Recycled Pallet Projects, Part 2: Repurposing Shipping Pallets in Your Outdoor Space

A stack of pallets ready to be repurposed.

This is the second installment of our Recycled Pallet Projects series.

Spring has sprung, and it is time for outdoor projects to begin. If you aren’t afraid of rolling up your sleeves and flexing a little muscle, than pallet projects are the perfect way to spruce up your backyard without breaking the bank. When my three girls and I decided to take on a backyard makeover project we knew it had to be as frugally as possible. It was our aim to tackle our acre yard one project at a time. Everything from rabbit hutches to patio furniture and decking was on the list. It dawned on us one day, when driving by a local manufacturing facility, that wood pallets were the answer. All we needed to do was to get our hands on about 200 pallets, and we would be set.

We knew we would be able to find some free pallets if we looked hard enough. These things get dumped all the time. Unfortunately, we would have to pay someone to pick them up because there was no way they were going to fit in the Volvo! So far, we have spent a mere $40 for delivery of 90 pallets and the first project is well underway. With crowbars in hand and our circular saw fired up, we are ready to start creating! Here are two fun and creative ways that you can use pallets to transform your outdoor living space on a dime.

Pallet Vertical Garden

With one pallet, a roll of landscaping paper, some sandpaper, potting soil and a staple gun, an attractive vertical garden will come to life. Vertical gardens look fabulous on patios, balconies, or just hanging around in your garden. If your pallet doesn't have a lot of support in the back, add a couple of supporting boards, scrap wood works fine. Cover the back, the sides and one end of the pallet with landscape paper, and staple it in place. Sand down any rough edges and then fill the interior of the pallet with soil. Be sure to press the soil down firmly between the slats, leaving enough room to plant. Start planting at the bottom of the pallet and work your way to the top. Plants such as succulents, lettuce or ground covers do well in vertical gardens. If you are into color, paint or stain your pallet before planting.

Rolling Outdoor Pallet Table

With the retail price of outdoor furniture skyrocketing, an outdoor pallet table on wheels makes a lovely addition to your deck, patio or sunroom. Start with two wooden pallets, one 4x4 piece of lumber, and 4 caster wheels. You will also need some “L”- brackets and some black stain (or whatever color you want). This pallet table is easy to build and looks super stylish when finished. If your pallet is extremely rough, as some are, spend a few minutes sanding before you start. Decide how tall you want your table to be and cut 4 legs from your 4x4. Attach the legs to the top of one pallet and the underside of the other with the brackets. Make sure everything is as square and level as you can, and don't make the legs any more that a foot or so, or stability will become an issue. You will have a stacked effect, with storage space between the pallets. Screw down your caster wheels on the bottom and apply your stain. What could be easier?

Tips for Working with Pallets

  • Wear safety protection when working with power tools
  • Use caution when removing old nails and taking apart pallets
  • Paint or stain pallets used in outdoor projects to extend their weather resistance
  • Choose pallets with the least nails
  • Pass on wood pallets that are extra heavy or have a strong odor
  • Use pallets that have not been chemically treated to grow food crops
  • Scrub all pallet wood with soap and water and allow it to dry thoroughly
  • Do not use pallets to hold children’s toys or to make children’s furniture