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Raised beds from pallet wood

I am thinking of using pallet wood to construct some raised beds. Has anyone done this and if so how long have they lasted?

My other thought is whether to put two or three layers of wood near the bottom as the weight of the earth higher up will be trying to push out at the bottom. Again has anyone don't this?



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,776
    I used an old builders crate to construct an asparagus bed - about 1m x 1m x 1m.  I lined it with anti-weed membrane and stapled with to the wood. I then inserted a builders 1 ton dump sack to contain the compost. I painted the wood with fence paint which I've touched up a couple of times. That was about 5 or 6 years ago and is still going strong - unlike the asparagus!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,163
    Pallet timber is pretty robust, so it would be fine for raised beds.
    It largely depends what height /size you're making them, and what you want to use them for. If they're just going to be six/eight inches high or thereabouts, they won't be holding a lot of soil/compost, but you'll still need some decent supports at the corners to attach the timber to, and extra ones if they're going to be more than a few feet long.
    I'd line them - raised beds tend to drain more quickly, even if you're in an area of high rainfall.  I used plastic for all of mine, and you could make use of old compost bags if you have them. 

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by putting two or three layers of wood at the bottom though. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,765
    I think lining is the key issue. I have a compost bin knocked together from old pallets and it has given good service but it is now beginning to rot and fall apart. It certainly isn't more than five years old. Weather exposure may be a factor for your raised beds, too. Finally, pallet wood isn't as attractive as the timber generally used for raised beds and this could be important if the bed is a feature in your garden. If you want it to look good, or last for many years, it might be worth the investment.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,163
    I'd agree with you Posy - my beds are all made with good quality fencing timber which is far heftier than pallet timber, and didn't require sanding and tarting up.
    Pallets are  fine if they're just to serve a basic purpose, but they need a bit of attention if they're to look good.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Central southern Scotland Posts: 3,845
    We use ours to build compost bins, they are ideal
    saw a novel idea somewhere this week for using them to grow lettuce. Plant in the rows once filled with your chosen earth mix.  Wont last but thought I might copy it for back door looks so neat and tidy

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,697
    The gate to my veg patch is a pallet with chicken wire wrapped round the bottom to keep the bunnies from squeezing through. It's been there nearly ten years and still reasonably sound but it's not in contact with earth. I reckon 5 years is good going as a raised bed edge, even lined. So it depends what you're trying to do. As a cheap and cheerful way to set up a raised bed on the understanding you'll need to replace it in a few years, then it's a good shout to get the project moving forwards - just watch out for splinters. If you're hoping it'll be permanent, you need a heavier grade timber.
    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • MissMMissM Posts: 36
    My current raised beds are made from all sorts of timber. If you have a side longer than 4 ft I would suggest supporting it halfway along the length to stop it bowing. I'm redoing mine soon and will be using scaffold boards.
  • Our new raised beds are made from railway sleepers,expensive for sure but they look the part and will last for years.looking now for types of plant and shrubs to fill them 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 6,455
    Palletts are quite "soft" wood, not made for long lasting.  Hubby made our from gravel and scaffold boards and a cold frame cheap as chips.
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