see all cities »


DIY: pallet planter box

The Equinox is upon us, are you ready for Spring?

The extent of my gardening used to be sweeping the dead leaves off the patio and hiding my dying plants to cover up my crimes against botany.

My grandmother has a legendary green thumb, which I have yet to inherit. With the same Birds of Paradise in her solarium blooming year after year since the 1960s, her home is a tropical jungle in the city. She used to give me clippings from her Jade Plants (a resilient and idiot-proof houseplant) to teach me the baby steps of gardening, but gave up after I repeatedly killed them.

I have changed my ways since then, my brown thumb is slowly greening while trying to sustain life on my patio. It began with finding free cedar planks on and building planter boxes, and has now turned into a gardening obsession. Tomatoes, nasturtiums, and a few vines on trellises have transformed my barren ground floor apartment patio into another oasis in the city.

DIY pallet planter video

The cost of soil, fertilizer, and the plants themselves can create quite an expensive gardening hobby. Rather than spend even more on simple planter boxes I decided to make a DIY planter for my spring tulips from free wooden pallets. 

 What you’ll need:

  • One or two wooden pallets
  • Hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Handsaw
  • Nails
  • Plastic sheet to line the planter box

Finding pallets

Many businesses have an endless supply of pallets from shipments bringing in inventory. Check your local site because usually there is a surplus of pallets just waiting to be picked up from local shops and industrial areas.

Only use pallets with the symbols HT and DB, which stand for Heat Treated and Debarked. If you happen to come across a pallet with an MB symbol, which stands for Methyl Bromide, it has been fumigated and shouldn’t be used.

Creating a plan

The length of the planter is determined by how much wood you are able to salvage.

I recommend making a plan after taking the pallet apart because some of the wood pieces may break while deconstructing. For this planter box I made three equal length panels, held together with scrap pieces and the cutoffs from the planks that broke.


On the sides of the planter box I simply measured the gap between the front and back panels, and cut pieces to fit over the ends.

Before adding plants to the planter be sure to add a layer of plastic to contain the moisture from the soil. Unlike cedar the wood from the pallet is untreated and will rot over time from wet soil.

Find free pallets and more on your local site.


Originating from Roberts Creek B.C. Harrison Kamermans can be found scavenging the free section of

7 Responses to “DIY: pallet planter box”

Chris T

Another option would be to add a small angle on the sides so that it’s a bit wider at the top than the bottom. Cool project!


    Harrison Kamermans

    I toyed with that idea actually, but I wanted to create the simplest planter possible for the sake of a DIY. An angled design would be a nice variation from the typical rectangle planter boxes.

Aeden D

Simple, functional, and attractive. Thanks! A thought or two about plastic linings. Most plants need reasonable drainage. Also, between the wood and plastic various pests like wood ‘lice’ and slugs might find homes (with a food supply near at hand). Since the pallets are nearly free to build, maintaining them for years not so much an issue? My fifteen cents’ worth (adjusted for inflation).


Harrison Kamermans

Uh oh! You’re right! I drilled holes in the bottom of my other planters… but forgot to for this one. Funny thing is I forgot to at first for my previous planter box until after adding the soil. It’s a quick fix though, I just tipped the planter on it’s side drilled holes rather than empty out the soil.



The planter looks very nice and it looks quite easy to make, but I need to find where I can get those useable wooden pallet in my area first. I think I would also paint with different colors if I’m going to make one.

Thanks for the info.


    Harrison Kamermans

    Thanks for the compliments Johnny.

    You shouldn’t have a problem finding useable pallets, the quickest way to get your hands on one would be to ask a building supply store if they have any lying around from shipments. The fumigated DB pallets are actually no longer used, but a few may still be out there so be sure to double check.


Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find high
quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you!

Take care!!


Leave a Reply