In urban spaces like New York City and Boston, space is at a premium, and more people than ever are choosing downtown apartments over suburban homes. The problem is, many of these apartments lack back yards, leaving tenants and homeowners with nowhere to plant fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s not just apartments, either. The average size of a yard in an America home has shrunk significantly over the last few years, according to research.

As a result, more people are investing in pallet gardens — build-your-own gardens made from wooden frames that look great on balconies and patios. Here’s how to create one of your own.

What is a Pallet Garden?

Think of a pallet garden as a back yard on a wooden frame — a place you can plant fruit and vegetables (or flowers) in a small space. These vertical gardens can add a splash of color to any balcony or patio and are great for sustainability, too. Here are some of the benefits of pallet gardens:

  • You can grow fresh fruit and vegetables on your wooden pallet.
  • The wooden frames require no assembly.
  • There’s no place for weeds to grow.

What You Need

To create your own pallet garden, you will need a wooden shipping pallet in the size of your choice. (You’ll find a whole range of them here.) Choose a sturdy, smooth pallet made from high-quality wood. A pallet with wood at the bottom will prevent soil from falling out of the bottom. Alternatively, add a think layer of plywood to the bottom of your pallet.

“Make sure it’s cleaned off and you’ve inspected it for any stray nails or splintered wood,” says Growing a Greener World. “It’s a good idea at this point to wear a sturdy pair of gloves while inspecting and cleaning the pallet.”

You will also need soil, a wooden marker, and fruits, veggies, or flowers of your choice.

Find the Perfect Location for Your Pallet Garden

A sunny spot with plenty of natural light is the best place for your pallet garden. This will help your fruits, vegetables, and flowers to grow. A balcony or patio is the perfect location.

Attach Your Pallet Garden to the Wall

You can either attach your wooden pallet to a wall using L-brackets or rest it against a sturdy surface. The choice is yours.

Add Soil to Your Pallet

Next, add soil to the openings in your pallet. You will need to fill the openings about three-quarters of the way full.

Add Your Plants

Add your fruits and vegetables (or flowers) to the soil, taking care not to damage them. Don’t try to cram too many items into your pallet as they need space to grow.

Label Your Pallet

Use your marker to label the fruits, veggies, and flowers in your pallet.

Then, care for your pallet garden like you would with a regular back yard. Water your fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, and add more soil if needed.

A pallet garden is a great way to grow plants, fruits, and vegetables if you lack space in your home. All you need is a decent wooden pallet — the kind that manufacturers use to transport products — some soil, and a marker pen.

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