We love a good DIY job - not only does it allow you to learn new skills, but you're left with a one of a kind piece. Add an eco-friendly cherry on top by using pallet ideas to recycle these ubiquitous wooden creates into stylish garden storage and furniture.
Of all the budget garden ideas out there, using pallets is one of the most on trend. Plus, they're incredibly versatile, meaning you're sure to find a project which fits your skill level.
Wood pallets are commonly used in the retail industry to transport goods, but can often end up in landfills. Instead of allowing this to happen, transform the humble pallet into affordable and good-looking garden ideas.
Pallet ideas to add DIY style to your garden
From adorable planters to chic garden furniture, there are so many ways you can put a wooden pallet to good use.
1. Create stylish shelves
Shelving units are practically tailor made to come from pallet ideas. Paint to blend in with your fence or wall and then arrange vertically and hang securely before stacking with pots planted with herbs for a pretty and practical outdoor wall decor ideas.
To protect your new shelving, take care in the painting step. 'When painting onto natural wood ensure the surface is clean by wiping with a damp cloth soaked in methylated spirit,' advises Matthew Brown, Technical Consultant, Sadolin (opens in new tab) & Sandtex (opens in new tab). 'Next use an appropriate primer that will provide a foundation for the paint to sit on. Applying an undercoat is a good idea to provide a medium film, it gives the new colour opacity and helps to cover over previously painted wood.'
'It is still very important to take into account weather conditions when decorating, not only whilst doing the job but also during drying/curing times. For example, in early Spring, the mornings can be damp and the evenings can still see dramatic temperature drops increasing humidity levels which at best, will slow down drying times but at worst and can allow moisture to get trapped in the film coating.'
'In the height of summer, direct sunshine can create very hot conditions, particularly on dark colours/surfaces so if possible, avoid decorating in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day if you are able to decorate in better shadier conditions later on.'
2. Build a tiered garden table
Coffee tables are a must in achieving that louche and relaxed garden party vibe. Layer two pallets on top of each other to gain extra height. A couple of upturned solid-based boxes can be placed in the middle to use as a centrepiece display.
While you could nail all this together, this type of garden furniture ideas are also something which can be thrown together as and when needed. Perfect for an ad hoc gathering in the garden!
3. Design a bespoke storage unit
An old pallet makes the perfect wall display and storage combo - simply remove sections of the panels to create handy shelves.
Use it to hang small tools, organise gardening essentials such as twine, and keep seedling pots close to hand. Cup hooks and and S hooks make ideal fixed and movable holders.
4. Make a multi-purpose planter
One of the most popular pallet ideas is to transform your wooden crates into a planter. Take things a step further by doubling it up as a two-in-one planter and privacy screen, this design by My Thrifty Life for ManoMano (opens in new tab).
The screen can be trained with climbing plants for even more privacy. Another idea is to use this tall planter to help create garden zones.
5. Use offcuts for small projects
It's not all about the big projects. In some of the larger DIY jobs you'll be left with wooden offcuts. Instead of throwing these out or chucking in the wood chipper for compost, get creative and think about free garden ideas.
A small box can be easily knocked up with a hammer and a few nails and used to display pretty posies in vases.
6. Fit a multi-functional space
Save on space with a vertical garden, flower bench and shelf in one. To create a slimline design like this, all your need is a couple of pallets and a simple stone slab to act as the top.
You can place plants on the top, hanging from the boards in front, and even at the sides.
7. Put together a low-level pallet table
There’s no denying that the best garden furniture can be expensive. So if you’re looking for a way to save money then why not consider making your own with recycled materials? You’ll get a lovely bespoke product and you’ll help the environment in the process.
‘Rustic low level picnic tables are very on trend for gardens and events,' says designer Nikkita Palmer (opens in new tab). 'These can be made in several ways, either by simply stacking pallets on top of one another, leaving rustic or painting with garden paint (which you can now get in such a wide range of beautiful colours), or by using the pallet boards to make a specially designed piece.’
8. Knock up a simple planter
,‘This reclaimed pallet planter is made using a euro pallet (usually a piece that’s left over from other projects),' says Nikkita. 'Especially if you’re just using the pallet boards elsewhere, this is great for herbs – drill some drainage holes for bedding plants outdoors.'
‘We line ours with a durable plastic lining, but heavy duty garden sacks would also work inside.’
9. Create impact with a corner sofa
You'll need to prise your pallets apart to build this outdoor take on a corner sofa, and nail them to a wooden framework. But this classy look is a masterclass in how to make pallet furniture and take your timber to the next level.
Invest in some chunky outdoor seat cushions for comfort and a more professional finish – no one would know it wasn't a bought from a high-end store.
10. Hang a vertical pallet garden
Forget horizontal garden landscaping. Attach a few wooden pallets together and create a wonderful vertical plant feature.
It's a lovely way to hang plants if you're limited with space in your outdoor area, as many can be showcased within a small surface area. This means there's more room to play with in the rest of the garden.
11. Craft statement lanterns
‘If you’re feeling creative and are a bit more advanced in pallet making projects, use the timber to create these wooden lanterns which are great outdoors, for all seasons and occasions,’ says Nikkita.
‘These can also be finished in a range of finishes, we love Osmo oil-tinted range.’
12. Build a pallet bench around a tree
Wooden pallets can be taken apart to create a little bench or seat, like this one nestled under a tree. Rather than learning how to buy outdoor furniture, you're creating a bespoke option that will fit like a glove.
It's a lovely way to draw attention to a statement tree in your garden, not to mention it's a cosy little reading spot.
13. Display a pretty rockery
For a rustic container, lay your pallet on the floor. Angling it slightly will allow water to run down so plants won't get waterlogged. Create a base beneath with membrane and allow plants to poke up between the slats.
Alpine and rockery perennials look especially beautiful in pallet containers and can bring gorgeous colour to a space. Try dianthus and phlox subulata, sedums and succulents as a starting point.
14. Make an alfresco bar
Whether it’s for a summer party of a sunny solo afternoon in the sunshine, a garden bar has so many uses. If you don’t want to splash out and buy one, you can make one yourself using durable wooden pallets.
Our handy guide shows how to make a DIY pallet bar for as little as £35.
15. Use pallets for a handy cart
Looking for pallet ideas for entertaining? A multi-functional garden cart is 'ideal as a potting table or for adding style to your BBQ set up,' says Nikkita.
It's also a gorgeous talking point for the garden, albeit a more complex build than a simple table of shelf. If you're feeling brave, Nikkita offers a step-by-step guide on how to make one yourself in her book, Pallet Style.
16. Display plants on ladder-style shelving
You've probably seen the indoor ladder shelves that have been all over Instagram the past few years. But have you ever considered taking the incredibly practical storage solution outside?
This pallet idea turns the humble structure into garden shelves for storing herbs, plants or tools. These shelves are also incredibly useful for gardening, as they can be used as a repotting surface, or for resting tools on.
17. Add castors for an indoor-outdoor coffee table
For this simple pallet ideas, you'll need to cut a pallet in half, stack one piece on top of the other, then add offcuts of board on top for a cute mosaic effect.
Nail and glue together and you have a neat little cotter or side table, which can be made mobile with castors - perfect for bringing in and out as needed. It can also be used to transport heavy pots around the garden.
What can I make with one pallet?
Not every DIY pallet idea requires hours of labour and a high skill level. A single pallet offers plenty of inspiration to get busy with. Shelving can be created from just one pallet. Similarly, a simple planter can be made from just one. Lay it on the ground for a rockery style garden. Use as as a low-level table. We could go on! You're only limited by your ability, time and how much effort you want to put in.
Can you use a pallet for a garden?
There are so many pallet ideas to add individualistic interest to your garden. You can make anything from pretty to lanterns and simple boxes right the way up to garden bars and corner sofa sets. Save any pallets you get, and don't be afraid to ask around friends and family to see if anyone has some knocking around in a shed or garage. Chances are they'll be glad to get it off their hands, and you've got plenty of materials for your projects!
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