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How to Keep Dirt Inside Pallet Planters?

Many readers ask the question: "How do I make a clean pallet planter and how do I keep the dirt in?" Here are tips for keeping dirt inside pallet planters:

  • Weed Block or Weed Barrier. This will allow water to drain out, but keep the dirt intact.
  • You may also want to put a thin layer of mulch to help retain the water, so it doesn't dry out too fast.
  • If you use a plastic material to line the planter area, you should use food-safe plastic to prevent leaching chemicals out into your foods/herbs. Also, that will not allow any excess water to drain off, so you may want to put a couple of very small holes to allow slow drainage.
  • Whatever materials you use, cut to fit, then staple in place to secure.
Tips For Keeping Dirt Inside Pallet Planters1

Here is the result:

Tips For Keeping Dirt Inside Pallet Planters2

It's a simple solution that may not be the only one. If you have another technique, please comment and/or send us pictures, we'll complete and update the post!

Editor's Note: Safety first! ALWAYS follow all safety guidelines:

  • When using any power tool - read the manuals & wear appropriate safety gear as recommended by the manufacturer, as well as other safety precautions.
  • If using any paints, solvents, sealants, paints, finishes, etc.
  • Always use protective wear, including eye protection, respiratory protection, hearing protection and gloves at a minimum when dismantling pallets.
  • Please don't get near those tools while under the influence - we want you all around for a long time!
  • Remember - we are not experts. This information provided is for inspiration and entertainment only.
Bio: Engineer, Co-founding partner of 1001Pallets. I earned my Engineer degree in Biochemistry and Geneti... read more

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Cindy Larsen
Cindy Larsen

Can I use the screening that came from a sliding glass door?


Tenho vontade de aprender muito com vocês muita criatividade

Bethany Andersen

Watch out. The pallets can soak up chemicals during transit. And some are treated with chemicals that will leech into the soil

Becky S
Becky S

All the more reason then to line the sides of the pallet with heavy plastic, so that the wood doesn’t come into contact with the soil or the water.
On a related note, I’m looking for a way to reuse pallets to make a wider planter to hold large potted tender plants – large, as is 12-14″ diameter pots. I need something to hold them off the floor of the deck/patio since they’ve really grown large over the winter. Possibly something I could attach to the outside of the deck railings? We’re running out of deck space! Thanks

Kimberly Phillips

Simon Phillips good idea. I’ll show him and sort it. x

Sarah Faith Moore

Don Pashley this was what I thought when I saw the pallet in Petes garden. X

Don Pashley

I’ll get on it tonight!!!!!! X

Simon Phillips

Kimberly Phillips one for Finley to do herbs

Bernadette Eksteen

I’ve got mine already. Its a fantastic for Herbs

Aly Mccallum
Aly Mccallum

Next project


I used the plastic on sides and bottom. I put one large hole in plastic on one end then covered with weed guard. Under the large box I draped the plastic with hole in it into a piece of old gutter drain and directed it down toward the soil instead of hitting the wood.


We used 2×4’s and basically hammered them into place last year. It worked well to hold dirt but didn’t work well to hold water. Also, the water didn’t harm the wood all summer long. This year I think I’ll also use plastic with holes in it to do a better job with water retainment.


I have used nylon screen and seems to do pretty well.

Marta Merino Fernandez
Marta Merino Fernandez

Rover Tyto, Xavier Merino Fernandez, Jose R Galera Poch, Be Bop A Lula

Sharron Nickerson

Patty Barnett and Pam Pam Smith, how did this hold up for u last year?

Pam Smith
Pam Smith

‘Twould have been better to start with fresh (early) plants- but all-in-all did great for the desert. Nasturtiums this time….

Valeriane de la Lande
Valeriane de la Lande

live it..cant wait to find me a small house..and go nuts on pallets !!!

Michele Giardiniere Lisi
Michele Giardiniere Lisi

would you stop giving me projects!!!

Kristin Lakics-Seidler
Kristin Lakics-Seidler

Ralph F Seidler
Michele Giardiniere Lisi


The best way to help preserve the pallet is first to staple heavy black plastic to prevent the wet soil from contacting the wood. Just on the sides not the bottom of the planting area. Do this for each section. This will protect the wood and not hold water. Then staple the weed guard as in the picture to hold the soil and plants. You could just use the just the plastic and place holes in the bottom for drainage, but the soil will try to wash out.


That’s a great idea for the plastic bag to protect the wood! If you do use the plastic bag with holes in the bottom, I would suggest laying burlap or that weed control screen thingamajig so that soil doesn’t spill out. :-)


You can use Cone-type coffee filter which are inexpensive and easy to install.


Use burlap sacks if you have them. or any cotton natural fabric that will let the water gradually drain out so you don’t get root rot.


Great idea! Gonna use burlap! Saved me a trip to Home Depot! Thanks.

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