DIY Potting Bench

By Kate Riley July 23, 2012

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.

bhg potting bench


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)

redwood at true value


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.

4 x 4 leg


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.

attach hardware cloth


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.

s hooks on planter


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.

 yellow and blue planters cg

yellows gloves and marigolds

rose branch

hanging spades cg


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.

colorful faucet knobs

faucet knobs on potting bench

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.

green hose on potting bench


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 !

one who plants a garden

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.



  1. Love your bench and love those faucets!! What a wonderful addition to your yard. I bought some of those old faucet heads a while back on etsy for my bathroom redo. My hubs thought I was crazy..until I held them up on the wall to show him. Now I just need to figure out how to mount them. How did you mount yours?

  2. I love the enlarged potting bench, and the creative touches with the metal screen and the knobs! I would love this at my own home if I had the space!

  3. WOW! That looks fantastic! You guys have surpassed the spraypainting DIY days….and will be building your next house before you know it! I love the wire screen on the back, such a great industrial touch! Love it, Kate!!

  4. I love how you bring these ideas and projects to life! I wish I was a fraction of the DIY’er that you are. Your latest furniture building projects have been a total inspiration!

    • Thanks Melanie, anyone can do it if you put your mind to it, we’re both self taught!

  5. Love it Kate! It turned out great. I could really use one of those in our yard. Maybe one day we will follow these directions as well. :) Thanks for sharing Kate.

  6. You are outdoing even yourself lately, lady. I feel like such a slug next to you. I might just have to unfriend you.

  7. I’m only begining to get into gardening but I LOVE this – the knobs are so cute! Great job!!!!

  8. What a wonderful place to get your hands dirty! Those knobs are perfect! Y’all continue to crank out such awesome projects- and push the envelope when it comes to creativity. I still LOVE your blog!! :)

  9. You are just so darn talented CG!! I show my Mister just about every post I come across and “can we do this?” I love the potting bench idea… will have to work one in sometime in our backyard. Amazing photos as well.

  10. looks fabulous! Not only is it something functional and hard working, it is beautiful to look at! the tap knobs are the perfect finishing touch. Terrific job!

  11. 1. Your bench is a butt load nicer than the BH&G version.
    2. The redwood looks beautiful
    3. I’m jealous of your local access to redwood. It would cost me an arm and a leg to get it here in NJ.

    Great table!!

  12. Love the potting bench! My hubby built me one years ago at our former house. He has been talking about building a new one. I will show him your bench and see what happens. The wire screen is a nice touch.

  13. Well done! Love your potting bench. You’re smart to maximize the use of your outdoor space. Thanks for sharing your good ideas–I especially like the faucet knobs! Whimsical, fun, cute, and useful!

  14. oh my oh my! this is absolutely amazing! i love every single detail. just found your blog, totally have to follow you now. i absolutely love reading about other folks diy projects. and it’s pretty neat you and your husband built it together. love the faucet knobs, too. i saw a couple of them at hobby lobby not too long ago and wanted to get some but not sure where i would put them.

    love your blog! going to read some more of your projects!

  15. Jen from Rambling renovator made a station similar for her daughter Chloe, check it out! ( super adorable as well!

  16. Just perfect. Love the larger size and the use of faucet knobs. Another perfect project.

  17. Wow… Great Bench. Love the knobs and the choice of redwood. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Love your potting bench! I really like how you changed up the design on the back and those faucet knobs are perfect!

  19. OMG this is just fantastic I love potting benches I just don’t have a spot for one that would be right. What a gret job. Enjoy!


    I love it. What a great job you and the Mister did on building and “dressing” it.
    I am gathering photos of potting benches to do a post to showcase the talents in Blogland. May I kindly use one or two of YOUR potting bench lady with her adorable colored knob jewelry ?

  21. Kate, this is amazing! I love it! So smart using the redwood. Of course, my fave part of all are those adorable knobs you collected over the years. It is so satisfying to save something over the years with a goal in mind and then see it actually come to fruition! :) Happy Planting!
    Psst: I see Christmas lights on it at Christmas time and it magically becomes a serving station/bar for a Christmas party. :)

  22. Fabulous potting bench. I love the water spicket knobs! And to tell you the truth, I’m glad to know it took you a couple of years to get your hubby on board with this project – glad to know I’m not the only one. I love what you built, it’s really functional and adds a lot to your outdoor space.

  23. Thanks Kate, as always I’m inspired by your posts. Now I know what to do with the left over IKEA bed slats that my son left behind when he moved to the city. Would you advise me how to remove the paint on the glass shades of the 2 “brass type” hurricane lamps I got for $16/pair at my local Salvation Army Store? I don’t know how or if I should remove the floral paint design but any advise you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I did look on your “project gallery” first and couldn’t find anything. I KNOW your the QUEEN OF PAINTING so who else would I ask?!?!? Thanks.

  24. What a great project! I can’t wait until my husband and I have our own place again — I miss our green space!

  25. Beautiful bench. Found you on Sweet Nothings post on potting benches. I love the use of wire in the back. Great job.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  26. Random late question but what type of gardening gloves do you use? I have a cheap $1.50 pair and they are wet in minutes when I’m working in the yard!

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