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A painted timber vertical shelf with potted plants against a brick wall

Overview

You'd be surprised what you can do with an old pallet. It's easy to upcycle one into a thriving vertical garden with a few tools and materials. By adding some planter boxes and a shelf, you'll turn an empty space in the yard into a colourful backyard feature.

Steps

1Remove the slats

To give the vertical garden some strength, you should keep the top and bottom boards in place. Remove the middle slats with a pry bar, hammer and a chisel. Make sure you also remove any nails as you go.

A person using a hammer and chisel to remove a slat from a pallet

2Measure and mark the slats

For the base of the planter boxes, measure the distance between the slats at the front and back of the pallet. Then measure the distance from timber to timber for the front of the planter boxes. We're making four planter boxes, so we need four bases and four fronts.

A person measuring the width of a pallet frame

3Cut the timber

Use the circular saw to cut the slats you've already removed for the four planter boxes.

A person wearing protective gear cutting a length of timber using a circular saw

4Drill drainage holes

Clamp your base lengths to a workbench, and use the 18mm spade bit to drill several drainage holes in it. You'll need to do this for the three planter bases.

A person drilling a hole into a length of timber clamped to a work bench

5Fix the planter boxes to the pallet

You'll now need to decide where your planter boxes will go. A good idea is to leave more space between some planters for larger plants. Put the base of the planter box in place and secure with the fixing gun. Then put the front in place and secure it. Repeat this until all of the planter boxes are built.

A person fixing a shelf into a timber frame using a nail gun

6Add a shelf

A good idea is to cut a leftover slat to size and fix it down at the bottom of the pallet as a handy shelf.

A person fixing a shelf into a timber frame using a nail gun

7Paint the pallet garden

You can leave your pallet rustic and unpainted but we're painting ours to contrast against the wall we're hanging it on. Apply as many coats as needed.

A person painting a shelving unit made of recycled timber

8Homemade oasis

Once the paint is dry you can put your pallet vertical garden in place. Fill the planter boxes with your favourite flowers or herbs and with a little effort, you've created a fantastic looking vertical garden.

A painted timber vertical shelf with potted plants against a brick wall

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.