My parents’ pallet garden fence is ugly and awesome

Guest post by Dootsie Bug

1913335_10201277066323254_5180117240853216496_oMy parents got a huge stack of pallets. They also got a huge influx of deer on their property this year. And the idea to grow a big ol’ vegetable garden.

These three factors converged to create the Ugly Pallet Fence. Though it be ugly, it is quite effective…

Basically, my mom and dad just turned the pallets up on their sides, then nailed, screwed, and wired them together using pretty much whatever spare materials they had lying around. They used stakes — metal, wooden, whatever — to help keep everything upright and sturdy.

To create a gate, they attached one pallet with old metal hinges and they use a bungee cord to keep it shut.

As the crops grow taller, Mom and Dad will probably add height to the fence using rope and stakes to ensure that deer can’t jump right in. So far, it seems to be pretty effective! They used a scrap board to patch a couple gaps after their chickens snuck in, but otherwise, their crops are growing strong.

Obviously, it doesn’t have to be so… erm… “rustic.” A little paint and some TLC could make this much more HOA-compliant.

Safety note: many pallets are treated with chemicals for various reasons. Check the pallet for a stamp. It a pallet is stamped with “MB,” it means it’s been fumigated with Methyl Bromide — a pesticide that may have icky health effects. Don’t use those or unstamped pallets for gardening!

Comments on My parents’ pallet garden fence is ugly and awesome

  1. “Safety note: many pallets are treated with chemicals for various reasons. Check the pallet for a stamp. It a pallet is stamped with “MB,” it means it’s been fumigated with Methyl Bromide — a pesticide that may have icky health effects. Don’t use those or unstamped pallets for gardening!”
    I have been wondering about this since the whole pallet craze started! Doots always has the answers. 🙂

    Also, the fence might not be tall enough to keep deer out since white tails can jump 8 feet high, so making it taller is a good idea. Especially if you angle the extension outward, it will make it harder for them to jump.

    My neighbors also made a pallet fence in their yard to keep their dogs out of their veggie garden. They placed the pallets so the “trough end?” was up. It’s enough soil for marigolds, so now they have a marigold-topped fence.

    • So what stamp SHOULD you look for, if you can’t trust unstamped? I’ve wondered that too. I like the look of ’em but I’m super wary of wood treatments.

      • Look for HT. It means it’s been heat treated in a kiln, making it too hot for most pests to survive.
        I’m not sure if other stamps exist or if stamps are different outside the US. It’s probably wise to carry a smartphone with you when going to snatch pallets and to do a quick Google search before you commit.

  2. Congrats to your parents on their new garden. I know the battle with deer, very well. They are wise to realize that they may have increase the height of the fence, it is quite amazing how high deer can jump. My current neighborhood doesn’t have a deer problem but I spent many years trying to keep them out of my plants and a good fence is the best way and I think it is fantastic that they did the research and were able to reuse materials.

    I bet they will have so much fun growing their own food. I have been a long time gardener, since I was a kid really but my Dad was always in charge of veggies and I was in charge of flowers, now that my husband and I have a house our own house the gardening is all me, veggies flowers, all of it.

    • My parents actually have another garden that’s fenced in with wire fencing. It’s probably a bit shorter than this and deer never bothered to jump in. Can someone explain deer logic to me?

  3. We also used pallets to make our fence and raised beds!
    My parents live in a farming community so it was easy for us to get untreated ones for free.
    We actually took the pallets apart. We salvaged as many nails as we could, used the thicker wood to nail our fence to the low garden wall and for structural integrity and used the longer, thinner bits to make the upward fencing boards. We then used spent tractor oil to treat the fence from sun exposure. The pallets for the raised beds were left natural.
    Total cost about €5 ($6)

    • Bless your patience. We took a bunch of pallets apart and it was… not fun. Most of the boards split. Is there some trick to this?

      • We found that using a wide crowbar and going slowly was the best way. I will admit that a number of boards broke but as they were untreated we just used those in the open fire

  4. My parents’ neighborhood doesn’t allow fences besides ones for swimming pools, so my dad built a 2 -3 foot picket fence around his vegetable garden. And nobody’s said anything since he built it 5+ years ago since it’s so unobtrusive. Then he put posts at each corner of the garden and has fishing line running from one post to another at 4 and 5 foot heights. The deer hate bumping in to something they can’t see and that discourages most of them. For the ones that don’t give a damn and break the line to jump in, he also drapes, or built an enclosure of netting, over each grouping of veggies that deer or groundhogs are interested in. Chicken wire domes go over the basil, chives, and such.

    As my 3-year old nephew loves to shout, “Deer are trouble!!!” 😀

    • Haaaaa cute.

      There’s something about the fishing line concept that makes me want to camp outside of the fence and wait. I feel like seeing a deer bump into an invisible fence would be the most hilarious thing ever. I just imagine the deer is so confused! And then he turns around and tells the next deer, like. I dunno. There’s something weird going on with that garden. Don’t even try it.

      • I never thought about it, but you totally have a point! Haha

        I’ve never actually seen them bump into the fishing wire before, either. He started that when I was away and now that I live in the same area again, whenever I’m over, they seem to keep away from the garden even if they’re in the yard. I suppose they’ve gotten the point by now! ;P

        • Ha, but do new deer try it each year? Or have the old deer told all the new deer not to go near it?

          Like Mufassa explaining the shadowy place to young Simba.

          “You may eat all the plants here, but never go near that invisible fence there”

          • The older and wiser ones must teach the young about the ominous and befuddling invisible fence!

            “It’s far too dangerous. Only the bravest deer go there.”

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