How to Make a Vertical Pallet Garden

Add scrappy style to the backyard with a vertical pallet garden! Just use recycled shipping pallets to give a rustic lift to your outdoor décor.

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vertical pallet gardenMark Derse/Country Woman

This vertical pallet garden is a perfect recycled garden project to add color and whimsy to your yard. Customize your project with a few fairy garden accessories for even more fun.

Materials for a Vertical Pallet Garden

vertical pallet gardenMark Derse/Country Woman


  1. Using circular saw, cut pallet in half vertically.
  2. Smooth any rough boards with sandpaper.
  3. If desired, stain pallet to preferred color. Dry completely.
  4. Apply sealant. Dry completely.
  5. Cut landscape fabric to cover inside of pallet, and long enough to extend across the bottom, leaving top open.
  6. Staple fabric to pallet interior.
  7. Fill vertical pallet garden planter with potting soil from top.
  8. Cut holes in fabric with box cutter and insert plants in holes.
  9. Add miniature gnome, fairy door, fairy garden ladder and truck planter if desired.

truck succulent planterMark Derse/Country Woman

Yellow metal pickup truck filled with succulents and a custom license plate, $75 on Etsy.

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How to Prepare a Pallet

  1. Because pallets are recycled wood, they should be used with some care. Shipping pallets are exposed to outdoor elements, and if they’re used to transport food, they can harbor E. coli and listeria, along with fungus and mold. They are also often treated with chemicals. The wood from upcycled pallets is best suited for outdoor projects like these, if you take a few precautions before you build.
  2. Pallets should have a stamp with a code. If the code says IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), the pallet wood has been treated by approved measures. However, it does not mean it is free from chemicals. And if you can’t find a code, you probably shouldn’t use the pallet.
  3. If you can, ask if the pallet has been heat treated. While heat-treated pallets can still harbor fungus, mold and bugs, these are considered safer than those that are not heat treated.
  4. Pallet wood can be extremely rough, as well as full of nails and dirt. Be sure to wear safety glasses and protect your skin while using a pry bar or a claw hammer to break them apart. Try to remove any nails and then sand the wood. Since the boards can contain contaminants, sand them in an outdoor setting and use a mask or a respirator while working.

Next, learn how to make a pallet bench for your patio.

Country Woman
Originally Published in Country Woman