Make gardening easier with a portable, storage-packed potting bench. Better Homes and Gardens' contributing editor Danny Lipford shows you how to build one.
If you spend a lot of time gardening, a dedicated potting bench comes in handy. Not only does it give you a convenient place to work on your plants, but it's perfect for keeping gardening tools and potting materials organized. Our bench includes a recessed tool tray built into the top, additional storage in the bottom, and a bucket for soil or fertilizer mounted beneath a removable section of the top.
The potting bench we designed has the added advantage of being portable. The wheels on the front and handles on the back allow it to be rolled outside when the weather is nice and moved out of the way to a shed or garage when not in use.
For simplicity and durability, we constructed our potting bench entirely from 1x4 pressure-treated pine lumber. While the size of the bench can be adjusted to fit your needs, we made ours 34 inches high by 24 inches wide by 46 inches long (excluding the 10-inch handles).
To complete the potting bench, you'll need:
A circular saw, handsaw, or power miter saw can be used to cut the lumber to length. Cut the long pieces first, then use leftover scrap for short stock.
2 Top Frame Sides, 59 1/2 inches
4 Top Frame Cross Members, 22 1/2 inches
1 Top Frame End, 24 inches
1 Tray Bottom, 22 1/2 inches
4 Top Slats (outer), 46 inches
2 Top Slats (middle, long), 33 inches
2 Top Slats (middle, short), 13 inches
1 Bucket Slat Brace, 11 inches
2 Bottom Frame Side Rails, 46 inches
4 Bottom Frame Cross Members, 22 1/2 inches
2 Bottom Shelf Sides, 44 1/2 inches
1 Bottom Shelf End, 24 inches
5 Bottom Shelf Slats, 46 inches
2 Legs (rear), 33 1/2 inches
2 Legs (front), 31 1/2 inches
After cutting the pieces for the frame to length, use a sabre saw to notch one end of the top frame side pieces to form 1-3/4-inch handles to make them easier to grip.
Predrill holes for screws to keep the wood from splitting, and countersink them so they are flush with the surface. Because the bench can be used both inside and out, use corrosion-resistant fasteners to prevent rusting.
Assemble the top frame by screwing or nailing the side rails and end pieces together.
Attach the tool tray flush with the bottom of the frame, bordered by one of the frame cross members. Attach the other cross members to the frame sides, leaving enough space between the front two to accommodate the 5-gallon bucket.
Attach the 5-gallon bucket flush with the top of the frame by screwing it to cross members.
When the top frame is complete, screw the legs to it from the inside, making sure they are square with the frame.
Attach the legs to the side pieces of the bottom frame, with the longer legs at the rear near the handles. Screw the cross members to the legs so they are flush with the bottom of the front legs and 2 inches up on the rear legs. This will allow the cart to remain level when the wheels are attached to the front.
Next, screw the five 1x4 boards that form the shelf to the bottom frame, leaving approximately a 1-1/2-inch gap between each board.
To prevent items from falling off the bottom shelf, attach boards to the legs on three sides.
The boards that form the top are screwed or nailed to the top frame, leaving approximately a 1/2-inch gap between each one. The four boards on the outside run the length of the top, while the center two are in two parts to allow access to the bucket mounted underneath the top. The two longer boards in the center should be screwed down. The shorter boards will become the removable top for the bucket.
Attach a short cleat to the bottom of the two bucket access cover boards so they form a single panel.
Attach the wheels to the front frame of the cart with an axle or bolts. The hole for the center of the wheel should be positioned so it is 2 inches up from the bottom of the frame to make the top of the cart level.