How to Make Raised Beds From Pallets

There's no doubt about it. Upcycling is rad, and pallet gardening is all the rage right now. Pallet gardens are cheap, easy to build and can be placed anywhere in the garden. Leave them up year-round or take them down at the end of the season -- it's up to you.

Building raised beds from pallets like this one is a relatively simple weekend project. (Image: Mavis Butterfield)

Things You'll Need

  • 4 wood pallets

  • 12 #10 x 2-inch galvanized wood screws

  • Chicken wire

  • Garden soil

  • Vegetable starts

  • Heavy-duty garden gloves

  • Cardboard boxes

Step 1

Wooden pallets can be purchased new or found behind big-box stores. (Image: mavis butterfield)

First, you'll need to find four sturdy pallets to build your wood pallet garden. Wood pallets can be purchased new for around $10 from local lumber companies, but if you want to save some serious cash, take a moment to check behind your favorite big-box store. Discarded wood pallets can typically be found near the dumpster and recycling bins for free.

Step 2

Measure the wood pallets to ensure that the planter will fit in your space. (Image: mavis butterfield)

Wood pallets can vary in size with the most common size being 4 by 4 feet square. Try to find wood pallets as close in size as possible.

Step 3

Cut the wood pallets down to size, if necessary. (Image: mavis butterfield)

If the wood pallets you've selected are too big for your area, you can reduce the height of your pallet garden by simply sawing off the last one or two slats for a more manageable size.

Step 4

Stand the pallets up to configure the raised bed. (Image: mavis butterfield)

To achieve a more uniform look, make sure all your pallets are the same width and length before piecing them all together.

Step 5

Drill the galvanized wood screws into the wood pallets. (Image: mavis butterfield)

Once your pallets are been cut to the desired size, stand them up in the shape of a square.

Step 6

Standing wood pallet garden, ready for planting. (Image: mavis butterfield)

Using galvanized wood screws, screw the ends of the pallets together at the top, center and bottom of the pallet edge. Rock your pallet garden back and forth a little bit to make sure it's nice and sturdy.

Step 7

Place a piece of cardboard in the bottom of the planter to smother weeds. (Image: mavis butterfield)

Now you're ready to fill this bad boy with plants and soil.

Step 8

Cucumber plants will thrive in a raised bed like this one. (Image: mavis butterfield)

To get started, lay down a layer of cardboard to kill any existing weeds or grasses. This little preventive measure can greatly reduce the number of weeds in your raised pallet garden in the months to come. Next, fill the bottom of your raised pallet bed with garden soil up to the first set of wooden slats.

Step 9

Now all that's left to do is watch your plants thrive in your homemade wood pallet garden. (Image: mavis butterfield)

To maximize your growing area, insert two to three plants per pallet opening all the way around your pallets until you reach the top of the raised garden bed. Once the sides are planted, chose a few more plants for the center of your pallet. Tomatoes, zucchini plants or even pumpkins are all good choices as they tend to expand in both height and width as they grow.

Water as needed.

Tip

For another take on wood pallet gardens, see Pallet Gardening.

Warning

If using an old pallet, watch out for rusty nails or staples and look for a wood pallet that has HT stamped somewhere on the pallet. HT means the wood pallet was heat treated or kiln dried (as opposed to chemically treated). If you're unsure whether your pallet is new or used, scrub the wood down with a mixture of bleach and hot, soapy water and then let the pallet dry out before using it to minimize any chemicals or bacteria that may be present.