I've got some pallets left over from making my pallet sofa last summer and have been looking for ways to use them up. What better than a pretty pallet planter for the area outside the door? Here's how to do it, if you fancy making one yourself. It's a really easy DIY and low-cost way to cheer up your outdoor space. You can fill it with anything you like – trailing plants or hanging strawberries would look great or if you fancy having lots of lovely herbs on hand you can make a herb pallet planter as I did here!
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Is this pallet safe for plants?
Being an organic gardener, the first thing I do is check that the pallet hasn't been treated with nasty chemicals which could seep out of the wood and into the soil. Pallets that are safe for use will have an 'HT' (heat treated) sign branded into them. All of my pallets have this sign so I know I'm safe to go ahead with making my pallet planter.
Supplies needed to make a pallet planter
- Water and scrubbing brush or high-pressure cleaner (to clean the pallet)
- Handheld electric sander (DE)
- Sanding mask
- Safety goggles
- Wire Brush
- Paint (for outdoor use)
- Chalk Paint
- Black planter lining or pool liner
- Staple Gun
- Stencil (Optional)
- Stencil brush
How to prepare your pallet planter
The pallet will probably be dusty and full of cobwebs so the first thing to do will be to give it a good clean with water and a scrubbing brush. A high-pressure cleaner would probably be better to get into all the nooks and crannies but I don't have one so I'm using what I have!
Once the pallet is dry, use a hand held sander to sand the front and sides of the pallet so that they are nice and smooth. Don't forget to use a mask when sanding. Goggles are also highly recommended, there's no telling when a splinter might shoot up into your face.
In the photo below, you can see the difference where one side of the pallet has been sanded.
Once the front and sides have been sanded it's time to use the outdoor paint to start painting the pallet planter in whichever colour you like.
Paint your pallet planter
I was torn between using white, black or blue-grey, all of which would look great in our garden. In the end, I went with white because this pallet planter will be standing against the wall next to our white bench. I'll be using some leftover black chalk paint later too.
Two coats of paint are all it took to transform my pallet planter and now I can get stuck into making the planters.
Making planting pockets for a pallet planter
Measuring and cutting
I bought some garden planter lining from the local garden centre. I bought around two meters but only ended up using around one and a half for the pockets.
Fold the lining down into the slot at the top of the planter to get a rough idea of how much of the liner will be needed.
Once you've cut out one length, try it inside the planting slot again to make sure it fits then use that as a template to cut another five (if that's how many planting pockets you want).
Attaching the planting pockets
Lay one of the black liner pieces over the top of the first pocket and push it down inside the gap.
Starting in the middle of the slot, fold over the edge of the lining as if you are making a sewing seam and tack this to the edge of the pallet. Continue to fold and tack all the way around the slot until you are left with a pocket.
Make the other five pockets in the same way.
I'm using a plant liner which allows water to drain through. If you use pool liner for this, you will need to add some drainage holes in the plastic. If the plants are sitting in water, there's a good chance the roots will rot.
Making signs for a pallet planter
My pallet planter will be mainly for herbs but I'll add some trailing flowers here and there for good measure.
To make the signs you just need to make a mark at the middle point of one of the pockets then decided how large you want the sign to be and measure out from there. My sign is 20cms long so I marked out 10cms on each side of the middle point.
Once the points for the sign are marked, draw a line from top to bottom using a spirit level to make sure the line is straight.
Tape & Paint
Tape off the area to be painted and paint the sign in your colour of choice. I already had some of this Graphite coloured chalk paint left over from when I made my Giant Paper Bag so I used that for my signs. I gave the signs two coats of paint.
One of the advantages of chalk paint is that it dries really quickly making it fantastic for projects like these because you can move ahead straight away. Remove the masking tape as soon as you've finished painting and now you're ready to write your signs.
Once you've decided where all your herbs are going to go, write out the words in pencil first then write over the words with chalk – I'm using white for mine.
You could leave it there and start filling up the pockets with the earth. I'm always looking for ways to use the lovely 'Dandelion and Grasses' stencil which I used in my media stand makeover and Giant Paper Bag posts so I'm using it here to give my planter that 'extra something'.
I stencilled the pallet planter using the 'Graphite' chalk paint.
My pallet planter is standing underneath a covered porch so I'm not going to add any protective varnish to it, it's fine as it is.
Planting the Pallet Planter
Now all that's left do is to plant your lovely herbs and flowers.
Make sure the plants are well watered first by submerging the whole pot in a bucket of water (preferably rainwater). Hold the pot under the water level until the air bubbles subside then leave to drain.
Add planting earth
Add a layer of planting earth to the bottom of each pocket planter.
Distribute your plants (still in their plastic pots) to their respective pockets.
Fill up with earth around the plastic pots. The pots will act as place holders for the plants.
Remove each plant from the planter, take it out of its plastic pot and place the plants back into the empty space.
Water the pockets just enough so that the soil is damp.
Pretty Pallet Planter Finished!
That's it! I placed my planter outside the door under our covered porch so they will be easy to harvest whatever the weather. The herbs in my pretty pallet planter are always to hand whether we are cooking inside or out.
It's easy to create a unique look in a little corner of your garden and I hope I've inspired you to have a go at making one of these pretty pallet planters yourself – happy planting!
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