DIY Potting Bench - Based on Plans by Ana White

3 Materials
2 Days

I’ve been wanting a potting bench for a while now - something by the back door to display some decor, use as an outdoor work station, and double as a place for UPS to leave packages. After looking around online and at local stores, I couldn’t find anything that I liked that fit the narrow space - so I did what any "woodworking mom" would do, I decided to build it myself. | This post contains affiliate links |

{ Note: The plans I worked from were from Ana White and can be found  HERE }

I came across these Ana White plans for a Simple Potting Bench on Pinterest and thought it was perfect! It was exactly the simple, rugged style I was looking for and easy to tailor to our space too. Most of the wood needed were 2x4’s, which are sturdy and cheap - and thankfully between our garage and my father-in-law’s garage we had all the wood scraps I needed to piece together this project. Since I used leftover wood we already had, this project cost me nothing which was pretty amazing!

Since I only used what wood we had on hand, I had to make do - some of the wood was pressure-treated, some was not, some had knot holes or gashes, and not all of it was “true” (straight). But that was fine by me as this was to be a rustic piece for outside.

Before I started building, I followed Ana White’s “cut list,” cutting and making piles of all the wood in the dimensions I would need to build the project. I carefully choose the lumber for each section to minimize how the knot holes, gashes, or crooked pieces would be seen in the final piece. For our potting bench I made it 4 inches narrower so it would fit against the small wall next to our back door and because of this I had to adjust my cut list and refigure some of the overall dimensions.

The next step was constructing the shelves individually - attaching the outer planks first, checking for square, then spacing out the middle planks and attaching them. To build this whole project I used an  Impact Driver, which made the entire project go much quicker and easier.

To attach the legs, I laid the project on it’s side and carefully measured the distances between the legs as well as up the legs before attaching the shelves to makes sure everything would be as level and as square as possible.

Finally to make the project look more “finished” I added some wood scraps to the sides of the project to conceal the butt ends of the shelves and make it look a little more polished.

I also decided to add some 1x3”s to the front of the shelves to make it look a little more polished from the front as well. (I did not counter-sink these screws, but I should have as they were more noticeable than I was expecting in the finished piece.)

Then came time for painting - I chose to paint the whole potting bench in several coats of my favorite Valspar Stainblocking Bonding Primer/Sealer. This stuff has great coverage and really covers and seals well. My one regret was not giving all the wood pieces a single coat of paint before assembling - as once everything was assembled it was a huge pain to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Finally I finished the project by adding a few little hooks underneath the shelf, from which I can hang tools or decor. I’m really happy with how this came out and how quickly it came together. I can’t wait to decorate it with some plants come next spring!

Please see my original post for additional photos:

{ Follow me on Instagram: @birchlandinghome }

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Sarah | Birch Landing Home

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4 of 23 comments
  • Carol Stowell
    on Nov 6, 2019

    Great project idea. You were so smart to cut all your pieces first. My husband taught me that too. It may not speed the project up in real time but it sure feels like it when u get ready to do the assembly. Great job! 💚

  • Daisy@TX
    on Nov 9, 2019

    Sarah love what you did. Love the rustic look.

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