For years one thing that has been missing from my garden was a potting bench. I knew I wanted one, but they weren’t something I could find in the stores and if I did they were very expensive. Over the years, I had considering making one myself. However, having never built anything before, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But this year I decided to throw caution into the wind and make my own DIY garden potting bench. After looking at random pictures of potting benches, I knew what I wanted mine to look like. As part of all of my May garden prep, I figured it was a good time to finally build this project
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DIY garden potting bench
- wood – pressure treated is preferred – I used mostly 2×4 boards
- 2 1/2 inch deck screws (about 100)
- drill & drill bits
- measuring tape
- circular saw
- paint, stain or sealant
- spreader clamp
- safety glasses
Creating a design
The first step is to figure out how large you want your potting bench. Once you know that, you can start drawing a plan or do like I did and mostly wing it. The important thing is to make sure the height is best suited for the person who will be using it the most. I found that putting the benchtop at about waist-height worked best. This way you don’t have to stoop down to plant in seed trays but also allow you to set large pots on it and still be able to effectively plant them. For my bench, I cut the front legs at 3 feet tall.
Another decision to make it whether you want is whether to add a shelf to the back supports. A shelf does come in handy for setting small pots and tools out of the way temporarily. Alternatively, you can have a board with hooks on it to hang your tools while not in use.
Because I was winging the design, I basically determined the height of the benchtop and then measured our random scraps to see how wide they would be. This determined how wide the support boards needed to be – which happened to work out to three feet.
Putting it together
Once you have your design figured out, it’s time for the fun part. Cutting all of the pieces. If you are a pro at using a saw, then this will be easy. However, if you are like me and this is your first build project, you will want to take it slow. I suggest grabbing a scrap piece of wood and making a few test cuts before cutting the pieces you need for the project. This way you don’t waste any of your wood. Since I was using scraps, a lot of the wood was already pre-cut, so I only needed to cut the front legs and the support pieces for the benchtops. This also means that my bench is a mixture of woods, mostly cedar and spruce.
Next, lay all of the pieces out to double-check that they were cut properly. Doing this will prevent having to tear apart your creation half-way through to fix any mistakes. Once satisfied that everything is correctly cut, it’s time to assemble.
This is the most time-consuming part of the project, especially if you are new to building or working alone.
I screwed together to support frames first, for both the top and bottom of the bench. For this, I drilled pilot holes with one drill and put the screws in with a second drill. This saved a lot of time because I wasn’t constantly changing bits. However, if you have a drill with a quick connect then it will be much easier. If you need extra help holding the boards together at this stage, a spreader clamp works well. From there, it was a matter of adding the benchtop boards. Because I planned to have the benchtop have a bit of overhang, I had to make sure to leave room for the front legs on the bottom bench.
Next, I stood up the two benchtops and attached the front legs. Then it was a matter of flipping it over, attaching the back legs, and then the top brace. Eventually, I will add hooks to the top support board so I can hand my tools.
Just like that, the DIY garden potting bench is done. This project took about a day to make from first measuring the wood to putting the last screw in. Eventually, I will be painting it, as that will help it last longer. If you don’t want to paint it, you can always stain or seal it. Regardless of which route you take, it is important to seal it in some way to prevent rot.
As you can see, it has already come in handy. Do you have a potting bench for your garden?