10 Beautiful Wood Pallet Projects for Your Garden
Have you ever driven by the back of a business, and noticed hundreds of wood pallets stacked there? Have you thought about what you could build with all that free wood? Do you drool over pictures of DIY wood pallet projects?
Wood pallet projects are having a moment right now. With the rise in popularity of industrial and farmhouse design, many designers and handy do-it-yourselfers are flooding the internet with pictures of their gorgeous creations made from reclaimed pallet wood: coffee tables, deck chairs, shelves, bed frames – you name it, someone has probably thought of it!
Did you know that most of these pallets are used only once for shipping? They are disposable products. However, to you, they could be a gold mine!
Not only is it economical to re-use pallet wood for your home projects, but it’s also a great thing to do for the environment. You can keep at least some of it from rotting away in a landfill and re-use perfectly good wood: one of nature’s most precious renewable resources.
How to Tell If Your Wood Is Safe
Before you rush over to your nearest construction business or go dumpster diving for used pallets, you need to know that some of the wood used in shipping pallets is treated with harsh chemicals. If you plan to use the wood, you’re harvesting for an indoor project, or one that people will come into contact with, you need to avoid this treated wood. In addition, there’s an easy way to tell which pallets have been treated and which haven’t.
Most pallets are marked with codes telling you how they were treated, along with a couple of logos, a country code, and unique registration number. These are called IPPC marking. The only thing you need to watch out for is the treatment codes marked like this:
- HT – this means Heat Treatment, and this wood is safe to use
- DB – means Debarked, and this wood is safe to use
- KD – means the wood has been Kiln Dried and is safe to use
- MB – means the wood has been treated with Methyl Bromide and is not safe to use
Some wooden pallets aren’t marked with IPPC markings. As those are generally the pallets intended to be used for domestic purposes only, they are typically thought of as safe to use, as they are untreated. But if you want to be on the safe side, only use the pallets with markings that tell you they are safe.
Where to Find Free Pallets
You may already have an idea of where you’d like to start looking for free pallets. If so, more power to you! However, here are some ideas for businesses that want to get rid of them:
- Construction sites
- Newly opened businesses, or businesses that are about to open
- Small stores like pet stores, hardware stores, grocery stores or pet stores
- Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
Wood Pallet Projects for Your Garden
Create an open tunnel structure over a path of paving stones and let your climbing plants take over! You only need basic construction skills and tools to make this work, because it doesn’t need to be airtight. It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold your vining plants. Incorporate one of these garden tunnels with your fairy garden and watch your kids or grandkids find hours of enchantment outside!
Rustic Window Boxes
The great thing about pallet wood is that you can make it as rustic as you like, or as polished as you like. It all depends on the look you want. It’s just untreated lumber!
So, if rustic is your thing, you don’t have to bother with sanding, painting or staining. Additionally, all you need for this project is a measuring tape, saw, hammer and nails.
Almost anyone can put together an open box shape, right? Window boxes can double as table centerpieces. Drill holes in the bottom if you want to water your live, seasonal displays right where they hang.
Garden Tool Hanging Rack
Even though you do need some extra hardware for this project – the hooks required for hanging your tools – it will be well worth the effort when you have an organized and visually beautiful spot for everything outdoors.
Pallet wood is already cut to the same size, so it takes almost no effort to secure the boards together into a sturdy backdrop to hold all your tools. You can even take it a step further by making it into a combination storage bench/hanging rack!
Tree or Porch Swing
I’ve seen some fantastic renditions of this idea! Small plank swings hung in your trees, decorated with flowering or leafy vines can add an ethereal feel to your backyard. With a little more work, you can attach a simple bench to your overhanging porch or pergola for the perfect summertime perch.
Want to kick it up a notch? Make it a bed swing, complete with comfy mattress for that ideal outdoor nap. Your neighbors won’t be able to stay away!
You could always use more storage, right? Shelves are great for the garden too – make a free-standing shelf to use for hardening off your seedlings in the spring, or for holding a container herb garden.
Or put some shelves on your shed wall to store your odds and ends in a place that’s easy to reach.
Planters can come in all shapes and sizes. Construct a simple wooden planter to be used for your front door display, or use your pallet wood for a row of raised beds in your veggie garden.
You can also double your space – and go easy on your back – by creating shallow beds on legs to be planted with all of your shallow-rooted plants.
For the ambitious gardener and carpenter, the sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor furniture made with pallet wood. Your creativity and ability are all that hold you back!
However, there are instructions for simple outdoor chairs that almost anyone could build. Don’t let yourself get scared away from trying it. It is free wood, after all!
Wild Bee Houses
Save wood from a landfill, re-use a precious resource, and give shelter to one of nature’s most potent pollinators? What could be greener? Wild bee houses are very simple – not like the kind of accommodations you need to build for honeybees.
Give these precious creatures a cozy home all their own and watch your garden become more lush and vibrant than ever before.
Not everyone wants chickens in their backyard, but with enough pallet wood, you can build almost any structure for your yard. Chicken coops are just one idea. Build a garden shed, a playhouse or structure, a pergola or a rustic awning.
Easy Holiday Signs
The farmhouse decor trend has at least one theme: signs! If you don’t want to spend your weekends combing junkyards and antique markets for vintage signs, make your own custom sign with a board made of pallet wood, some paint, and a few stencils. This has the added benefit of being a custom design. Make one for each holiday to add to your indoor or outdoor display.
There are so many great ideas out there for pallet wood uses. Even if you don’t think you have a handy bone in your body, you might find something to spark your creativity.
Since pallet wood is free for the taking, even if you make one mistake or many, all you have lost is a little time. However, what you’ve gained is some great experience. Have fun!