How to Make Raised Beds Out of Pallets


Raised beds allow you to create your own perfect blend of garden soil with good drainage, and they can be easier to work in for people who can't---or don't want to---spend hours on their knees pulling weeds. Buying brand new lumber to build the raised beds can get expensive, especially if you want to line your entire backyard with raised beds. Recycling old shipping pallets into raised beds is not only easy on the wallet but is also environmentally friendly.

Step 1

Collect old wood shipping pallets. Many big box stores, grocery stores and other places of business get their products delivered on wooden pallets, and they may be willing to give them away to anyone who asks, especially if the pallets are damaged and cannot be reused for shipping. Factories and landfills are other good places to look for pallets. Always ask permission before taking pallets; even if they look abandoned, the business may be planning on reusing them, or may have offered them to somebody else. If you have a choice, look for pallets made of hardwood, since they will last longer and be easier to work with.

Step 2

Use a pry bar or the claw end of a hammer to carefully pry apart the pallet. The wood may want to split around the nail, so take your time and work carefully. If you can't pry the boards apart without the wood splitting, saw the boards off with a hand saw or circular saw. Avoid sawing through nails.

Step 3

Trim any damaged, splintering or rough ends of the boards with a saw.

Step 4

Sort the wood into like-sized pieces. You will be using the boards to build squares or rectangles that are two board-widths tall. As an example, let's say we are building a raised bed that is four feet long and two feet wide, so we will need four four-foot boards and four two-foot boards, plus shorter pieces for reinforcements.

Step 5

Lay two four-foot boards flat on the ground side by side and measure their combined width. Use a saw to cut a piece of wood that long. Nail the reinforcement across the two four-foot boards flush with the edge of one of the short ends.

Step 6

Repeat step five to create another four-foot section and two two-foot sections.

Step 7

Arrange the sections to create a rectangle, making sure a reinforced end is on the inside of each corner

Step 8

Nail the sections together, driving the nail through the reinforcement.

Step 9

Stretch chicken wire across one end of the raised bed and attach it with a staple gun. This is an optional step that will help keep moles and other burrowing animals out of your garden, although it may also limit which root vegetables you can grow.

Step 10

Lay the raised bed on ground with the chicken wire side facing down, and fill it with soil, compost and garden plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use treated lumber, since the chemicals used might leech into your garden soil and into your plants. If you want to paint or stain your raised beds, choose paint or stain that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Wood will naturally weather into a soft gray hue.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood pallets
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Hand saw or circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Chicken wire (optional)
  • Staple gun (optional)


  • 100% Recycled Raised Bed Gardens
Keywords: recycling projects, DIY raised bed, old wood pallets, recycled wood, eco-friendly garden projects

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on, and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.