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How to Turn Pallets Into a Patio

Katie Jensen

Backyards need a place for dining, relaxing with a good book or just reminiscing about the day with a glass of wine. A cement patio requires forms, heavy lifting and some expertise. Stone patios need a stable base or the stones will crack.

Wood pallets can make a stable patio.

A patio built from wood pallets takes just a weekend, especially if you have a helper or two.

  1. Measure the area for the patio. It should be slightly bigger than the area covered by the number of pallets you plan on using. The most common size for a pallet in the United States is 48 by 40 inches. Four pallets would cover an area 8 feet by 6.6 feet.

  2. Dig out the area for the patio so it is 3 to 4 inches larger than the perimeter of the pallets and 4 inches deeper than the height of the pallets. For example, if the pallets are 4 inches high, dig out the ground to 8 inches.

  3. Place a 5 inch layer of gravel into the space for the patio. Smooth out the gravel with a rake so it's level. Tamp down the gravel with the flat back end of the rake or a heavy board. Tamping down the gravel prevents it from shifting and settling later. Check your work with a carpenter's level set on top of a straight board. If the gravel isn't level the pallets won't be level.

  4. Water the gravel so the soil underneath settles and recheck to make sure your surface is level.

  5. Put the pallets on top of the gravel. There should be a 3 to 4 inch gap around the perimeter. The pallets should be slightly above ground level. Fill in the perimeter gap with gravel. Use the end of a scrap piece of 2-by-4 wood to tamp down the gravel. There should be little or no gaps between the ends of the pallets and the ground.

  6. Check the top of the pallets for any protruding nails. Either remove them or pound them into the wood so they are flush or below the surface of the wood.


If you want to paint the pallets, do so before placing onto the gravel, otherwise the paint can drip onto the gravel. Fill in any large gaps between the boards on the pallets with strips of pressure treated wood.


Don't eliminate the gravel step. The gravel holds the pallets in place, provides a stable base for the pallets and creates drainage.