10 Ways to Use Pallets in Your Backyard

A wood pallet being sanded.

One of the most enjoyable things to do in your backyard is to create something that you can use without having spent any money. One way to do this is with pallets. Pallets are often very easy to come by with many home improvement stores and large manufacturing companies simply tossing them in the garbage. Grabbing this free wood is not only super beneficial to your pocketbook, but it's also very helpful to the environment since you're keeping that wood from landfills and not purchasing lumber from other sources. Repurposing pallets does seem like a win in so many ways—that is if you can come up with ways to use them. Fortunately, we've got a lot of ideas for you. Here's our top 10.

1. Compost Pallet Bin

Starting a compost bin is one of the first things to do when getting serious about a garden, and making one from pallets is a smart and inexpensive way to do it. To create the bin, use one pallet as your floor, and four others for the sides. Lining the inside with chicken wire will help keep pests out. Attaching the pallets with hinges will allow you to open it for easier access to your compost.

2. Pallet Potting Table

A potting table made of pallets.

Using two pallets, you can easily create a functional and inexpensive potting table. Better yet, if you have a small backyard where space is precious, you can create a hanging pallet potting table so that it folds up out of the way. To create a gardening table that stands alone, connect the two pallets together—think of them like a sandwich—and then just add a solid wood top. For a hanging potting table, attach one pallet to the other with hinges. Next, hang it on the outside wall of your home or shed so that the pallets will open and close with one extending out as the table and the other serving as the back where garden tools can be stored. Lastly, add chain and hooks so that you can fold it up when it's not in use.

3. Pallet Swing Bed

A swing bed in your backyard—how much fun that would be? It's possible if you have two pallets, an old mattress, some rope, and a tree with a great branch to hang it from. To create your pallet bed, attach the two pallets together with some metal fasteners to create the bed frame. Put a twin or futon mattress on top, add rope, put it in a sturdy tree and voila! It's your very own swinging bed in a tree.

4. Garden in a Pallet

A pallet with flowers planted in it.

With pallets, you can keep the garden on the ground or stand it up, depending on the space you have. If you're going to create a vertical plant garden, use a staple gun and landscaping material to hold your soil and plants in place. If you're placing it on the ground as a small raised garden box, place cardboard or landscaping material beneath it to help keep weeds out. Before adding plants, consider painting your pallets if you want them to give your backyard a pop of color.

5. A Palatable Chicken Coop

A great use of pallets when you have chickens in the backyard is to make a chicken coop with them. You can be as imaginative or as straightforward as you want to be in designing it. All you need are a few pallets for the floor and the walls and a "bed" to nest in from around your house, such as an old dresser drawer. Fill in the gaps in the pallets with some hay or dead grass to keep it warm. You'll need some shingles and perhaps a few other pieces of scrap wood to finish it up, but it will still be a lot less expensive and better for the environment than buying a pre-built coop.

6. Backyard Furniture

A stack of pallets and a pallet bench.

There are so many furniture pieces that you can make with old pallets that your imagination is the only limitation. Some may require you to pull the pallets a part a little (or a lot), but many furniture items can be made by keeping them whole, too. You can make some great pallet chairs by using a pallet for the seat and one for the back, and then adding some wood for the footing. Or, make a coffee table using a pallet as the top and some 4x4 pieces as legs.

7. Pallet Fence

Depending on what it is you're trying to keep in or out of your yard, a pallet fence may be just what you need. Adding some chicken coop wire can help if some of the spacing is too wide for animals to make their way through. Pulling the pallets apart and reconstructing them in a way that makes them into fence panels is also an alternative to paying for expensive already made panels.

8. Deck of Pallets

A deck of painted pallets with adirondack chairs.

Adding a deck can be an expensive project, but if you use pallets you can cut the cost by a lot. Using the pallets as a base so that the deck isn't sitting directly on the ground, and covering them with plywood is one option. Another is to take the pallets apart and use the wood as your flooring and other pallets or other wood as the footing. Either way, with a little imagination a pallet deck can look beautiful.

9. Pergola

Building your own pergola in your backyard can be rather easy and inexpensive when upcycling old wood pallets. Before you put them up, sand, stain, or paint them as it'll be easier than having to do it once they're up. You'll also need other wood for supports, such as 2x4's or 2x6's.

10. Playhouse

If you have children, creating a place for them to play that's just for them can be fun for everyone, especially if they get to help. Grab paper and pens and design the playhouse before you start so that you have an idea of how many pallets you'll need and how they'll be attached. Remember that the pallets don't have to stay together—you can take them apart and use the wood in ways that wouldn't have worked with the full pallets intact. For safety's sake, be sure to pull any nails that may snag clothes or skin and sand rough surfaces. Painting the pallet playhouse with chalk paint would allow for your kids to have even more entertainment with their little house.