Posted: Jun 11, 2012 9:00 AM
For many, limited space makes gardening difficult, if not impossible. But, you can build a gorgeous pallet garden even if your only outdoor space is a patio or balcony.

Gardening is often considered a hobby only for those with copious amounts of outdoor space. We often think of lavish landscapes dotted with colorful flowers, rolling lawns and lush vegetation -- and then wake up as we stare at our tiny backyard or patio. Turn your gardening dreams into a mini-reality by creating a relaxing and inspiring space using pallets, which are readily available and cheap.

Dumpster diving

Ok, maybe you don't have to actually dive into a dumpster, but you do need to find a solid pallet. Turns out, plenty of businesses toss totally usable pallets in the general vicinity of dumpsters. You want to find an untreated pallet that doesn't have nails sticking out or major splintering. If you don't want to hunt covertly, ask a business if they have pallets they don't want or go online and check out Craigslist. People are often more than happy to give them away.

Pallet prepping

Get your pallet ready for its gorgeous transformation. "Once you've dragged your pallet home, give it a once over," says Fern Richardson of Life on the Balcony, a popular container gardening blog. "Are any of the boards a little loose? Is the wood chipping in places? Nail down any loose boards, and use sand paper to smooth down any rough spots." Then, staple landscape fabric to the back, sides and bottom of the pallet and lay the pallet flat on the ground with the open side facing up.

Get planting

Start placing your plants (annuals and/or herbs work great) into the top of the pallet. Then fill the open spaces with two bags of potting soil. "Push potting soil into the bottom cavity, so that there is a trench directly below one of the bottom openings," advises Richardson. "Plant six plants in the trench, so that they are very tightly fitted into the opening. Repeat with the other bottom opening. Now push the potting soil up against those flowers you just planted, making a trench beneath one of the openings in the second row." Repeat the process until all of the openings are filled. Plant everything tightly to secure the plants well.

Due diligence

The best way to ensure that your pallet garden is perfectly beautiful is to leave it flat on the ground for a few weeks. This enables the roots to take hold. Once the roots are solid, you can lean the pallet up against the wall of your patio or balcony. Voila! Instant transformation.

For more detailed directions and container gardening tips, visit Fern at Life on the Balcony.

Image credit: Life on the Balcony Blog

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