Moving Planters with Pallet Trucks or Fork Lifts

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Moving Planters with Pallet Trucks or Fork Lifts


A review of the most commonly-specified design options that enable a planter to be lifted and moved via pallet truck or fork lift.

For lighter planters, located on a reasonably fair surface, it may be possible to move the planters manually with castors. This option is cheap, quick and easy – as described here: Moving Planters with Castors >>

However, where the planters are heavy, and/or the ground is rough, then mechanical means of lifting and movement are necessary – and the devices used are generally pallet trucks or fork lifts. In either case, the forks of the device need to pass under the planter, and the base of the planter needs to be strengthened to take the loading.

There are many ways to design a planter to be moved via pallet truck / fork lift, but three options are most commonly specified. Which option to specify generally comes down to a cost vs. aesthetic trade-off.

1. Runners or Skids

The cheapest option is to design the planter with runners or skids underneath [generally two or three, unless the planter is particularly large].

This is a perfectly functional solution, and very cost-effective; however some may feel that the aesthetic is compromised. Therefore this option is most commonly specified in situations where cost is the paramount consideration, such as general public realm.

2. Fork Channels

The second option is to create ‘front-to-back’ channels for the forks, within the base construction of the planter; and generally these channels are lined with Stainless Steel, to avoid the forks damaging the planter.  

Fork channels are more expensive than runners / skids, but it does give a more ‘designed-in’ aesthetic [in other words, the channels are still noticeable, but they nonetheless look like they are an integral part of the planter design].

For many situations, this option will offer the optimal cost vs. aesthetic trade-off; and it is the most commonly specified option.

3. Invisible Design

The third option is to design the planter such that the functional requirement for movement is not apparent.

Generally this objective is achieved by having a long, elevated central span; and this reads like a design feature of the planter, rather than a functional add-on. In a geometric built environment, which is common, this design can often feel very much in keeping with its surroundings.

This option requires careful structural design, and often includes additional internal structures – so it is the most expensive option, but also the most aesthetically pleasing. As such, it is most often specified in high-end projects, where budgets allow.

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