Pallet Veggie Garden Planter




During the year I get 'donated' a number of wooden pallets from friends and family so that I can break  them down and use them for kindling in my open fire and Rayburn oven. Last year I ended up with quite a lot of these, I very quickly filled up my log store and had a lot of them left over. I had seen these very nice waist high vegetable planters in local garden centres and thought they would be great but couldn't really justify the cost so with a surplus of pallet wood I decided to 'have a go'.

I must add, I'm not a professional, I can handle tools and am not averse to some DIY so there are probably better ways of doing this but I will try to write up how I did it. Also, as this was done last spring I don't have any photos during the construction stage I'm afraid. I tend to keep leftover bits and pieces from other projects so this worked out to be a cheap project compared to the £90 for a small planter at the local garden centre.

Materials I used:

 - 3 x Pallets  (free)
 - Assorted screws (random screws left over from other projects)
 - Green Cuprinol paint (left over from painting a garden shelter)
 - Weed membrane (used to keep the compost from washing away, again left over from another project)
 - Fish Tank Gravel (for drainage, I haven't had a fish tank for years but for some reason kept the gravel through 3 house moves!)
 - Compost - the only thing I actually paid for specifically for this project!

First job was to get a rough idea of what I was planning to build so I did a quick google and found something I liked the look of then tried to design something similar in Sketchup (which I am still learning to use) then I cracked on with the build (printed copy of my picture in hand)

I started off by breaking down 3 identical pallets to get my 'timber' I might have got away with 2 but i managed to break a few bits whilst trying to gently pry them apart.

I didnt want to spend too much time cutting all the wood so I decided to try and work with the dimensions that the timber came in from the pallet. The length of the planter is 120cm and the legs are 80cm, the only bits that I had to cut were the leg support joints and end planks.

At this point I realised that I would need to use some frame support inside and dug out a bit of treated batten timber which was cut to size and used at all the corners to join the planks together.

Once the trough was all screwed together I cut the joints in the legs and checked that thy fit before giving the whole thing a couple of coats of Cuprinol shed paint, once dried I fixed the legs in place and stood it up properly for the first time. the legs looked a bit wobbly so I put a couple of triangle fillets underneath to sturdy things up a bit.

The next job was to staple the weed membrane in place as a liner, this was mainly to keep the graven and compost in place and stop it washing away. the membrane was topped with a couple of inches of gravel (I used old but cleaned fish tank gravel) and then a couple of bags of good quality compost.

Job done, now you are good to plant some veggies and wait for your crop to grow. I did find that the birds liked to have a dig round for the seeds and take off with some of the seedlings so i used a piece of chicken wire over the top to prevent this (I'm planning on making a proper 'cloche' style frame for netting this year).

Ok, so this isn't the prettiest or most professional planter but it has used stuff that would otherwise gone in the bin or the tip and my little boy has enjoyed planting his seeds from Grandad in there this year. It has survived being moved round the garden twice now so it appears to be pretty strong.



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    4 Discussions

    Do you have to worry about pallets containing toxins from treated wood? I've often considered building some garden beds using spare pallet wood, but this concern has kept me from actually doing it.

    1 reply

    I was told that the pallets I was given were single use food pallets and as such weren't treated. Just in case I painted the inside aswell as the outside with a waterproof outdoor paint and then used the weed membrane which in my case is pretty much like black polythene, there are some holes at the bottom under the gravel to let the water drain out and not sit in contact with the wood. I hope this works ok otherwise I've got a nice crop of useless veggies :-)


    4 years ago

    I like the idea for carrots, as carrot fly couldn't reach them in a raised bed like this. Good job.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, as this is more for my little one now he has planted a nice variety of stuff including baby carrots, beetroot, radishes, spring onions and lettuces. All of which he quite happily eats so seeing them grown is just an added bonus.