a potting bench for the garden

How to Build a Potting Bench

This handy piece of outdoor furniture will serve as headquarters for your gardening gear

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. 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.


Steps // How to Build a Potting Bench
1 ×

Overview of How to Build a Potting Bench

 
Step One // How to Build a Potting Bench

Overview of How to Build a Potting Bench

potting bench overview illustration
Illustration by 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.

 
2 ×

Make the Work Surface

 
Step Two // How to Build a Potting Bench

Make the Work Surface

an illustration focusing on the work space as well as cleats and framing for a potting bench
Illustration by 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.

 
3 ×

Make the Bottom Shelf

 
Step Three // How to Build a Potting Bench

Make the Bottom Shelf

an illustration focusing on the bottom shelf as well as cleats and framing for a potting bench
Illustration by 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.

 
4 ×

Attach the Legs

 
Step Four // How to Build a Potting Bench

Attach the Legs

an illustration focusing on the legs of a potting bench
Illustration by 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.

 
5 ×

Insert the Top Shelf

 
Step Five // How to Build a Potting Bench

Insert the Top Shelf

an illustration focusing on the top shelf and cleats and supports for a potting bench
Illustration by 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.

 
6 ×

Attach the Wire Mesh

 
Step Six // How to Build a Potting Bench

Attach the Wire Mesh

an illustration focusing on the wire mesh and backing board for a potting bench
Illustration by 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.

 
 
 

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