If you’re looking for a creative way to grow some herbs in your backyard without taking up a lot of space or breaking the bank, then look no further! This DIY pallet herb garden is an easy-to-assemble project that can turn an extra wood pallet into a beautiful vertical display of fragrant basil and oregano or sweet smelling thyme and rosemary.
I love to cook with fresh herbs. Which means I grow a lot of them in my garden.
But I have always wanted to plant them closer to the house to make them easier to pick when I need them.
So as part of my deck makeover a few years ago, I decided to include a new herb garden as part of the plan.
However, there were a couple of obstacles to overcome.
I don’t have a lot of room to put a herb garden near the house.
And I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money putting it up.
I figured installing a vertical herb garden would solve the space issue.
And using a pallet would take care of both the time and money problem.
Pallet garden issues
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But most of the pallet herb garden designs I have seen involve enclosing the pallet somehow and filling it with dirt.
Which sounds like a lot of work!
And I just didn’t think it would be that successful as a garden:
- The space between the front and the back of the pallet isn’t large enough for plants. It seems like the soil would dry out really fast, so keeping them well watered would be an issue.
- The plants on the bottom of the pallet wouldn’t get enough light.
- The pallet wood isn’t that thick and it wouldn’t take very long to start rotting. Which means having to re-build the herb garden after a couple of years…definitely too much work!
- Many pallets are pressure treated with chemicals that can leach into the soil, and I don’t want to eat herbs that had been exposed to that.
- I don’t really like the look of pallets (especially when they’re installed right by the back door.)
So I decided to go with a different design which:
- Uses the pallet as the structure, but doesn’t have the soil touching it.
- Is painted so it looks nicer.
- Has window boxes hanging from the slats to hold the herbs. Which also look nice and won’t rot.
And now that I’ve had it for a few years, I can say this design is still going strong.
- spray paint. I used 4 colors of blue.
- deck screws
- window boxes (preferably with railing hooks)*
- cordless drill or screwdriver
How to make a DIY pallet herb garden
1 | Paint the pallet
To go with my deck decor, I went with 4 tones of blue spray paint, and created an ombre effect on the pallet.
Of course this step isn’t absolutely necessary. You could leave the pallet the way it is. Or just paint it one color to make things easier.
But if you want to do the ombre effect, start by painting the bottom couple of boards with the darkest blue paint.
Then paint the next 2 or 3 boards with the next darkest color.
Paint the next 2 or 3 boards with the second lightest color.
And finish the top 2 or 3 boards with the lightest color.
Wait for an hour or so to let it dry, then turn the pallet over and paint the other side the same way.
2 | Install the pallet herb garden frame
Installing the pallet herb garden frame was easy.
Just use deck screws to attach one side of the pallet to a fence post, arbor post or even a wall.
Make sure the pallet slats are running horizontally (not vertically). Otherwise, it will be harder to hang the window boxes.
Mine actually does double-duty as a trellis for the rose that is growing behind it.
3 | Plant the herbs
Next, I planted the herbs in these window boxes*.
You could do this after they are hung on the pallet. But I didn’t want to get dirt all over my deck.
If you’re not sure what to plant in your window boxes, try these easy to grow herbs.
Adding plant labels will help you remember which herbs you planted where.
4 | Hang the herbs on the pallet
The final step was to hang the window boxes on the pallet.
I put mine up in a zigzag pattern so that the higher boxes aren’t blocking the sun (and rain) for the lower ones.
My window boxes came with hooks which are meant for hanging on railings.
But also work for hanging the planters over the slats on the pallet. (And make them easy to take down if you need to.)
However, if yours don’t have hooks, you can screw them directly onto the pallet slats.
Of course, you could also use this vertical garden for growing vegetables with smaller root systems like lettuce (carrots probably not so much).
Or planting flowers if you just want it to look pretty.
And installing an automatic watering system really helps to keep them growing well.
Other herb garden ideas you might like
- 7 creative vertical herb garden ideas
- How to store parsley, cilantro and other fresh herbs longer
- Best easy to grow herbs for your garden
Have comments or questions on our easy DIY pallet herb garden? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on May 13, 2019 but was updated with new content on March 30, 2023.