesses.

Step 3: Preparing the Material

Because we are using the recycled material - we had to take several steps to prepare it before we could start using it to work with.

1. Take apart the pallets - board by board - without cracking or splitting (as much as possible).

2. Remove any nails

3. Smash any nails that can't be removed (too rusty or whatever)

4. Organize materials by size - so that it is clear how much you have and then you will be able to figure out what else you will need as you fit synchronize your design ideas to the actual possibilities that your materials allow.

Step 4: ReFiguring the Design

Once all our wood was prepared we decided to play with it and see what made the most sense to do - in terms of following our design - with what actual materials we ended up being able to salvage.

Step 5: The Assembly

We decided we liked our basic idea sketch and so we took measurements from our materials and then fit them into the design..

1. Below is the basic Box (that matches the 3' by 3' design, with a 1' high wall for two of the sides. the three corners that meet the 1' high wall we used 1' posts.
                  -The posts came from the frame part of the pallets.
2. In the hidden left corner we increased the height of the corner post 5 inches to match the increased height of the wall.

3. Then after we turned that corner we added an additional post that rises the full height of the box, (with our materials we were able to make roughly 3'). The specific heights do not matter, as long as they are uniform.

                  -Each plank used for the side walls adds a rise of approx 6 inches. Thus the first base walls are two of the planks together equaling 1'. The next dashed lines add one plank on each wall. (in our plans it shows them as the same, but when we built it we decided each of these walls should have a change in elevation - as you can see in the picture. Then the interior wall rises one more plank (an additional six inches) and that is the top height that the rest of the interior walls will be capped at.


{The first drawing shows the basic box where the first 4 posts will go - and where the two base side planks go - which run in between the posts, not under them.

{The Second sketch shows where the wall heights change, and where the posts change as well, denoted again by the different lines. The shortest wall is the simple line, then the dashed line, then the circled line. The actual construction picture shows the stage of the assembly.}

4. This step references the 6th picture in the series. The first interior wall is composed of three planks - rising a full 1.5'

5. The second interior wall was built outside the box (reference picture 7).  Its post were pre-measured to match the others - as you can see from picture 6. Then the wall planks were added to the planks before putting it back inside the box - otherwise it would be very difficult to attached the planks - because the exterior wall would be obstructive.

6. Reference picture 8. you can see all the planks added to the low side of the 2nd interior wall - You will wonder what length the planks are. Truth is - we didn't measure an exact. we just put the first part of the wall were we liked it and then cut boards to match - we thought it would give it a more natural look/feel.

7. Then we inserted the interior wall as pictures 8, 9, and 10 reference.

8. We added a liner (of construction trash bags) to prevent seeping of water and soil from any of the numerous cracks that came with our reclaimed wood. Reference picture 12.

9. The 11th image shows the completed box structure - with all interior walls added. (note we did not do a bottom so that you would not have to shovel the dirt out - this works if the box is to be used outside, if you want to use it inside however, you will need a bottom). Also we added additional cuttings to stylize parts of the box (where posts were not cut perfectly).

Step 6: Test

Then after choosing a suitable location - we tested to see that the box would hold the proper amount of soil for planting.

Step 7: Now USE IT!

If it holds and you like the way it looks, the next step is to put down the shovel and plant away.



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    3 Discussions

    Great job. Two things, though:

    First, using rocks instead of boards will extend the growing season in temperate climates. The sun heats the rocks by day and the rocks store the heat and release it at night. Also, rock dust adds nutrients.

    Second, in permaculture (where this is a staple), a spiral herb garden is normally in zone 1, right outside the kitchen door, as few steps as possible to where the herbs will be used.