At last at last at last, I finally have a potting bench to call my own! Last weekend, Matt agreed to spend a day building this for the corner of our yard since I’ve been nudging him for a few years now. On Saturday, we built ourselves a 6 foot long potting bench that now sits in a shady spot in our side yard. Finally, a place for me to do all my gardening – I’m so crazy excited about this new handmade bench!
We used the tutorial for this potting bench I found over at Better Homes & Gardens as our guide, but we made a few modifications. I won’t repeat all the instructions, they’re pretty detailed if you follow the link, but our three changes are listed below.
First, we chose redwood since it is naturally pest and rot resistant and withstands repeated exposure to inclement weather. I found a stash at my local hardware store and picked up galvanized outdoor screws (2 ½” and 1 ½”) and enough redwood to make these cuts:
4” x 4” – 4 x 34”
2” x 4” – 3 x 19” (sides and middle support) + 2 x 72” (length) + 2 x 22.5 (sides) + 5 x 25” (shelf supports)
1” x 8” – 6 x 72” (top and bottom shelves)
1” x 6” – 1 x 72” (top shelf)
Second, we decided to build a much bigger bench for more room to work and store supplies. Our bench is 6 feet long, so we opted for 4” x 4” legs for stronger support. Matt built the frame for the shelves with 2 x 4s around the 4 x 4 legs (see the BH&G tutorial for detailed instructions) and screwed it together with outdoor screws, it’s a very basic design. We also added a brace underneath to stabilize the 6 foot span of the 1” x 8” boards (not shown) that forms the top shelf.
Third, we changed the design of the back to suit the size of the bench and the need for hardware cloth. For the back and top shelf, we ran the boards vertically instead of horizontally to support the longer shelf, and then I attached metal hardware cloth with a heavy duty stapler.
The hardware cloth keeps the potato vine along the fence (pretty, but invasive!) off the bench and also allows me to hang organizers, like this small planter suspended from ‘S’ hooks to hold seed packages or smaller sized gardening necessities.
Here’s the full view of our potting bench in the side yard, it sits in such a great spot, under the vines where it’s shady most of the day and adjacent to rose trees and shrubs.
I’ve already started gathering up some pots to plant some colorful annuals to place around the yard.
Don’t you love those faucet knobs? I bought a set of colorful set of vintage faucet style knobs several years ago for this bench I knew we would eventually build, they’ve been sitting in my garage all this time. Five are fastened to the vertical posts on the bench to hold garden tools or gloves, or to dry herbs or lavender.
I couldn’t find the original source for mine, but did find three Etsy shops where you can buy similar versions, look here, here, and here. They’d be so charming on a rustic coat or towel rack too, don’t you think?
The water spigot for the hose is eight feet away, so we added a garden hose to the edge and suspended it on a few planter hooks, which will make watering the plants a cinch once they’re in fresh soil.
And there’s a drain just a few more feet away which makes rinsing dirt off the bench and ground pretty simple too.
I purposefully didn’t treat the wood with anything, I want the red tones to fade and the bench to weather so it develops a driftwood gray patina over time. The size of the bench is 6 feet long by 2 feet deep and 35 inches in height (top shelf) and it cost us $100 to build since we paid a little more for redwood. We built it in one day and we’re completely thrilled with how it turned out !
The new bench makes me want to get outside and get my hands dirty to make it even “happier” out in the garden. :)
*** Eleven years later.. the bench is still holding up in 2023! We added a water based mid tone wood stain with some polyurethane to the potting bench in the summer of 2017 and it’s helped the bench last through many wet winters.