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Simple Potting Bench

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 120 Projects

A multi-functional workstation, offers great versatility that makes it useful for a host of different gardening projects. But sometimes, all you really want from your work area is a big, broad surface with plenty of room to spread out and get busy. This workhorse of a bench is modeled after the most-used workspace in any home: the kitchen countertop. At 36" tall, the bench is the same height as most kitchen counters, and at 28" wide, it’s slightly deeper than standard countertops—but not so deep that you can’t easily reach across to the other side. The symmetrical configuration allows you to push any part of the bench against a wall or leave it out in the open for easy access to all sides.

There’s also no need to worry about leaving the bench out in the rain. The understructure is made with moisture-resistant, pressure-treated lumber, and the top is made up of composite decking boards that won’t split, rot, or splinter and require no protective finish.

Of course, if you've always wished your kitchen counters were a bit higher or lower, you can simply add or subtract a few inches from the given dimension for the bench legs. You can also change the length of the bench to fit a tight space, if necessary. Shortening the whole thing by 2 feet allows you to build it with standard 8-ft. lumber and decking instead of 12-ft. and 10-ft. pieces.


This potting bench has a 28 × 71" top and is built with four 2 × 4s and three standard-size decking boards. The handy pot shelf below the bench top is made with a cutoff from one of the deck boards.



  1. HI06150601
    Cut the two top frame sides from one 12-ft. 2 × 4, using a circular saw or power miter saw. Cut the two top frame ends and the four top supports from another 12-ft. 2 × 4. Fit the side pieces over the ends of the end pieces so all top edges are flush. Drill countersunk pilot holes and fasten the pieces together with two 3½" deck screws at each joint.

  2. HI06150602
    Mark the layout for the top supports: Measuring from one end of the top frame, mark both frame sides every 135⁄8". Check the top frame for square, using a framing square. Install the top supports between the frame sides with 3½" deck screws driven through the frame sides and into the supports. Make sure the supports and frame sides are flush across the top.

  3. HI06150603
    Cut the four legs from one 12-ft. 2 × 4. Round-over the edges on the bottom end of each leg, using sandpaper, a file, or a router and roundover bit; this prevents splintering if the table is slid around. Install the legs at the inside corners of the top frame, driving 2½" deck screws through the legs and into the top frame ends. Also screw through the top frame sides and into the legs. Make sure the legs are square to the frame before fastening.

  4. HI06150604
    Mark the inside edge of each leg, 10" up from its bottom end. Measure the distance between each leg pair and cut a leg support to fit snugly between the legs, using the 10-ft. 2 × 4. Install the leg supports with their bottom edges on the marks; drive 3½" screws toenail style through the top and bottom edges of the supports and into the legs.

  5. HI06150605
    Cut the 2 × 4 stretcher to fit snugly between the leg supports, using the remainder of the 10-ft. 2 × 4. Install the stretcher so it’s centered side-to-side on each support, with the top edges flush. Drive 3½" screws through the outsides of the leg supports and into the stretcher ends.

  6. HI06150606
    Cut the top decking boards to length. Clamp the first board in place so it overhangs the front and ends of the top frame by ¾". If the deck boards are crowned (slightly curved across the face), make sure the convex side faces up. Drill two pilot holes at the center of each top frame end and top support location, countersinking the holes slightly. Fasten the board with 2½" deck screws.

  7. HI06150607
    Install the remaining deck boards so all of their ends are perfectly aligned and each board is gapped 1⁄8" from the next (without gaps, the joints would trap dirt). Use pieces of 1⁄8"-thick hardboard or two 1⁄8"-dia. drill bits to set the gaps. The last board should overhang the rear frame side by ¾".

  8. HI06150608
    Complete the pot shelf by cutting the remaining half-piece of deck board to length. Position the board so it is centered side-to-side over the stretcher and overhangs both leg supports by ¾". Fasten the board to the stretcher and leg supports with 2½" deck screws driven through pilot holes.