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Making the Bland More Palletable

As a change from humorous posts, I thought I would share one of my recent home projects with you. We have a storage building behind our house. I really don't know what we would do without it since it houses so many things. But the side of the building facing the house is rather bland (read: blah!).

Becka has been looking for an old window to hang on that side of the building to make that space look a little better, something like what's in the picture below:

The last time we visited Megan and her family we went to a neat antique shop together. We bought very little, but we saw something there that gave us an idea for something we could do to our wall, instead of an old window.

A couple of weeks ago Becka told me she saw a sign for "free pallets" at Rainbow International on Rutherford Rd. For those of you from the Greenville area, it's next to Sharpshooters and kittycorner across the street from the Farmer's Market. I stopped by on my way home from school one day and picked up a fairly nice looking pallet.

That weekend I began to rearrange the slats to space them more evenly. Oh. My. Word! What a task that was! The nails had markings on them that make them almost like screws, and so pulling them out of that hard wood without splitting the cross pieces took a lot of finagling and work. Here's what the finished product looked like.

If you look carefully, you can see nail holes from where some of the cross pieces were before I moved them. I lined up the cross pieces in the back with those in the front so that I would end up with a space where I could put the dirt and plant the plants. In the picture below you can see the slats in the front and back of the pallet.

Many of the articles I read talked about stapling landscaping fabric to the top edges of each of the sections of the pallet, filling each section with dirt, and letting it hang. I was not excited about doing that. So I bought a length of 1 X 4, measured each section, and cut a piece that would fit into the bottom of it. Before putting those bottom pieces in place, I drilled three drainage holes in each. Here's what it looks like in place.

As I planned this project and worked on it, I read lots of articles online telling how others had done what I was attempting. I began to be fearful that since the slats were only 3 inches wide that that would not give enough depth for anything I would plant in the pallet, especially having given up some of the depth with the wood pieces I had put in the bottom of each section. So I went back to Rainbow for a second free pallet.

Unfortunately they did not offer me one that was 3 feet by 4 feet, like the first one I had gotten from them. The second one was a good 6 to 9 inches wider, but all I wanted was some of the cross pieces, which were also 3 inches wide. But then I decided that the extra width of the pallet was actually something fortunate. Instead of working hard to try to avoid splitting the slats as I removed the nails, I simply measured 3-foot widths on the slats, with the end markings falling on the inside of the frame at each end. And then I sawed off the slats with my circular saw and had to deal only with the nails in the center of each slat.

Here's what my first pallet looked like after I added the extra cross pieces.

The next thing was to add the landscaping fabric to each section. Most of what I saw online said to secure the cloth with a staple gun. Well, the hardwood of my pallet just laughed and laughed as it bent the staples! So back to Home Despot for a pack of carpet tacks. Once again I proved that there's no such thing as just one trip to the hardware store for any project.... I figured that since I had secured the bottom of each section with wood, all I needed to do was to keep the landscaping cloth in place until I could fill the sections with dirt. It would keep the soil from running out of the drainage holes I'd drilled, and the wooden bottom of each section would support the weight of the dirt and plants. Here's a picture of the cloth in place.

The next thing to do was to mount the pallet to the wall. My son Mark came to help me. We made sure the 3-foot long 2 X 2 I was using at the bottom was level, and then drilled holes and put in long screws that went into the uprights inside the building. Then we held the pallet in place and marked where we needed to put the 3 inch corner braces. We got those securely screwed into the building's frame also. Here's what the wall supports looked like before we put the pallet in place.

When I was placing the cross pieces on the back side of the pallet, I made sure I had one that I could use to put a couple of screws in for additional support.

Here's the empty pallet in place.

Once the pallet was mounted, I filled all the sections with Miracle-Gro potting soil. It took not quite all of two 25-quart bags.

That afternoon I bought some plants and planted them strategically. Here's what it looked like planted with the Johnny Jump Ups, peppermint, creeping rosemary, thyme, and chives I had bought and a strawberry plant and several mother hens and chicks that I transplanted from our garden.

Since then I planted some seeds for radishes and leaf lettuce. Here's a picture of the pallet this morning. Looking at the picture of the initial planting compared to today's shot, I'm surprised to see how much things have grown already!

We already have quite a pallet of color, and I look forward to seeing how it will look when the lettuce gets bigger and adds its color to the mix.

I am pleased with how it turned out. The building was "palletable," but that has definitely made it more palatable. (The spelling error in the title of this post was intentional, for those who aren't used to my punning.) If I were to do the project again, I would make things more open by having one fewer row.

I hope some of you will think about doing something like this. It was a fun project, and we enjoy seeing it out our kitchen window.

I'll be back at you soon with some humor.


"If you want to put the hand of the lost into the hand of the Savior, you actually have to get close enough to get hurt." — Rosaria Butterfield

=^..^= =^..^=

I'm not just a gardener. I'm a Plant Manager.

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8 Comments on “Making the Bland More Palletable”

  1. #1 Cathy Lane
    on Sep 23rd, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Great idea for covering an otherwise blah area. Looks nice. I think I will go buy a building so I can make one!!

  2. #2 Rob
    on Sep 23rd, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Ha, Cathy! It would probably be against the HOA regs in your new neighborhood. 🙂

  3. #3 Jonathan
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Always found pallets insanely difficult to take apart.
    Hey but now you’re gardening vertically.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 7:00 am

    I am indeed gardening vertically, Jonathan! Many of the sites I beheld called it “vertical,” “upright,” “recycled,” and even “upcycled” gardening. It’s an interesting concept. I am definitely watering it more than the rest of my garden – even more than the containers.

  5. #5 Pam Campbell
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Looks great! You should give up your day job.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 11:29 am

    What if I enjoy my day job way more, Pam? The pallet is one of those things you do for love, not money. 😀

  7. #7 Barbara H.
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    It looks great! My husband has found that phenomenon with hardware stores, too – I don’t think any project has been taken care of in just one trip.

  8. #8 Paul
    on Sep 24th, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    That reminds me of a man who was real dedicated to his job. He set his best friend on fire. When questioned by the police, he stated he misunderstood what his manager wanted. He thought he wanted him to get his pal lit.

    Almost as bad as the Spanish fire chief who was also dedicated to his job, said after he arrived at the scene. I named my first son Hosea and the second Hoseb.