How to Build a Simple Potting Bench
by Michael J. McGroarty -
potting bench that you are about to read about is not fancy,
but very functional. It is also very easy to build and use.
Except it doesn't have any legs! Don't panic, having a
legless potting bench is actually a benefit, I'll get to
that a little later.
potting bench described in this article is actually
identical to the potting bench that we have been using for
years in our backyard nursery, and it has served us well,
potting up tens of thousands of plants. I like it because
it is large enough to pot up around ten small plants at a
time, and it holds a significant amount of soil.
However, since I originally wrote this article, I designed
and built a potting bench for home gardeners that you may
like better. There are lots of photos and step by step
plans for building it on this page:
the above page you will also find a photo of one of my other
potting bench designs, an outhouse with a flip out
potting bench! It's unique, that's for sure.
back to my legless potting bench.
Here's a short list of what you'll need to build Mike's
rugged, but functional potting bench.
Tools: A screwdriver, a small box wrench or crescent wrench,
or if you have a 1/4" drive socket set that's even better. A
tape measure, a small square, a drill, and a power saw.
Materials: One full sheet (4' by 8') of 3/4" treated
plywood. Make sure it is treated so it will last a long
time. Untreated plywood does not hold up well at all
dohickeys (you know, those little metal angle brackets, or
corner brackets used to connect two boards together at a
right angle. These metal brackets are bent in a 90 degree
angle and have two holes drilled in them.
bolts with nuts 1-¼" long, and the correct size to fit the
angle brackets you buy.
flat washers that fit the bolts
This is the potting bench you are going to build.
"Mike's Legless Potting Bench"
use this article you can use the photos that accompany the
article, as long as you leave the reference to
http://www.freeplants.com on the photos.
Notice in the above photo that one end of the bench is
resting on the potting soil pile, and the other on concrete
blocks. Not having legs is really an advantage because you
can get the potting bench much closer to your potting soil
Before you start, draw this out on paper so you know exactly
what each piece of wood is supposed to look like before make
any cuts. This way you won't make a mistake that will ruin
your piece of plywood.
the plywood on a flat surface, like your garage floor. From
one end measure in 16" and draw a line across the sheet of
plywood. With your saw, cut along this line. The piece that
you are cutting off is 16" by 48".
draw a diagonal line across the smaller piece of plywood.
(The one you just removed from the sheet.) Cut along this
line. You should now have two triangular pieces that measure
48" on one side and 16" on one side.
pieces should be in the shape of a right triangle. Now you
are going to remove a small piece from the pointed end of
the triangular pieces. To do this, measure 24" from the
right angle, along the 48" side and make a mark. Using a
small square draw a line from this mark across the pointed
end of the plywood. This line should be at a right angle to
the 48" side of the board. This line should only be about 4"
long. Cut along this line, removing the small piece from the
pointed end. Discard the small piece you cut off. The piece
you have left should be 16" on one end, 24" on one side, and
about 4" where you made the cut to remove the pointed end.
two smaller boards you have left should be identical. These
are the sides for your potting bench.
back to the larger piece of wood. This piece should now
measure 80" by 48". From the long side measure over 16" and
draw a line from one end to the other. Cut along this line.
The piece you are removing should be 16" by 80", leaving a
piece 32" by 80".
two pieces will serve as the bottom and the back of your
potting bench. Take the back piece and stand it on edge, on
top of the piece that will serve as the bottom of the bench
to get an idea of how your potting bench is going to fit
together. Make five marks where you will mount the angle
brackets that will hold these two pieces together. Just
space the five brackets along the two boards, making sure
not to put any too close to the end so they don't interfere
when you install the two end pieces. Just keep the brackets
about 1-½" from each end.
Once you have the brackets installed and the bolts all tight
you might want to cut off the ends of the bolts and file
them smooth if they are sticking out so far as to be a
hazard when you are handling the potting bench.
you have all five brackets installed and the back of the
potting bench mounted to the bottom, you can then install
the two side pieces. With the two side pieces installed you
are now the proud owner of a legless potting bench. You can
install legs if you'd like to, but I like mine without legs
because I can get it much closer to my pile of potting
I do is rest one end of the bench right on the pile of
potting soil, and then support the other end with a saw
horse, concrete blocks, or milk crates. By placing one end
right on the soil pile, it is very easy to shovel the soil
onto the bench. Not having legs also makes the bench easier
to store and move around.
I want to use it as a table for making cuttings, I just put
a saw horse under each end.
you have it. Mike's famous legless potting bench. It ain't
pretty, but it's very functional.
Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit
www.freeplants.com and sign up for his excellent
gardening newsletter, and grab a FREE copy of his
E-book, "Easy Plant Propagation"