Shipping Pallet Garden: Final Report Part 2

How did my expectation differ from reality…

Ultimately, I am really happy with my standing garden! I think it looks great and I put a lot of work into it. Regardless, it is definitely different than I expected it to look. Originally, I planned to reuse two old discarded wooden shipping pallets and fix them up to make a garden. I enjoyed the upcycle project, and wanted to continue with the rustic, reused aesthetic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any shipping pallets that weren’t completely broken or rotten, so I resorted to buying all the wood at Home Depot. Additionally, it ended looks much more suburban and clean that expected and the structure leans against a wall instead of stands on its own.

What was the public’s reaction…

I was really happy about how the ITLL Expo went: people had really positive things to say about my project. Additionally, one lady offered to buy my garden for $150, but unfortunately that fell through 🙁 The general consensus was that they liked how it leaned against a wall instead of standing alone because it took up less space. Also, people liked the chalkboard paint and how it they could customize it and identify what plants where growing where. I received one comment about how my potting boxes weren’t straight, but the man said that if they were, my garden would be significantly more beautiful.

Lessons I learned…

I definitely learnt a few lessons throughout this project. Most of the lessons are concerned with wood working, but a few of the main ones are listed below:

  • Hand saws are not reliable: I used a hand saw to cut the angles on the support beams. This was a bad decision as cuts turned out wonky and uneven. In the future, I would spend the time to find a place that will cut planks for me using power tools.
  • Be confident in your measurements and calculations: Even though I had some lots of calculations are measurements to figure out how much lumber I needed, I still left the store with way more than necessary. I should have been more confident in my calculations and trusted that I could design a standing garden properly.
  • Give yourself more time than expected: As always, there are unknown unknowns in the project. Some aspects of this project took more time than expected, while other took less, but its always a good idea to account for unforeseen problems.
  • Don’t let store employees convince you into buying more than you need: This one feeds off my previous comment about being more confident in my design. The employee that helped me at Home Depot encouraged me to buy supports for the garden as he thought it would fall over. I was confident I didn’t need them, but somehow he persuaded me to buy them. In the end, I didn’t end up using them but because they were already cut I couldn’t return them.
  • I love art projects: Throughout my entire life, I have loved art projects, but recently I haven’t had the time to complete any. This project allowed me to rekindle my love for arts and crafts and hopefully I will make more standing gardens in the future!

Things I would have changed…

Had I known how warped the pine was going to be and how it would affect the overall aesthetic of my project, I would have bought more expensive wood. The uneven planter boxes definitely detract from the clean and organized aesthetic of the design. Additionally, I would have loved to been able to grow plants in the boxes. That would have truly made the project successful!

A few small changes I would make include:

  • Adding wood filler on the sides to fill in some of the gaps from the uneven planter boxes
  • Sand down the angled supports so they sit flat on the ground and wall
  • Make the section of chalkboard paint taller
  • Weatherproof the wood so it lasts longer
  • Line the boxes with a thin sheet of plastic and drill holes in the plastic and bottom of the boxes to allow excess water to drip out.


Overall, I am very proud of my project and think that it truly is aesthetically pleasing!! I have really enjoyed this class and project, and plan to take what I’ve learned and apply it to more art projects in the future.

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Main Project Report: Part 1
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Morgan Ulrich
    May 10, 2017 5:43 pm

    I can imagine how hard it is to work with wood. The planks are never straight, the hand saws give grief, and finishing the wood takes forever. You seemed to overcome every obstacle with grace and ease. I’m not surprised that people want to buy it from you. I hope your garden flourishes next season. Stupendous job!

  • Dean Alibrandi
    May 10, 2017 2:30 pm

    Sofi. that is huge bummer that the offer on your project fell through 🙁 but it should at least signify that your hard work was well recognized and that you made a high quality product! I totally agree with what you said about being more confident with your measurements. I too often walk of out mcguckins or home depot with way too much material and it rarely gets used. Great project!


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