Home & Garden

DIY project: Make your own pallet wall planter

By: Isabelle Palmer

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

DIY project: Make your own pallet wall planter

By: Isabelle Palmer
If you're restricted in terms of space, but yearn for a spot of greenery, then a wall planter is an efficient way to add some plants without taking up too much room. Instead of growing plants conventionally, vertical planting allows you to grow upward and gives plenty of scope for creative planting ideas.

"Green walls" are getting more and more popular, as people look for more eco-friendly ways to garden and utilize space. The world's largest green wall, known as the Bio-Lung, was unveiled at the World Expo 2005 in Japan. At 480ft (150m) long, 50ft (15m) high, and containing a total of 200,000 plants made up of 200 different species, it was a representation of how plants can act as the lungs of a city. Green walls help reduce pollution and rainwater run-off, as well as effectively insulating buildings and providing a habitat for wildlife.

Create your own green wall
You can cover walls with a living green blanket, either by growing plants on lightweight structures or on ready-planted wall panels that include a water supply for keeping the plants hydrated and blossoming. There are also smaller modular systems available that can be used to grow vegetables and herbs, as long as they are well irrigated. Although you can buy vertical planters from specialty suppliers, it's easy to make your own using reclaimed materials such as this wooden pallet. You may want to stain or paint the pallet first, but remember that it won't then be suitable for growing edibles. I have planted heathers in beautiful shades of pink and purple in this pallet.

Take a look at a larger image of the finished pallet wall planter.

What you need
• Good-quality wooden pallet (painting or staining optional)
• Landscape material
• Pair of scissors
• Large stapler
• 2 large bags of potting mix
• 12 heather plants (using a mixture of green ericas and purple callunas)

1. First you will need to cover the bottom, back, and sides of the pallet with the landscape material. Lay out the material and wrap it across the back of the pallet from one side to the other. Do this twice so that you have a double layer. Cut away the excess side, but make sure that you leave a flap of material to cover over the bottom end, which will eventually become the base of the pallet.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find easy-to-follow instructions for completing your pallet wall planter, plus great planting tips on page 2.

2. Pull the material taut and staple the material to the back and sides of the pallet. Fold a seam along the edges facing the front to finish it off. Ensure that you leave the top of the pallet open because you will want to plant up this space.

3. Lay the pallet on the ground and fill the opening at the top with potting mix. Plant up this section first by sliding in the heathers and packing them in very tightly.

4. Fill in the gaps between all the other slats with more potting mix, leaving enough room for the heather plants. Smooth out the potting mix ready for planting.

5. Plant the heathers tightly in the gaps between the slats, making sure you completely cover every opening.

6. Water thoroughly and leave for two weeks so that the plants root well and will be held securely. Once the plants have taken root, lean the planter against a wall.

Where to place your wall planter
Think carefully about the right location for your planter by making sure that it will receive enough sun and not be disturbed by too much wind. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, check that you can reach the planter easily for feeding and watering purposes, and then remember to water it regularly and evenly.

More planting tips
Planting in the vertical dimension provides a great opportunity to grow trailing plants such as ferns and ivies, as well as drought-tolerant succulents like sedums and sempervivums. You may also wish to grow herbs such as thyme, oregano, and marjoram in the planter.

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Excerpted from The Balcony Gardener, copyright 2012 by Isabelle Palmer. Used by permission of CICO Books.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

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DIY project: Make your own pallet wall planter