How to Make a Pallet Garden

Student and teacher with hands in the dirt.
Pallets make fun projects for all ages and can go practically anywhere.

Since it can be difficult to determine whether a pallet has been heat-treated or fumigated with pesticides, it’s safer to plant annual flowers or succulents rather than edibles.

Leave the pallet flat on the ground for a few weeks and water it regularly so that plant roots become established and hold the soil in place. When you do tip it vertically, some soil will fall out, but a little is okay. Fertilize periodically with compost tea.

Materials Needed

  • A found pallet
  • 3 bags organic potting soil
  • Roll of landscape fabric
  • A staple gun & staples
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw horses (optional)
  • In-edible flowers or succulents of your choosing


  1. Find a pallet in good condition, with no nails sticking out or rotted wood. Decide which sides of the pallet will be the bottom, top, front and back. Sand any rough edges on the front and top (the sides you will plant).
  2. Lay the pallet face down. Roll the landscape fabric over the back. Cut the fabric in pieces long enough to cover the back and wrap around the bottom (plus a few extra inches for good measure)
  3. Lay two pieces on the back to cover it lengthwise, overlapping them by about an inch. Hold the fabric as if it were one piece and fold over the top edge 1”, tucking the fold against the pallet. Staple along the top back edge.
  4. Smooth the fabric, pull it down and taut along the spine of the pallet and wrapping under the bottom to create a giant pocket. Staple along the front bottom edge to secure.
  5. Go back and staple along the spine, sides, and pallet “ribs” to support the weight of the soil in multiple places. More staples is better.
  6. To plant, bring the pallet close to its final spot (it will get very heavy), and lay it face up. A pair of saw horses is great here, though not necessary.
  7. Slide the plants into what will be the top. Pack them tightly together- the closer they are, the better they will keep the soil in place. Now that you have capped the top, pour the bags of soil over the slats of the pallet one at a time. Push the soil into nooks and crannies.
  8. Now plant from bottom to top, pushing soil into the bottom cavity and tightly packing several plants into the open space above the board. Next, push more potting soil down against those plants, and repeat for all the remaining openings until you reach the top.