Salvaged Pallet Bed Construction

Materials

For each bed, you will need:

  • 2 Wooden shipping pallets – These should preferentially be made from untreated wood and have similar structure and dimensions. They can easily be obtained from businesses that receive large shipments.
  • Plastic pond liner or other durable waterproof material – If you’re making a 4′x4′x1.5′ bed, you’ll need a 7′x7′ piece of plastic liner. Buy or request a donation of a large roll at a local outdoor supply store. Although we have yet to test billboard material, this may be a good cheap/free resource.
  • 1″ – 2″ wood screws and nails - Plan to use 12 to 16 screws or nails per bed.
  • Crushed glass, gravel, or other reservoir filler material – You’ll need about 5 5-gallon buckets for a 4′x4′ bed. In Austin, this can be obtained from the landfill for free.
  • Top Soil 
  • Plants (we recommend transplanting into wicking beds)
  • Construction tools including hammers, wood saws, drills, and extension cords. Many tools can be rented from the Keep Austin Beautiful Tool Shack
  • 1.5″ – 3″ diameter PVC pipe or bamboo poles  – You’ll need a piece at least as long as the height of your garden bed
  • Burlap sacks, a cotton sheet, or other absorbent fabric that will separate the reservoir from the soil. You’ll need to cover the whole area of your garden bed, so if the bed is 4′x4′, you’ll need a 4′x4′ piece of fabric. Burlap sacks can be obtained for free or cheaply from coffee roasters.
We’re working on a how-to video and instructions for our salvaged pallet wicking bed model. In the meantime, you can view instructions created during a workshop hosted by LoveATX here.

Another site we found helpful for wicking bed construction is How to Build a Wicking Garden Bed by Instructables