Don’t throw unwanted pallets away; instead, use them to create new furniture such as this outdoor pallet planter trough. It is perfect for herbs or lettuce leaves and will look great on your patio or decking.
- 2 pallets – preferably 1 is a close boarded one (without gaps in between the slats of wood) as this makes the project much easier
- Outdoor wood paint or varnish
- Tape measure
- Drill and screws
- Sander or sandpaper
- Spirit level
- Dust mask
- Wire brush
Step 1: Remove the rear support bars from one pallet (the close-boarded one) using a crowbar or a hammer (or both!).
Step 2: Lay the pallet on its back and clean the wood up using a wire brush and a hoover. This will ensure a smooth free surface to work from. Repeat this for the top part too.
Step 3: The next step is to create the sides and base – ours were two planks of wood wide. With the pallet still lying on its back, measure and mark a straight line up the support back bars between the gaps in the planks so you know where to saw to make the sides.
Step 4: Using a saw and wearing your dusk mask, cut out the sides of the pallet. We were left with 3 x 2 plank lengths plus a single length but your pallet may be another size.
Step 5: Loosely position the trough sides and base together so you can see what it looks like. There are likely to be gaps where the sides meet the base which you won’t want as you will see the inner lining that you will need when planting.
Step 6: To remove those gaps, measure the depth of the planks. Then mark this dimension using a pencil and ruler on the rear supports at the base of both sides. Repeat this on every rear support.
Step 7: Saw these small pieces off. Then reposition the sides and base together to check that the gaps have gone and the bottom of the sides are flush with the bottom of the base.
Step 8: The next step is to make the ends. Measure the overall width of the trough and mark this out on the last plank of wood. If you don’t have one, you will need to use one from the second pallet. We needed 4 short lengths
Step 9: If you want to angle the sides of the trough to create a better shape, position one of the end pieces inside the outer edge of the side to get the angle you want. Mark this using a pencil. Using the saw, cut along the line. Using this piece as a template, mark up the same angle on the other 3 edges and cut.
Step 10: Your next step is to screw these parts together using a drill. I would only add a few screws to begin with, then at the final stage add more to ensure it is super sturdy. Screw some of the rear support back bars together too. You should now have your finished trough.
Step 11: The next stage is to build the legs. From the second pallet, remove all the back pieces of wood as you did with the first pallet.
You will need:
- planks to make the base shelf (either one piece if using a closed boarded pallet or single planks to the right width). This needs to be the same width as the base of the trough.
- 4 thicker pieces of wood for the legs (the 4 middle bearers that sit in between the front and back panels of the pallet).
Step 12: Measure the central point of the top of the trough and mark it with a pencil. Position two of the legs into a V shape, overlapping the front piece at the point of the V. Take your time to measure that everything is central; that the legs are central across the trough, and that the legs will hit the ground. This took a bit of time; when you are happy that everything is positioned correctly, mark a line to cut the top pieces so they can be attached to a V (please refer to the photos). We chose to have this top point above the top of the trough.
Step 13: Cut the top of the legs at the angle marked, so they will now sit together to create the V. When you are happy, using them as a template, cut the other two legs to ensure they are the same.
Step 14: Double check that all legs are in the right place then screw the top parts together then screw them onto the trough, on both sides.
Step 15: Stand the planter up on a level surface and using a spirit level check that the planter sits level. Then mark a line across the bottom of the legs and cut to make sure it sits on the ground properly. Double check that it all stands properly.
Step 16: The next step is to create support bars for the planter. Using some planks from the space pallet, measure and cut lengths to the width of the planter. Attach them between each leg from front to back, underneath the trough. This will give it extra support. Screw in place.
Step 17: Repeat this lower down the legs to create a base for the shelf to sit on. Screw these in place.
Step 18: If you want a base shelf, cut the length of pallet wood (we used three pieces wide) and position the shelf in place then screw them down onto the support bar.
Step 19: When you are happy with it all, add as many screws as needed to make it secure.
Step 20: We decided to cut down the top support bars inside the trough as we felt there was too much wood on show. To do this, simply saw the wood at an angle.
Step 21: Using a sander or sandpaper, sand the whole planter to remove any rough edges.
Step 22: Finally, paint the planter with external wood paint or varnish to protect it. We used Cuprinol Willow paint – BUY HERE
You will then need to line the planter before planting with purpose-made lining or the inside of a compost bag.
This project was created for Take A Break Magazine. It contains affiliate links.