How to Make: Hanging Succulent Pallets
Written by: Callie
You guys. I made a thing. For my old job at HPL. And it turned out pretty decent. A hanging pallet filled with succulents. So now I'm obviously an expert and can teach you how!
Backstory: I love plants. My mom and Kenzie love to get down and dirty in the garden and can grow all sorts of things. I like looking at the pretty things they’ve grown. So, when I first told my boss I knew things about gardening it may have been a little farfetched.
I said, “Hey, succulents are pretty popular right now, and I absolutely love them! Look at this cool thing on Pinterest.”
And then he said, “Yes, oh my gosh, make it! Actually, make FOUR of them. And we will hang them in the openings of the pavilion!”
So, after following quite a few dead end pins, I found one that gave instructions. They were as follows:
Step 1. Lay your pallet upside down and lay a double or triple layer of weed mat over the pallet. Trim to size leaving about an inch to staple down. Staple both sides and the bottom to keep all the soil secure, leaving the top open to allow water in.
Step 2. Turn pallet over and lay flat. Pour in soil pressing firmly and filling all the gaps.
Step 3. Organize your succulents in a rough design then start planting at the bottom ending at the top.
Step 4. Water your wall garden and leave horizontal for at least 1-2 weeks to allow plants to take root.
Step 5. After the roots have taken you can stand up your beautiful new garden.
Okay, easy enough. Let's get started.
Finding pallets was extremely difficult. I remember a few years ago when you could go for a walk and find a pallet on every corner just lying there waiting for someone to take it. Now they are highly sought-after commodities (thanks Pinterest), so even Home Depot was going to make me pay $15 for each one and most of their selection was broken. Luckily, boss man had some connections and arrived the next day with four pallets in the truck.
Following the directions, I laid down landscaping mat and started to staple it all in. (Side note: I was using a staple gun, and had to hold it sideways to staple up the sides and apparently I have no hand strength because I walked away with bruised palms. I didn’t even know that was possible. So maybe think about doing some hand exercises before starting this project.) I decided to also cover the front of the pallet with one layer of matting, so that the dirt would stay in place when it was upright.
Then came the dirt. So. Much. Dirt. I had no idea how much dirt would fit in those pallets. It ended up needing at least 6 bags per pallet. And since then, as the dirt settles or gets washed out, I have needed to add more.
When I was about 3 bags in I stood it up to let all the dirt fall to the bottom. And the landscaping mat bowed out from the back of the pallet like an overfilled muffin. Since these things would be hanging we couldn’t have that happen so we had to reinforce the pallets. I highly recommend this even if you aren’t hanging the end product, it helps it look more polished and put together because you aren’t seeing the landscape mat sticking out everywhere.
Here’s how we did ours: We took a piece of plywood and nailed it to the back of the pallet. That may have been enough but we’re extra so we also added 2X4s to the sides, excluding the top.
Finding the succulents was my favorite part. As stated above, I (and the other R&R peeps) love succulents. And we have a lot at my house (#CornerGreenHouse) but not enough to fill a whole pallet, let alone four. After some searching I found an Etsy seller that gave me the best bang for my buck. Update: I have used this seller multiple times now for succulents and they always arrive on time and in good condition!
We went with the 150 cuttings. It arrived within a day and only a few were broken. Pretty impressive for shipping from California. Dumping all those succulents out was the best thing ever, not to mention beautiful.
This delivery of 150 cuttings filled one pallet perfectly. The next day I went back to CoronaSucculents’ Etsy page and bought three more sets. The girl probably thought I was crazy and honestly, I’m surprised she had that many cuttings!
I left the pallet leaning against a post to root. Since I had put a layer of landscaping mat on the front side too it ended up holding the succulents/dirt in place nicely. I still wanted to wait a week or two before hanging them so the succies could get a chance to grow a bit. Then I left work for the weekend.
The next day I receive a text from the boss saying, “look what we did!” with a picture attached of the pallet hanging in midair. I was so scared all the baby succies would be dead. When I found some free time that night we ran up to HPL to see the wreckage. Luckily, less than half had fallen out. But succulents are resilient so I put them all back in place, making a few new holes for some since they wouldn’t stay put in a completely upright position, and it all looked fabulous. I have no idea how only two guys managed to hang these things because they are heavy!!
A few months later and it all looked way better than I imagined! Some leftover astro turf was put on the backsides of each pallet to cover up the plywood. The succulents are growing like crazy and it’s a great focal point!
- Put landscaping mat on the front side of the pallet too. I did this by turning the pallet over (front side facing down), stapling the mat to the front from the inside and the sides, filling it with dirt, and then stapling more mat to the back to keep the dirt in.
- The things are incredibly heavy. Build it as close as possible to the location that you want it to end up at.
- Buy more dirt than you think you’ll need.
- Treat the wood to resist water. Succulents don’t like a whole lot of water but they do need some. Since ours are hanging it’s kind of difficult to water from the top. So I take a hose and just spray straight at it to get it through the landscape mat. It’s worked so far but I’m afraid of it eventually rotting with the water and dirt up against any exposed bits of wood.
The succulent pallets have been moved around quite a few times since I made them. We ended up enclosing the pavilion where they were hanging so for a while they were leaning against a fence with no real home. Then we hung some up under the pergola!
Let me know if this tutorial was helpful or if I need to stick to my day job and not write How To's!
(But seriously let me know because I also made a Connect 4 yard game that I could talk about...)