Pallet gardens are all the rage. From veggies and herbs to annuals to succulents, a pallet garden is clever and beautiful! They are wonderfully space-saving so you can surround yourself with a ridiculous amount of plants and flowers. Personally, that’s my goal every year. Here are 12 pallet garden ideas in 4 categories for you to create!
Succulent Pallet Garden Ideas
This gorgeous pallet garden is filled with drought-tolerant, easy to care for plants that look amazing all year, no matter what you put them through. The stained finish just puts it over the top. I could stare at this gorgeous thing all day. (found on Pinterest, source unknown)
I’m a sucker for succulents. I use them anywhere, anytime for any reason. They live indoors through the winter. They overwinter outdoors in pots. They go especially well in fairy gardens. If I’m at a nursery and there are succulents, you can’t stop me from buying 5.
Mainly because succulents pass the brown thumb test.
Yes, I run a nursery, but I’m terrible at growing plants indoors. I started with LOTS of houseplants. If it died, I never bought it again. This approach whittled down my winter lovelies to something manageable. Ficus. Geranium. Begonia. And lots and lots of succulents.
Here’s another gorgeous succulent pallet garden from The Urchin Collective.
Herb Pallet Garden Ideas
The greatest thing about herbs, besides making your food yummy, is that they don’t need a ton of space to grow. Of course, they’d rather be in the ground. I mean, what plant doesn’t? Fortunately, herbs can endure some crowding.
The smallest sized pot recommended for growing herbs is 6″. That’s pretty small.
These pallet herb gardens aren’t even utilizing all the space for soil. They’ve only added bottoms to each ‘shelf’ to hold everything in. All they need now is some rich organic potting soil and some sunlight. (afternoon shade preferred)
This vertical herb garden beautiful and creatively clever! Using chalkboard paint adds such a nice touch. I use this paint to label SO many things. Craft boxes, jars and so much more. Using chalk to label your plants is so fun. Change your herbs and labels as much as you want! The chalk will probably wash off with every rain if not protected, but it’s so cute, I think it’s worth rewriting!
Another gorgeous herb garden, built by Zina’s husband (slave). The labels on this one won’t wash off in the rain. And it’s just breathtaking. I mean, what craft CANT you pull off with beautiful penmanship? 😀
Jen and her mom (from JenAroundTheWorld) did such a beautiful job building this herb pallet garden, and an excellent job explaining how they did it. I love this rendition of the herb pallet garden because it holds so much more soil for the herbs to grow in. Herbs don’t need a ton of soil, but this design gives it much more space to spread. They laid the pallet flat to plant the garden and let it sit flat for about 2 weeks to allow the soil to settle. When the roots start to put on some growth, they place the new beautiful pallet garden upright into a vertical garden.
If you’re worried about chemical leaching, or the idea of filling the whole pallet with soil turns you off, here’s a clever little twist! Just use the pallet as shelves for your pots to organize your herb garden! This idea was featured by Jen from PinkWhen. I love how compact, organized and adorable it is as a display.
(More about chemically treated pallets below).
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re very handy, you can create this beautiful standing herb planter, shown here by BonniePlants. This particular planter was not created with a pallet, but if you’re short on wood, you can pull one apart and put it back together like so. If you’re not handy but love this design, you can buy one like it.
Vegetable Pallet Garden Ideas
Everyone loves a vegetable garden. But most people think you need a huge garden to grow them.
Not the case.
I’m actually pretty surprised at how little space can grow so much produce. I’ve seen this in square foot gardening.
I’ve also seen volunteer tomato seeds sprout in the most unimaginable places. The corner of a wood chip pile on a driveway? And it grew like crazy. Who knew?
You can create some breathtaking vegetable gardens with pallets. Take a look at this beauty featured at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. I absolutely love the use of multiple pallets to create height and I’m amazed at how well those babies are growing.
What about fruit?
Just LOOK at this gorgeous strawberry pallet planter by LovelyGreens Who wouldn’t LOVE to look at that every day, and have yummy strawberries to boot! Berry Smoothies anyone? I’m down for that. You can view the instructions on Tanya’s website. Or you can watch her build it on youtube.
if you’re worried about treated wood, or leeching chemicals, here’s some advice:
Most wood pallets will have an IPPC logo, since they oversee internationally-shipped pallets. Pallets that ship overseas are the ones usually treated or fumigated to prevent the spread of invasive pests. Here are the marks to look out for (they should be near the IPPC logo):
- HT – This means the pallet was heat treated, possibly with harmful chemicals.
- MB – This indicates that the pallet was fumigated with methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide. Pallet makers are phasing out methyl bromide, but you may still see this mark on some older pallets.
You can also educate yourself to recognize what pressure treated wood looks like. Head to your local home improvement store and poke around the lumber section. Pressure treated wood looks different from untreated wood, and once you see the difference in color, it should be pretty easy to spot.
Flower Pallet Garden Ideas
Flowers are the prize of everyone’s garden. And anyone can grow them.
Annual flowers, again, don’t need immense root systems to grow well. Just good potting soil, sunshine and keep an eye on the water.
Have you ever seen how many wax begonias they shove in one hanging pot at the nursery? And they do well all summer. Have you ever uprooted a large annual geranium and taken a look at the size of the root system? It’s pretty minimal for the size of the plant.
A petunia seed fell in the crack of my block patio to the soil below. The blocks are 6″ deep! The next year, I had a plant a foot tall and a foot wide growing through that crack.
Some plants just want to survive and work hard to do so. To quote Jurassic Park ‘life finds a way’. There’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t do wonderfully growing a flower pallet garden. As with any garden, start with great soil.
Holy Petunias, Amy!!! This unbelievable planter box was built from pallets by Amy over at HerToolBelt. I am SO impressed with how well they grew! Amy has instructions on her blog, how to build the box and keep the plants moist so they actually grow this well. I would follow them exactly 😀
For all you apartment-dwelling flower lovers, there’s hope! Vertical gardens are awesome for apartments. Space-saving, full of plants, and just lovely. My all-time favorite vertical pallet garden was created by Fern over at Life On The Balcony (sadly her site is gone) Her use of color in this stunning little garden is fabulous. She really has an eye.
Above is a great example of all of the beautiful plants that go well in a pallet garden. I see lots of nasturtium and many different types of succulents. The pale green trailing plant in the middle looks like a licorice plant. (source unknown)
How to Make a Pallet Garden
Here’s a super quick video tutorial below on how to build a vertical pallet garden for herbs. Make sure to pack and water your plants in WELL before standing it up.
Below is another simple way to put together a vertical pallet garden. This time, you take slats from an extra pallet and screw it to the bottom of each ‘level’
Below are full instructions on how annual vertical pallet gardens are constructed at the nursery.
One last video. If you LOVE vertical gardening, this man is brilliant at it.
Alex from Flower Street Urban Gardens has devised a wonderful gardening system that you install right on walls, fences, windowsills, your balcony. If you have a sturdy structure to hold a wire frame, this space saver can grow some plants! It’s perfect for individuals that would rather not bend to work a garden.
Best Plants for a Pallet Garden
Pallet gardens are such great space savers, but they don’t provide much growing space. Shallow rooted plants grow best, so we’ll stick with the following.
- All succulents
- Most herbs like thyme, parsley, oregano, cilantro, chives, dill, mint, tarragon
- Salad greens like leaf lettuce, spinach, kale and arugula
Annual flowers are my absolute favorite for any garden so we won’t forget them here. Special consideration is to be made to find short-growing flowers that will fit in a vertical garden. The best annual flowers for a pallet garden are as follows:
- Wave petunias (regular petunias grow strangely)
- Marigolds (look for dwarf varieties)
- Impatiens (for shade)
Last but not least, have FUN with your plants. They provide endless possibilities to get creative and surround yourself with beauty. Hopefully, this post inspires a pallet design of your own!