So the other day my husband and I were tidying up the side yard. It tends to become a dumping ground for yard junk, pool toys, pots, planting stuff… junk that doesn’t make it to the garage or goodwill. We were organizing and tossing and trying to whip things back into shape. As I stepped away for a second to be sure the children hadn’t burned the house down, I hear a “Be right back. Going to Home Depot.” and the car pulling out of the garage. Um. K.
So long story short about 90 minutes later we had this nifty little DIY potting bench ready to go. This really is a very simple project- it took about 60 minutes to build and then a day for me to putter around staining it. 😉 If you move faster than I do and it isn’t hot as blazes outside, you can easily finish this project in an afternoon. Plus it is super affordable- we spent $60 on materials for this project plus an extra $15 for stain. The nice thing is that you can totally customize this to your space, paint or stain it any color and it really is a nice piece to tuck away in a quiet corner of the yard to hold pots, potting soil, scissors, gloves and provide a workspace for your outdoor projects.
I will include the simple instructions for our bench and you can totally customize this to suit your own needs- smaller, bigger, add more hooks, paint a cheerful color- whatever. And I have used this so many times already- I really didn’t realize how handy a potting bench is.
We used basic 2x4s and fence posts for this project to keep it super affordable although cedar might be the best option- just depending on how much you want to invest in the project. I am not a serious gardener (well in my dreams I am and then the plants see me coming and play dead). We have this on the side of the house under the roof awning so it is semi-protected from elements.
Here is your materials list for this project:
- (4) 8′ 2×4″
- (1) 10′ 2×4″
- (10) 5 1/2″x 6′ fence boards
- (1) 3 1/2″ x 6′ fence boards
The 2×4″s will be cut as follows:
- (2) 5′ pieces
- (2) 3′ pieces
- (4) 4′ pieces
- (6) 19′ pieces
Once you finish assembly, the final dimensions of this bench are 52 inches wide by 24 inches deep and 60 inches tall.
To get started we made the top shelf and bottom shelf of the bench into a simple box.
I prefer to stain or paint before assembling but my husband was on a roll with this so I stained post construction. You do need to stain and seal all the angles and sides of the boards so it is much easier to do before you start assembly.
We used a circular saw to cut the boards into the cut list above and used deck screws to assemble the boards into this bench.
One little note- we looked at a bunch of potting benches you can purchase from various companies and noticed the tiny detail of trimming that top piece in an angle. It is a small detail but I think it makes the bench look a little more polished so you might consider using your circular saw to trim that top piece in a 45 degree angle.
After assembling the two boxes, we used 2 1/2″ screws to add the front side legs and the back legs.
Next up is to add the top of the shelves. The top box has a slight overhang so we used a fence board cut into (4) 52″ pieces. The bottom shelf fits inside the assembled box so that was (4) 48″ cuts of the fence post.
We wanted something small and thin as the top of the shelf without big gaps. If you prefer, you can use the 2x4s instead for your shelf.
That last board on the top was a bit too wide so we had to make a few additional cuts there to fit it around the back legs. Quick notches with the circular saw (like a puzzle piece) to fit that around the 2×4 leg.
Now we are at the finish line my friends. Nearly there!
Just need to add the shelf and the back support. Screw your back piece into the legs of the bench.
We used small brackets to attach the shelf to the back piece.
Note the shelf is pretty narrow but it holds small pots, jars, tools etc… You can make something more substantial if you prefer to hold heavier items.
And that is it!
Oh and we did add some little screws into the top shelf to hold scissors and tools. I also added some larger hooks on the side pieces to hold jars, twine, whatever…
I do have to say I used a new shade of stain that I thought might be subtle and it turned out to be way too orange for my taste. Also I haven’t used a water based stain before and well… it didn’t turn out great. But all in all I am very happy with this little potting bench. It stores all of our supplies and provides such a handy work surface!
If you decide to make this bench please come back and let me know how it goes for you.
Here are a few other projects you might like: