Thursday 24 January 2013

DIY Pallet Living Wall

Living walls, or vertical gardens, are the latest great design craze and have been popping up all over the place. While they are increasingly popular in businesses and public areas, these living works of art are also especially handy for people living in small spaces where space for plants is limited. Though they look gorgeous, aesthetics aren’t the only reason for putting up one of these babies: having plenty of green plants around can also reduce stress, increase wellbeing, purify and humidify the air, and dampen noise pollution! Getting a living wall professionally designed and installed can cost a fortune… luckily, this DIY version is quick, easy, and cheap! 

DIY Breakdown:
The Difficulty: Medium – you need to be familiar with some basic tools, and a considerable amount of strength is needed when things get heavy
The Time Commitment: Done in a day
The Look: Rustic and chunky, modern and on-trend
The Cost: Less than $100 (you’ll spend the most on plants)
Would I do it Again? Absolutely.

What you’ll need:
- Shipping Pallet (we got ours on the side of the road, outside a warehouse)
- Hammer
- Nails
- Thin wood or plastic roughly the size of the back of the pallet
- Landscaping fabric
- Plastic sheeting
- Staple gun
- Indoor potting soil
- Plants
- 3inch eyehooks
- Heavy weight bearing metal chain

Step 1:
Remove the slats from the top of the pallet. This can be a little tricky, but patience and creativity will get you there!
Step 2:
Cover the back of the pallet with the thin piece of wood, and nail into place. Then, cover the entire back of the pallet with the plastic sheeting and use the staple gun to secure. This will protect your walls from moisture!
Step 3:
Cover the back again, but this time with a double layer of landscaping fabric. This is mainly for aesthetic reasons, as the plastic is pretty ugly!
Step 4:
Measure where you want your slats to sit on the pallet. You probably won’t use all of the slats – try to leave at least 2.5 inches between each slat to make planting easier.  Mark where each slat will go with a pencil, but don’t nail them down yet!
Step 5:
Create the dirt pockets.  Using landscaping fabric, create a pocket on the underside of each slat. This is easiest when the slats haven’t been nailed down yet. We cut a strip of landscaping fabric, doubled it up, and stapled it first to the back of one slat. Then, we placed the slat down where we made pencil marks, and the stapled the other side of the landscaping fabric to the pallet. Repeat for each section. Make sure your pockets are deep enough that they will hold enough dirt, but not so deep that they will droop too much into the space below!
Step 6:
Nail down your slats!
Step 7:
Fill your pockets with potting soil, and start planting! We recommend doing this with the pallet leaning against the wall so that it is almost vertical.
Tip: Don’t overfill the pockets – the dirt should only come up to the top of each wood slat. Place the roots of each plant into the dirt on an angle and pack them in tightly.
Step 8:
Hang your living wall! This is optional, as they would look equally good propped up. We chose to hang ours using 3inch eyehooks and a heavy-duty chain. If you do hang your living wall, be sure to drill into studs so that the weight of the garden doesn’t rip out your drywall.

That’s it! Enjoy your new recycled living wall!


  1. Does the wood get moldy? Also, I realize you wouldn't want to drench your plants each time you water, but is there a way to keep water from dripping on the floor?

    1. No mold, as it says in the instructions, I used 2 or 3 layers of vapor barrier and landscape fabric on the back, so nothing can get past that. Also the water does not drip as I carefully water each one just enough to moisten the soil.

      We have had it on our wall now for over a month and no problems so far! Other than the cat trying to destroy it ;)

      Cheers! Thanks for looking :)

  2. I love this. Thank you for the detailed instructions. I'm going to try one with succulents and one with strawberries outside.

  3. Fantastic idea. I will steal it for my screened porch. Please tell me where you got the ginormous spoon!

    1. The spoon came from Pier One!

  4. Gorgeous! I´ve seen some living walls and they are so nice, they keep your attention on sth good! Nature is good!
    Happy anniversary Handimania!

  5. What plants have you planted?

  6. I love this! I wonder if I could do this myself? How much landscaping fabric did you use? We live almost 30 miles from the nearest store and I need to get enough, without over buying. Did you mix perlite in with your potting soil? My plan is to make this ASAP and keep indoors until safe to put outside, summer outside, then return indoors in the fall to hang in my south facing foyer. It should be full and lush by then!

  7. Can you tell us what kind of plants you used for this? They look so nice but I'm a beginner so I'm not to knowledgeable on all the varieties. :)

    1. Hey there! We used a variety of "low light tropicals" from our local garden centre :) Basically anything that doesn't get too big and can be considered a "houseplant" will be ok in here.

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  11. Love love love this! How well would it work for a herb garden?

  12. Love love love this! How well would it work for a herb garden?

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  23. If you were going to hang this herb garden outside, would you need to varnish it or otherwise weather protect it?

  24. Beautiful, I liked your pallet living wall, this is so amazing. Great thanks for sharing the steps of making it. This is so simple. Keep sharing!


  25. Awesome pallet living wall DIY project. Looks really clear to follow.

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  30. Nice project. I have other plans for the pallet. I will build a nice koi pond madeup of wooden pallet, a nice dog house and chicken coop liquidation pallets

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