DIYdiy projects

Recycled Pallet Vertical Garden

by Kate Pruitt

Summer is waning, and since I am a diehard autumnal girl, I’d usually be very excited by now. But I have to be honest — this lush and vibrant pallet vertical garden is making me want to stay in summer for another month or two. There have been many pallet projects and many vertical garden projects, but none combine the two elements as well as this tutorial developed by Fern Richardson of Life on the Balcony and recreated by Steph of the local spoon. I like this so much, I might have to squeeze it in before I focus entirely on fall projects. — Kate

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There is nothing more adorable than little baby succulents. I happened to have a teeny porch desperately in need of love that didn’t get a lot of sun, so succulents were the perfect low-water, low-light choice. I also loved the idea of making something out of a pallet, one of those items you see everywhere — you have to wonder what happens to all of them, and I was excited to give one a purpose and home on my neglected porch. It transformed the space and was easy and lots of fun to make (the best part of all might have been my trip to the nursery where I could buy adorable baby succulents to my heart’s content). — Stephanie


  • a pallet (I found mine for free at a local garden store — mine measured 25 x 38 inches)
  • roll of landscaping paper (this can be quite expensive, but you don’t need as much as comes in a typical landscaping roll, so you might be able to find someone’s excess on Craigslist or at a local garden shop)
  • sandpaper
  • staple gun and staples
  • hammer and nails
  • potting soil (I used 2.5 cubic feet for the 25 x 38 pallet)
  • adorable succulents or other plants of choice


1. Sand down any rough spots on your pallet. If the back of your pallet doesn’t have much support (mine was basically open on the back), find some scrap wood, roughly 3 to 4 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick (or the thickness of the rest of your supports) and cut it down to the width of your pallet. Using two nails on each side, add supports so they are roughly even down the back of your pallet.

2. Double or triple up your landscaping fabric and begin the stapling fun. Staple fabric along the back, bottom and sides of the pallet, taking care at the corners to fold in the fabric so no soil will spill out. (See photos for details on folding corners.)

3. Lay the pallet flat and pour potting soil through slats, pressing soil down firmly. Leave enough room to begin planting your succulents.

4. Begin planting, starting at the bottom of the pallet and ending at the top. Make sure soil is firmly packed in each layer as you move up. Add more soil as needed so that plants are tightly packed at the end.

5. Water your wall garden thoroughly and let it remain horizontal for 1 to 2 weeks to allow plants to take root. After 1 to 2 weeks, you can set it upright.

Note: Remember when you water to start at the top and water each subsequent section a little less, as your water will naturally seep through to the bottom-most plants.



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  • I am in the process of making two of these to top a couple of dog houses leading beneath our house. They were unsightly boxes which were catch-alls for garden tools, empty plant pots, etc. Now they will be beautiful additions to the landscape! This is such a cool idea!

  • i make these and sell them with herbs, salads or edible flowers in… they are the best… great idea…

        • Hello I am wondering How much would I sell a large pallet for filled with succulents. I have been building things but have no Idea how much to charge the plants alone are expensive especially if you have to start from scratch

  • We followed your instructions and LOVE the result over a year later. We have taken time-lapse photos of our succulent growth in this DIY project on our website. Thank you for such a well put together article!

      • This is such wonderful & cost effective. I love fresh herbs & other edibles. Thank you! I also love autmn. I can’t wait to see what you have in mind. ~Lynn

  • How beautiful. I am making one this weekend. How do I choose which plants/herbs/succulents/flowers will work in this environment?

  • I’m a little concerned that the pallet would be a little too heavy putting the compost & plants in before the fence is built I made a pallet fence with shelves for plants before the fence went into place

  • I love this idea. In checking yours and other sites on how to finish up this project, I find one bit of info missing: how do you support this so it stands up? I want to place 2 or 3 against my wooden fence. My hubby says the fence isn’t strong enough for that. Have you found a good way to make this be somewhat free standing, or some self contained support in the back

  • i think this is a wonderful idea and very interesting with the variety of colors and textures! how do these pallette ideas work inside? live in nyc and have no yard or balcony so want to create something for wall close to window! will it work?

    • You need to make sure the pallet is stamped with HT which means heat treated in a kiln and not chemically treated. That being said you still have no idea what was stored/carried on it so it is still best to scrub it down.

  • I really your choice of baby succulents – have you got any recommendations? What plants have you chosen here? Many thanks!

  • I have attempted to make one of these and ran into the problem of my dirt sliding to the bottom, any suggestions?

  • Hi! I love this idea and have made one myself from the instructions you have provided.

    I have a concern that the internal load of soil will be too much for the landscape fabric and the staples will bust out with soil spilling out the back.

    Has anyone encountered this problem?

  • Make separate “pockets” with the liner and staples.
    Less soil needed and weighs much less overall.
    Good luck!

  • Have you stapled down the centre back? I can imagine it would distribute the weight of soil. Also you mentioned in a post seperate pockets..Two vertical pockets or were you referring to horizontal pockets?

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