Using wood pallets for plant display and support can be a low-cost option for creating a vertical garden. Wood pallets can also be re-constructed into garden benches. You already knew that, right?
I knew that, too, before visiting Italy, but I hadn’t seen so much repurposing of wood pallets for use with plants in public spaces. This blog post shows some ways wood pallets have been put into productive use in small towns in Tuscany.
Wood pallets as vertical gardens for small spaces
Small businesses use wood pallets to make their storefronts more attractive. The pallets don’t need much construction work to re-fit them as vertical gardens. When placed by a shop’s entrance, the pallet-gardens of living plants, and especially flowers (which are mood enhancers), give a signal to shoppers that the store is a good place to visit.
The vertical gardens created with wood pallets are usually stained or painted to match or complement other parts of the storefront, and they always look good.
They also look pretty easy to set up. A homeowner, or apartment renter, or condo-dweller, who has a narrow planting space could use wood pallets in a similar way to create a vertical garden for food plants.
In these vertical gardens, the planting spaces are not packed solid with potting mix (I checked). Instead, plants are in individual pots. This would make replacing mature/finished plants an easy task. Just replace a pot containing an old plant with a pot containing a younger, less mature plant!
Small crops that could grow in the small spaces in this plant-support system include salad greens, small herbs, strawberries, and edible flowers.
One of our local, posh restaurants has its sign mounted on stacked wood pallets. The wood has been sanded, then either stained or painted with chalk-paint (I can’t decide which), then distressed by sanding again.
The stacked pallets include a couple of wood planting boxes, complete with the living plants that we find so appealing, wedged between slats. It looks much more elegant than it sounds. See the image in this post for La Briciola Ristorante.
The particular version pictured below doesn’t allow for as many plants as the ones above, but gardeners are creative. There is probably a way to increase the number of planting boxes supported by the pallets.
Wood pallet benches as plant supports
The red bench made from wood pallets in the “inset image” at the top of this blog post is one of many brightly painted benches in the town of Chianciano. We first saw them last summer, and they still are all over town this summer.
The benches create cheerful spots of color in the mostly-stone town, and each one supports a container-plant display.
The overall impression created is one of welcome. I suspect that was the the goal.
Another wood pallet bench in the same town isn’t brightly painted, but it supports container plants in a completely different way. The plants are in a “holder” along the top of the back, leaving more room for people to sit on the bench!
The back of the bench is supported by a post, so any sitters who want to rest against the back can do so without tipping over. It’s a pretty clever design, and space for plants is a great addition.
The bench also provides advertising space for the store it sits across the sidewalk from. The name of the shop is stenciled across the upper piece of wood on the bench’s back. It is possible, though, to create your own garden logo to stencil across that upper piece of wood. You can advertise your personal garden philosophy instead of a store.
Are you short on garden space? One or more of these wood pallet creations may spark an idea of a way to create more space for garden crops in your own yard. If repurposed wood pallets work for these towns in Tuscany, for shops and for restaurants that serve Amazing Food, then they might be ok for suburban Atlanta, or Birmingham, or Laffayette.
Best wishes for great — and creative — gardening!