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Potting bench

Even if you love gardening, repotting plants or dividing flats can feel like a real chore if you have to scavenge for supplies in the dark corners of the garage. Park them on a dedicated workstation, however, and you'll never waste time hunting them down again.

Our simple, three-tier potting bench features a wire mesh backing that keeps your favorite hand tools right at your fingertips. If you plan to leave it outdoors, make sure you build it from cedar or exterior-grade lumber.

Project Steps

An indoor bench should get a weather-resistant finish, at the very least, to prevent water, soil, and fertilizer from damaging the surface. And for those of you who don’t want to DIY this project, we have good news: There are potting benches on the market that suit all budgets. Just make sure the one you buy has a work surface at a comfortable height for you. Once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever did without this green thumb's staple.

Download a printable potting bench cut list.

Step 1: Overview of How to Build a Potting Bench

Illustration of a potting bench Gregory Nemec

Cut List

  • 2x4 back legs: 2 @ 60 inches
  • 2x4 front legs: 2 @ 33 inches
  • 2x4 lower support blocks: 4 @ 6 inches
  • 2x4 middle support blocks: 4 @ 23½ inches
  • 2x4 upper support blocks: 2 @ 16 inches
  • 2x4 bottom shelf sides: 2 @ 18½ inches
  • 2x4 bottom shelf front and back: 2 @ 33 inches
  • 2x2 work-surface cleats: 3 @ 17 inches
  • 2x2 bottom shelf cleats: 3 @ 15½ inches
  • 5/4x6 work-surface sides: 2 @ 20 inches
  • 2x6 work-surface back: 1 @ 34 inches
  • 2x4 work-surface front: 1 @ 34 inches
  • 2x6 work surface boards: 3 @ 34 inches
  • 2x6 bottom shelf boards: 3 @ 33 inches (rip 1½ inches from the width of one board)
  • 2x4 filler strip: 1 @ 29 inches
  • 2x6 top shelf (back): 1 @ 29 inches
  • 5/4x6 top shelf: 1 @ 34 inches
  • 5/4x6 top shelf (sides): 2 @ 5½ inches
  • 5/4x4 top back board: 1 @ 36 inches
  • Wire mesh: 1 @ 22 by 34 inches

Download a printable potting bench cut list.

Step 2: Make the Work Surface

Illustration of making the work surface. Gregory Nemec

Use a jigsaw to cut the curved profiles on the side pieces. Screw the frame together with the bottom edges flush. Secure cleats along the sides of the frame and another spanning the middle of the frame, all flush with the bottom edges. Secure the shelf boards to the cleats.

Step 3: Make the Bottom Shelf

Illustration of making the bottom shelf. Gregory Nemec

Screw the shelf's frame together. Secure cleats to the sides and across the middle of the frame, flush with the bottom edges, as in Step 2. Secure the shelf boards to the cleats.

Step 4: Attach the Legs

Illustration of attaching the legs. Gregory Nemec

Screw the lower support blocks to the legs. Prop up the bottom shelf on the blocks and secure it to the legs. Screw the middle support blocks to the legs. Rest the work surface on the blocks and secure it to the legs. Screw the upper support blocks to the legs.

Step 5: Insert the Top Shelf

Illustration of inserting the top shelf. Gregory Nemec

Cut the curved profiles on the shelf's sides. Screw the sides to the shelf. Size the back of the shelf so that it fits snugly between the legs and secure it. Rest the shelf on the upper support blocks.

Step 6: Attach the Wire Mesh

Illustration of attaching the wire mesh. Gregory Nemec

Secure a filler strip to the back side of the work-surface frame, between the legs. Staple wire mesh to the back of the bench. Finally, secure a board over the mesh to hold the top shelf in place.