The potting bench is an essential workstation for the avid gardener.
Acting as a gardening headquarters of sorts, potting benches are a dedicated space to perform many every day and seasonal gardening tasks. Keep all of the tools of the trade in one place with plenty of storage for pots, soil, fertilizers, hand tools, and more.
Here you can repot, transplant, start seeds, mix soil, and prune plants, all without worrying about making a mess. Standing and working from an elevated surface is also much easier on the back!
Add some decorative touches and the potting bench can become a garden centerpiece and place to display colorful plants and outdoor art when not in use.
Potting benches can be as simple as an old table, or they can be much more elaborate pieces with ample storage, a sink, and running water.
Tips for Designing the Perfect Potting Bench
Whether you are upcycling a piece furniture or building a potting bench from scratch, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a design:
Make sure the work surface is the right height.
It should be about the same as your kitchen counter; any lower will make you stoop over when working and too high a surface will make it more difficult to see what you are doing.
Choose high quality and durable wood that is able to withstand long exposures to moisture and sunlight. Red cedar is best but pressure treated wood would work as well.
Built in drawers, shelving, hooks, pegboard, trellises, and beyond offer plenty of storage solutions for gardening implements and accoutrement.
Think about the items you use the most and how you would like to stow them.
Potting benches situated outdoors should be near the garden and have plenty of natural light. Place it beneath a tree or against a wall to provide a little protection from the elements while you work.
Of course, you can place your potting bench inside a shed or garage too. Try to set it up near a window when possible for the best light and air circulation.
Add some wheels to the bench and you’ll be able to move it around with ease.
Outdoor potting benches need to be moved indoors over winter, so adding 2 or 4 wheels will certainly make the chore a lot easier.
Extras and Features
Do you want a built in sink? A hook up for your hose? A grated surface for catching (and saving) soil?
These are some of the bells and whistles you can add to the finished potting bench. Plan ahead and incorporate them into your overall design.
Give your potting bench a long life by applying a wood sealant.
Once treated, you can paint or stain the bench to your heart’s desire.
10 DIY Potting Bench Ideas
1. Drop Leaf Table Potting Bench
This tutorial shows how to upcycle an old drop leaf table into a handsome potting bench.
The drop leaves are an asset for this DIY since the rear one is turned upward to become a backer board while the front one can be put up when you need a larger work surface.
Included are little details like a small shelf, enamel bowl as a sink, and hooks and baskets on the sides to stow garden necessities.
Get the DIY from Garden Gate Magazine.
2. Potting Bench with Soil Grate
A modern looking potting bench with clean and simple lines, this from-scratch build isn’t too difficult to assemble and includes an illustrated cut list and step by step diagrams.
It has decent storage too, with two bottom shelves as well as a hardware cloth backing that uses s-hooks to dangle gardening implements.
The best part of this piece, though, is the slats on the working surface that collects soil into a crate below, no more soil waste!
Get the DIY from Rogue Engineer.
3. Pallet Potting Bench
For a quick and dirty DIY that is also ridiculously cheap, the pallet potting bench should suit!
The only materials you’ll need are about four pallets, two of which will need to be fully disassembled. Remove the nails in the pallets and reuse them when assembling the bench.
Once constructed, give it a light sanding and add an array of nails to the backer board to hang up your stuff.
Get the DIY from Amber Oliver.
4. Potting Bench with Sink and Running Water
The Cadillac of potting benches, this DIY is a super functional gardening workstation, replete with a stainless steel sink and faucet, a hose adapter for running water, and a hose reel mounted on the side.
It also features several drilled holes on the work surface to collect soil into a bin on a lower shelf.
And there’s plenty of storage – large shelves below and smaller shelves above. The upper backing of the potting bench is pegboard so tools can be easily stored and organized.
Get the DIY from Setting For Four.
5. Petite Potting Bench
Perfect for smaller garden set ups, this potting bench won’t take up too much space with a footprint of roughly 4 feet long by 2 feet deep. Add four wheels to conveniently cart it around your outdoor space.
The simple, two shelf design is an excellent DIY for those with no experience building furniture from scratch. This tutorial includes materials and cut list, as well as project plans you can refer to as you build.
Get the DIY from Ana White.
6. Vintage Potting Bench
This one is less about construction and more about bargain hunting!
The example is an old wooden desk sourced from an antique shop with a second-hand cubby shelf placed on top. No sanding, painting, or drilling required.
Of course you can always dress it up with hooks, wheels, and a fresh coat of paint if you like.
Garage sales, thrift shops, antique stores, and local classifieds are a good source for table and shelf combos that could be upcycled into a potting bench.
Get the DIY from Sarah Joy.
7. Butler Tray Potting Bench
Portable, collapsible, and pint sized, this potting bench is made from a thrifted folding table with a shallow drawer attached to the tabletop.
Inspired by a butler tray table, the raised sides help keep soil and debris within its confines for easy clean up.
It’s lightweight and foldable too, just tuck it into the garden shed when not in use.
Get the DIY from Sadie Seasongoods.
8. Reclaimed Wood Potting Bench
A large potting bench with a rustic aesthetic, this DIY is all about the salvage.
While the potting bench can be customized based on this design depending on what materials you have on hand, this one is constructed from reclaimed 2×4’s and 1×8’s, fence pickets, and salvaged windows. In the end, it provided a spacious 7 feet by 2 feet working space on the tabletop.
With trellis backing and upper and lower shelves, there’s more than enough room for storage too.
Get the DIY from The Summery Umbrella.
9. Headboard Potting Bench
An old wooden headboard makes for an excellent backing for a potting bench, and this DIY shows how to add a frame for the tabletop and two front legs.
Once it’s all painted or stained the same hue, it becomes a lovely workspace for potting and pruning.
When not in use for gardening, it could easily double as an outdoor bar or buffet table when entertaining guests.
Get the DIY from the Happier Homemaker.
10. Antique Sink Potting Bench
Vintage farmhouse sinks typically feature a high back, a single basin, and one or two drain boards – an ideal arrangement for creating a potting bench work surface.
Keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful treasures from yesteryear. They were quite popular in the 1920s and are super durable since they are made from cast iron and porcelain.
If you’re lucky enough to find one, it’s not too difficult to transform it into a potting bench.
Measure the sink to determine the size of the frame it would sit in, then add some legs and a lower shelf.
Extra touches, like salvaged antique table legs, can be screwed on top of the existing legs to keep with the antiquey look. Vintage fabric can be attached to the front as a skirt to hide stowed buckets and pots.