How To Make A Wooden Pallet Greenhouse For One Dollar
I Love the Frugal Life
“That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Yes I do and I’m proud to write those words. You see, I’m on a quest to become as self-sufficient as I possibly can, and frugal plays a large part in that plan.
Unless absolutely necessary I refuse to buy “new.” I see no point in it. Why pay full-price for a new product when I can either find used for less or make it myself for much less? Oh, I hear the mumblings from here in my writing studio. In fact, I had someone comment once on one of my self-sufficiency articles, saying that if too many people went self-sufficient our economy would collapse. To that I say “bring it on.”
Seriously, we could have fifty million American citizens go self-sufficient tomorrow and the economy would be just fine. The economy will adjust just as it always has for hundreds of years, so don’t let that fear hold you back. What’s the worst thing that could happen if we all went self-sufficient? We might lose a few hundred billionaires, and I’m not sure that would be a bad thing at all.
So I was roaming around my urban garden the other day and I decided that I wanted and yes, needed, a greenhouse. I immediately went online to check out ebay and Craigslist, and quickly logged off when I saw what some people were asking for a simple greenhouse. Ridiculous I said! So that left me with only one choice: build my own greenhouse!
Now because I usually think in terms of large, my first thoughts were to build a greenhouse that I could walk around in, maybe fifteen feet long, five or six feet wide, and at least six feet high. I mentioned that to my wife Bev and she immediately brought me back to reality. Thus, what you are about to learn is how to build a greenhouse that is three feet wide, six feet long and 2 1/2 feet high….for a cost of one dollar.
Are you ready?
Items You Will Need
This just might be the shortest list of items needed for a DIY project that you will ever read.
- Four wooden pallets, each measuring 40”x48”
- Four sheets of plastic, each measuring 40”x48”
- Some staples or old, short nails
- One hammer with a claw
Cost of the Project
I already told you but I’ll tell you again…about a buck. The four pallets you can find for free in any city in this country. The plastic will cost about a dollar. The nails I figure you already have in the garage.
I know some of you are thinking of going out and buying a new staple gun; slap yourselves and resist the urge. Find about twenty nails and use whatever you have. We are not trying for fancy; we are trying for cheap and serviceable.
The beauty of this project is that you don’t have to follow the instructions in order. For those of you who are rebels, or are simply incapable of following simple instructions, you have the freedom to skip around and follow in any old order that pleases you.
This, then, is the order that I followed, but it is in no way the only order that will work:
- Lay the pallets flat on the ground and pry some of the cross-slats off using your hammer. We do this to allow more sunshine to flow through the greenhouse when it is completed. You have the freedom to take as many off as you want….again, for those rebels out there.
- Turn one pallet over and pry off the top cross-slat. I’ll explain later why we do this.
- Now take your sheets of plastic and attach them to each pallet using staples or the nails you scrounged up.
- It is now time to assemble your greenhouse. Take one pallet and stand it on end. Have someone else take another pallet and do the same. Now lean those two pallets towards each other until one is resting on the other to form a triangle. If you remove the top slat like I suggested, one pallet will fit snugly inside of the other.
- Now do the same thing with the other two pallets, wedging them up against the two that are already leaning.
- And you are done!
- One extra step if you are so inclined: nail a piece of lath along the edges to keep the plastic in place should the wind blow hard.
Would You like a Longer Greenhouse?
Well no problem my friends. Go get some more pallets and plastic. You could double the length of your greenhouse with four more pallets and another dollar’s worth of plastic.
Would you like a shorter greenhouse? Can you guess what I’m going to say? Only use two pallets instead of four.
Are you following the logic and simplicity of this design? You can make that damn thing twenty feet long if you have enough pallets and plastic; it is entirely up to you.
Some more ideas for you
- Wooden Pallet Projects For The Frugal Homeowner
Is the cost of lumber too expensive for you to do home projects? Well never fear, the trusty pallet is here! Check out these clever ideas for home projects.
And If That Isn’t Great Enough There Is This Bonus for You
Once summer is over and you want to take your greenhouse down, all you have to do is pull the pallets apart and store them somewhere for the winter. The disassembly of this greenhouse literally takes two minutes tops. No unbolting necessary; no prying of nails necessary. Just pull it apart and set it aside until next year.
But wait I hear someone say…..what if my kid’s baseball hits it and punches a hole through the plastic? Well then put some more plastic on it! Duh! But what if the pallets wear out over time? Well then get some more free pallets! Duh!
This baby is mobile…this baby is functional…this baby is practical…and this baby is cheap!
Need I say more?
For those of you who are saying this greenhouse is too short, that it is difficult to crawl around inside of it, I say this: pull the pallets apart, prop them up with a stake, do the work you need to do, and then re-assemble the greenhouse. Remember, the pallets are not nailed together. This is a fully-functioning greenhouse that requires no engineering degree to assemble or disassemble. It could not be simpler.
If You Are Smart
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”
Well, if you are as smart as I suspect that you are, you are hopping in your pickup truck right now and heading out to find some free pallets; grab as many as you can because free pallets are like manna from heaven for a lover of the self-sufficient lifestyle. In earlier articles I have explained how to make patio chairs using pallets. I have explained how to make a chicken coop using pallets. I have explained how to make a patio table using wooden pallets. The possibilities are practically endless for anyone with imagination and willpower.
Stay tuned and next time I’ll teach you how to make a classic ’62 Chevy Impala using wooden pallets….not really, but I wanted to see just how gullible you really are. J
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)