More than a dozen different DIY potting bench ideas you can build or upcycle using reclaimed materials. Includes a variety of different styles and sizes of gardening tables and benches and something for every skill level.
Every garden needs a potting bench!
Outdoor potting benches are great place to start seeds and tend plants. They also provide lots of storage for tools, pots, soil and other garden essentials. I think they’re a must-have!
Potting benches are very versatile and can do double duty as outdoor bars and servers. A combo outdoor buffet and potting bench was one of the first things we built for our outdoor entertaining space after putting in a paver patio and pergola. Along with our farmhouse-style outdoor sink, it’s one of my favorite DIY projects!
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Different Types of Potting Benches
I’ve rounded up a collection of more than a dozen different DIY potting bench ideas to inspire you to build you own, including:
- 2X4 potting benches
- pallet potting benches
- potting benches with sinks
- storage potting benches
- simple potting tables
- mobile potting benches
- potting benches made from old furniture
- potting benches with shelves
There are large potting benches and small potting benches; upcycled potting benches made from old cabinets and furniture; and potting benches for modern urban spaces and for cottage-style gardens.
DIY Potting Bench Ideas
A potting bench is a simple DIY building project, even if you’re not an experienced woodworker.
You can find lots of detailed DIY potting bench plans online, and most of the are really easy builds requiring only a few tools. We built our potting bench with just a tape measure, a level and a drill and a circular saw using plans from Ana White.
💭 Tip: If you don’t have a saw, most hardware stores or lumber yards will cut the wood for you, for free or a nominal fee.
For the tutorials on how to build any of these potting benches, click on the Learn More button below each photo. Most of these tutorials also include detailed supply lists, cut lists and building plans.
How High Should a Potting Bench Be?
Most potting benches are designed to be used while standing. The ideal height for the table surface is 36 inches, the same as a standard kitchen counter.
This will ensure that you don’t have to stoop and put stress on your back while you’re standing and working at the potting bench.
That said, some people may prefer to garden while seated for comfort and accessibility. Several of the plans included here are for potting benches that you can use while sitting on a chair or stool.
If you plan to work at your gardening bench while seated, keep the height between 28 and 32 inches — the same as a kitchen or dining table.
Ultimately, you shoud consider your personal comfort and gardening preferences when building or buying a potting bench:
- Will you be using the potting bench standing up?
- Or do you prefer to use it seated?
What Is the Best Wood For a Potting Bench?
Most potting benches are outdoors and exposed to the elements. For that reason, it’s wise to use a wood that is weather-resistant to extend the life of your build.
Hardwoods will last longer than softwoods, and they are more resistant to rot. Using exterior-grade paints and finishes will also help extend the life of your potting bench.
Depending on your budget, these are good options:
- Western cedar
- pressure-treated lumber
- white oak
- composite lumber
- deck boards
Best Paints & Stains for Potting Benches
When painting or staining outdoor furniture, look for products specifically designed for the elements:
- Fence & Barn Paint
- Outdoor Furniture Paint
- Exterior Stain
- Marine-Grade Varnish
- Outdoor Living Paint
- Chalk-based Paint
- Mineral Paint
Upcycled Potting Benches
When buildng a DIY potting bench, you don’t have to start from scratch.
You can upcycle old wood, pallets and even old furniture into an outdoor potting bench, as these projects shows.
These materials and types of furniture make good candiates for upcycling:
- shipping crates and pallets
- kitchen cabinets
- wooden outdoor tables
- old dressers, sideboards and buffetts
- old windows
- wooden doors
- old headboards
For details and more information on these upcycled potting benches, click on the Learn More button below each photo.
Must-Have Potting Bench Features
Your personal gardening style will dictate what features are most important to you in a potting bench. But here are a few things you may want to add to your DIY potting bench:
- Storage hooks – These are so useful for hanging garden tools, watering cans and other gardening essentials.
- Large work surface – A larger tabletop will allow you to have all your supplies accessible and to work on multiple projects at once. You’ll also be able to pot larger plants and work with seed trays.
- A sink or basin – Having a sink or a basin that you can fill with water is a handy feature to have if you need to wash produce, water plants or rehydrate soil.
- Hidden storage – Hidden (and waterproof) storage for soil, rocks and other supplies will make your gardening life so much easier.
- Mobility – If you add wheels or casters to your potting bench, you’ll have the option to move it around your yard, deck or your patio for gardening chores or entertaining.
- Shelves – A bottom shelf will give your potting bench stability and also provide storage for pots and other supplies. If the lower shelf has gaps between the slats, it will keep water from pooling during rainy weather.
- Hutch or upper shelving – A potting bench with a hutch will give you more storage space than a flat tabletop. You can display smaller plants on upper shelves. Upper hooks can hold more tools or serve as a drying racks for herbs, flowers and seed heads.
- Galvanized surface: A garden bench with a galvanized top or potting may stand up to the elements better than wood. It is also easy to clean.