Make a Herb Garden from Pallets

Pallets make an excellent base material for building a DIY herb garden. Reclaimed wood pallets are inexpensive, sturdy, and when properly prepared, safe for growing edible herbs. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can upcycle pallets into a beautiful and functional herb garden perfect for small spaces like patios, balconies, or even indoors.

Benefits of Using Pallets for an Herb Garden

  • Cost-effective. Wooden pallets are abundant and often free for the taking if you keep an eye out near stores and warehouses. This makes pallets highly budget-friendly compared to buying lumber or other materials.
  • Durable and weather-resistant. Pallets are designed to withstand heavy loads and outdoor storage conditions. The thick wood will hold up well to regular outdoor use as a planter box.
  • Customizable size and shape. Pallets come in standard sizes like 4×4 feet but can be cut down into any dimensions you need for your herb garden design. Arrange multiple pallets together into creative shapes.
  • Good for drainage. The slatted construction of pallets provides built-in drainage holes in the bottom when oriented vertically. This is ideal for potted plants that need good drainage.
  • Portable. Lightweight pallets are easy to move around to follow the sun or set up in different areas. Add handles or wheels to make DIY pallet gardens even more portable.
  • Elevated design. Stacking pallets creates an elevated garden bed that makes tending and harvesting herbs easier on your back without bending over as much.

Pallet Requirements for Herb Gardens

Not all pallets are created equal when it comes to gardening. It’s important to find and properly prepare pallets to ensure they are safe, food-grade quality for growing edible herbs.

Food-Safe Wood

Verify that pallets are untreated and chemical-free by looking for the IPPC certification stamp. This indicates heat treatment only for food safety versus potential chemical fumigation. Avoid ink-stamped and painted pallets as the wood preservatives used may contain toxins that could leach into the soil.

Sturdy and Intact Condition

Inspect pallets thoroughly for broken, loose, or missing boards that could cause soil to leak out. Look for intact pallets without rusty protruding nails and damaged corner joints. Test the strength by shaking pallets to ensure boards are securely fastened.

Natural Unpainted Wood

Paint or stains on pallet wood could potentially contaminate the soil. Sand off any surface coatings to reveal the raw wood underneath. This also allows the herb garden to showcase the natural wood grain patterns.

How to Build a Pallet Herb Garden

With the right pallets sourced, constructing your own DIY pallet herb planter box is a straightforward weekend project using basic tools and materials.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Pallets – At least 1-2 pallets for a small vertical planter box up to 10+ pallets for a large multi-level herb garden.
  • Safety gear – Gloves, goggles, dust mask, and ear protection for sawing pallets.
  • Circular or jig saw with wood cutting blades.
  • Drill with assorted drill bits and screwdriver heads.
  • Sandpaper – For smoothing rough pallet wood (80-100 grit).
  • Staple gun and 1-inch staples – For securing landscape fabric.
  • Landscape fabric – To line the interior to prevent soil leakage.
  • Weed block cloth – To wrap the exterior sides (optional).
  • Scrap lumber – To frame the backside of pallets if needed.
  • Self-tapping screws.
  • Soil and compost – To fill the pallet planters.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Select and collect pallets – Choose the number of pallets needed for your design and gather free pallets from local stores.
  2. Disassemble pallets – Take pallets apart using a pry bar or hammer. Remove nails and sand boards smooth.
  3. Cut boards to size – Measure and cut pallet boards to your desired dimensions using a circular saw.
  4. Reassemble into layout – Arrange boards into the final pallet frame design and fasten together with screws.
  5. Add backing – Screw scrap lumber onto the back side to fully enclose the frame (optional).
  6. Line with landscape fabric – Staple fabric into the interior to prevent soil leakage through slats.
  7. Wrap exterior (optional) – Enclose the outer sides with weed block fabric and staple into place.
  8. Add soil and plants – Fill bottom 2/3 of the planter box with soil and compost mix. Plant herb starters.
  9. Water and fertilize – Water thoroughly after planting and feed herbs with organic fertilizer during the season.
  10. Maintain and enjoy herbs! – Prune and harvest herbs as they grow.

DIY Pallet Herb Garden Plans

Pallet herb gardens can be customized into all sorts of creative configurations. Stack pallets vertically into a tower, join them into a long planter row, or arrange multiple pallets into a geometric layout. Here are some popular DIY pallet herb garden plans:

Vertical Pallet Herb Tower

Stack 2 or 3 pallets directly on top of each other to create vertical space for herbs. Anchor pallets together with scrap boards in the back and wrap the outside with weed cloth. Plant a different herb in each pallet pocket for a beautiful culinary tower.

Cascading Pallet Pyramid

Arrange pallets into a stepped pyramid shape with pallets gradually decreasing in size towards the top. Plant trailing herbs like thyme or oregano in the upper pallets so they can gracefully cascade over the edges onto lower levels.

Geometric Pallet Planter Box

Cut boards and reassemble pallets into geometric shapes like triangles, diamonds or hexagons. Adjoin multiple geometric planter sections together to form creative herb gardens for patios and decks.

Railing Pallet Herb Planters

Turn standard pallet rectangles into long narrow planter boxes that fit perfectly on deck and balcony railings. Screw pallets securely to railings or attach hanging chains to suspend planter boxes.

Wall Pallet Herb Gardens

Mount standard pallet rectangles flat against exterior walls to create chic vertical herb gardens. Install weed cloth on the backside and screw directly into wall studs for sturdy wall-mounted herb planters.

Pallet Herb Garden Ideas

Nearly any culinary herb will thrive planted in a pallet garden. Choose a combination of your favorite herbs to cook with! Here are some suggestions:

  • Basil – Plant classic Genovese sweet basil or try spicy cinnamon or lemon flavors.
  • Oregano – Hardy Greek or Italian oregano varieties are perfect pals for tomatoes.
  • Chives – Grow chives for a mild onion kick to soups, salads and more.
  • Thyme – Lemon thyme and English thyme offer citrusy and earthy flavors.
  • Sage – Pineapple sage has beautiful red flowers and sweet fruity scent.
  • Dill – Use feathery dill leaves to flavor pickles, fish and potato dishes.
  • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro adds that signature flavor to salsas, curries and guacamole.
  • Rosemary – Fragrant rosemary is ideal with roasted meats and vegetables.
  • Mint – Peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint jazz up drinks, desserts and fruit salads.
  • Lavender – Utilize aromatic lavender for both culinary and ornamental purposes.

Pallet Herb Garden Care Tips

With the right care, a DIY pallet herb planter will provide a bountiful harvest of herbs all season long. Follow these tips:

  • Amend soil mix with compost for nutrition and moisture retention.
  • Consider adding gravel or stones in bottom of pallets for extra drainage.
  • Use drip irrigation hoses for efficient watering directly to plant roots.
  • Give herbs at least 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily.
  • Prune herbs frequently by cutting above leaf nodes to encourage new growth.
  • Harvest herbs regularly before plants bolt and foliage gets woody and bitter.
  • Fertilize herbs monthly with natural fertilizers like fish emulsion or compost tea.
  • Repurpose pallets into cold frames to extend harvest into winter months.
  • Refresh soil and replace herbs each year for best vitality. Pallets can be reused annually.

With a little bit of creativity and DIY inspiration, it’s easy to upcycle used pallets into stunning herb gardens for your patio, balcony or yard. Planting and tending homegrown herbs in pallet planter boxes provides a productive and enjoyable way to add edible greenery to your landscape all season long.