Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pretty pallet other people's garbage

Oh, we are having such fun with fences! When last we drove to Pueblo, on turkey processing day at Wren's Nest ( )  we stopped by a company in town that gives away pallets. We got this information from Paul at Wren's Nest, who built his front fence out of pallets. In fact, many of his neighbors also had pallet fences. Painted white, without looking closely, one would never know they were made from recycled pallets. What a fabulous idea.

I love re-using, and we couldn't pass this up. We already collect pallets that Richard turns into compost bins, and if they are free, even better. So off we went with truck and trailer to bring home the treasure of free wood.

mountain of pallets

There was a mountain of pallets of various sizes, and we picked through them until we found enough to match that we felt would make a good looking fence. We filled the truck and the trailer and ended up with a large assortment.

truck o' pallets

I was excited. Free fence! We had been trying to figure out how to fence our property since we bought it, Fence is not cheap by any means. This seemed workable. All we had to do was buy and install some posts to hang the fence on. And... make it look like a fence, passable in our little rural suburbia.

Richard makes a panel

So, Richard began connecting the pallets together to make panels, and they looked just like the privacy fence panels you can buy at Home Depot. except, these were free, and had boards on both sides, which makes them stronger, even if they are only five feet tall instead of six.

pallet panel, ready to hang

First pallet panel
And we carried them down to our fence line and hooked them to the poles. They look great! I don't think anyone can complain. I'm really pleased with how well this is turning out, and I don't think we have to paint them.

So it has been a few days, but now, as of today we are down to the corner of our property and working along the north side. This will enclose a garden space which I hope to turn into a small fruit orchard that the chickens can free range through.

And around the corner
We also plan on putting in some parking spaces for our trailers and anyone who comes to visit. It is coming along nicely, a little bit at a time. I'm going to plant the yucca seeds I collected in front of the fence, along the road. I'd like to keep some natural plants along the border of the property and incorporated here and there. I will also try to get our wild sunflowers established along the fence, and maybe a vine of some sort.

It's looking great. Thank you Richard. And thank you Paul for the information on free pallets.

Nice pallet fence

It seems if we let the world know, or at least our community, that we are looking for specific items, the things show up. It is amazing how many free materials we are finding. All you have to do is ask.

Our little farm is a work in progress, an experiment in sustainability, and it is that much more wonderful when we find reusable materials that other people are throwing away (pallets, leaves, manure, old wood) that we can use on our farm.

Use local resources for everything you can. Recycle, re-use and keep it environmentally friendly and you can't go wrong.

Now, in addition to our many composting projects and pallet wood fence, we are trying to find--locally--some earth bags...or woven polypropylene bags that could be used to build an earth shelter for the llamas in their new paddock and to build a root cellar and an addition on the goat barn.

I was emptying out my cat food bag and noticed this bag was exactly the material that the earth bags were made from. And many of the grains from the feed store come in these bags too. Hmmm...if we could get people to save their bags and donate them to our farm, we would have our material to build with (we still need dirt), and it would cost a whole lot less than the earth bags we found on the internet. (We suffer from never having enough capital to invest in farm improvements and live, so we have to get creative.)

Richard put a note on the bulletin board at one of the local feed stores, offering to buy the used bags for 10 cents a bag. That sounds fair. All people have to do is bring them back to the feed store when they come to buy more feed. Perfect. So far we haven't had any takers, but I am hopeful. I'd like to see another material that normally goes to the landfill incorporated into a sustainable project.

Earth bag building...that's another story and another project. I'll keep you posted. Anyone local with plastic feed bags, I'll take them. And we are still looking for locally produced bio-diesel.

Stay tuned. Next week I want to turn some of my saved tin cans into a tin can man to hang in the garden to scare away the deer and the birds. So many things to do. A creative life is one worth living for sure!


  1. All I've got to say is "thank you." You may have saved our sanity by this post... I even reposted on my own blog. Thanks again!!!


  2. Looks great! How did you connect the panels to each other? Did you disassemble other pallets and attach so the panels were full?

    1. Believe it or not, we found all of those great panels intact, just like they were, from a roofing supply company. We attached the panels with 2x3 by 8ft boards along the tops and bottoms, screwing the board into the pallets to make one continuous panel out of three pallets.

      You could take apart pallets to fill in the spaces. We've found that a hacksaw works best to cut the nails. Our latest project is a pallet shed, and Richard has built a nice pallet chicken coop, which he did fill in with other boards from disassembled pallets.

      Thanks for reading. Happy pallet building!

  3. You saved us too. We have the worst neighbors in the world in Beacon Hills Subdivision in Patterson, NC. Nosey, always standing outside staring at our front door ALL HOURS day and night, night and day, it wears on you. We installed CCTV and mirrored window tint to at least have some control, but summer will approach and their pool is placed where it faces our front door wa because our house is round shaped. We can never enjoy our home or deck without being stared at 24/7. You can venture out at 1-4 A.M. and there they are smoking nonstop. We were to the point of selling because of our awful, never sleep, drunken neighbors. Our estimated fence costs in the past were $4000 because the length of our property. We planted white pines, leyland cypress,and even bamboo and to our amazement, things seem to die and have a bleach odor. Odd huh? The ideas you have may make our home feel like home again. I'm going today to get pallets because we have a pallett manufacturer here in Lenoir, NC, along with other furniture manufacturers. Again, Thank you!!

    1. Glad to hear that a pallet fence might help with your problem. This fence is affordable and re-uses materials that might otherwise end up in the landfills. I know our fence helped me feel more secure and added much needed privacy. Good luck with your fence project.

    2. Yes this is great!! I have the nosy neighbors too and I want to be in the yard to relax. i want to keep my dogs in and read, not have the nosy neighbors bothering me. I like to be nice to my neighbors but I need them to leave me alone so I can relax too. Now I will make this sort of fence and ad some tall plants so they dont see me in the yard

  4. Hi,

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  5. Hi,

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  6. Hi! excellent looking pallet fence! Im building one myself for the first time and i was curious exactly how you attached the pallets to the fence posts (L brace and wood screws?) I was going to put a fence post every 2 pallets, I see you have 3, is it stable enough?

    Yes! pallets are whats up fo sho! heres a link for for all kinds of pallet madness DIY:)

  7. What type and size of posts did you use to attach the pallet panels to? I've got access to some pallet boards and would love to make something similar! Thanks so much for sharing

    1. We used 2 x 4" cedar boards for the straight sections, and larger round (6") or square (4 x 4) posts for the corners or even larger, where gates were attached.

  8. Such a informative and useful post,solar fencing would be thankful for giving good effort for coming up with such good post.

  9. Don't the panels rot if placed directly on the ground? I live in So. CO also...
    Question #1: how did you guys make the pallets filled so completely board by board? I have 70 pallets with gaping holes between boards--and because it's hardwood, prying them apart and re-nailing seems arduous! HELP!
    Question #2: Because the pallets are really heavy, can I use 3x3 posts (MUCH cheaper) or is 4x4 recommended?

  10. We didn't place them on the ground, but a few inches up, if possible. It was harder where the ground was uneven. Also, the pallets we found came with the boards nicely placed together, just like fence panels. They were from a roofing company, I think. We have found that a hacksaw works great to get the boards off, instead of prying the nails off. If you wanted to infill some pallets, you might try that. I know my husband has done that when building chicken coops. You can use whatever posts you think will work for your situation. I think we only used the 4 x 4's, or 5 - 6" round posts in the corners or on the ends, otherwise, we used cedar 2 x 4's per three pallets.

  11. I can't wait to build this. I have an alley behind my home and a nosey nosey neigbbor. I swear everytime i go outside to do anything he thinks its grounds for him to come over. Im so sick of it and ive tried to be nice and tell him but he just dont get it. We share a driveway which doesnt help either. One question o have is whay kind of nails do i buy?

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