Build a Portable Potting Bench
Make gardening easier with a portable, storage-packed potting bench. Better Homes and Gardens' contributing editor Danny Lipford shows you how to build one.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Uses for Potting Bench
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.
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Portable Potting Bench
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.
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Potting Bench Materials
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:
- 105 linear feet of pressure-treated 1x4 pine
- 2 lawn mower wheels (8 inches in diameter)
- Axle or bolts to attach the wheels
- 5-gallon plastic bucket
- Corrosion-resistant screws and/or nails
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Potting Bench Cutting List
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
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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.
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Predrill Screw Holes
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.
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Assemble Top Frame
Assemble the top frame by screwing or nailing the side rails and end pieces together.
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Attach Tool Tray
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.
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Attach the 5-gallon bucket flush with the top of the frame by screwing it to cross members.
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Attach Legs to Frame
When the top frame is complete, screw the legs to it from the inside, making sure they are square with the frame.
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Assemble Bottom 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.
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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.
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Attach Sides to Shelf
To prevent items from falling off the bottom shelf, attach boards to the legs on three sides.
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Attach Top Boards
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.
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Attach a short cleat to the bottom of the two bucket access cover boards so they form a single panel.
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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.
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