My Potting Bench Pad

3 Materials
$100
4 Hours
Medium

I don't love rocks! At all! If I could choose my type of back yard it would be an English cottage garden. Well, the funny thing about that is the fact that I live in Phoenix Arizona. All rock, no cottage! Unless I change it up myself... and that is exactly what I've set out to do. I've always wanted a little potting bench area so I've decided to put one together with rustic and vintage items that I love. But the first thing I had to do was get rid of the rock and replace it with red brick (remember english cottage garden?).

Gather Supplies and Clear the Area

My little area is just that...little. 9 feet long and almost 3 feet wide. Easy Peasy!

So for this job I'm going to need a few supplies...

Brick

Sand

Quikrete

and of course the tools I already have on hand...

Shovel

Rake

Gloves


I bought the brick at Lowes for .56 cents each and by my calculations I would need about 100 brick. I already had 4 that I bought previously because i wanted to see if i thought it was going to look ok. But I went ahead and bought 110 just to be on the safe side. I took my gloves with me to the store to load all those bricks on to the cart and then into my car. So glad I did that!

That reminds me, I need to vacuum my car!

Anyhoo, the first thing I had to do was rake all the rock (as much as possible anyway) out of the area that the brick is going to be laid in. Not an easy job when you have 3-4 inches of 1" rocks. Not to worry...I got the job done and am ready to move to the next step...leveling the ground. Leveling might be a bit of a stretch...lets just say I made the ground as flat as I could with a shovel and rake. Moving on!

Level (sort of) the sand

I purchased 5 bags of Paver Sand for my potting bench pad and dumped 4 of them out at equal intervals. (sorry I forgot to snap a photo of that step) Then using my shovel I spread it out as good as I could but now came the part where I had to try to be as much of a perfectionist as possible. (perfection is not my strongsuit)

I found a 2x2 in the garage and using my miter saw I cut it to the exact width of my potting bench pad. I then used that 2x2 as a trowel and smoothed out the sand and did my best to level it.

Laying the brick

I started in the middle because there just happens to be a landscape irrigation thing-a-ma-jig right smack dab in the middle of where I want this potting bench pad. No worries...I can work around that. So I did!

I decided to lay the brick in a pattern with 2 bricks going one way and then 2 bricks going the opposite way...I'm sure this particular pattern has a name but I don't know what it is.

Anyhow...I had to fudge just a bit because of that darn thingy but it worked out ok so I just kept on rolling!

The actual laying of the brick was pretty easy...and fun, in my opinion. Occasionally I would lay a brick down and it was obviously not flush to the one beside it so i would just pick it up and smooth out the sand under it with my hand and then lay it back down.

Can you see way over on the left side of the photo that there are some bricks missing??? (insert forehead slap)

Go back to Lowe's!

I WAS 4 BRICKS SHORT!!!! Ugh!!!!

Back to Lowe's...for FOUR BRICKS! ( and a hummingbird feeder because it was cute and I like hummingbirds) so there!

Final touches!

Now that ALL 118 bricks are laid, it's time to fill in the cracks. I needed to do something about this landcape irrigation box (can a round thing be called a box?, seems weird) anyhow, so I decided to fill in the extra space around it with rocks that I dug out of the ground as I was sort of leveling it!

I used the last bag of Paver sand to fill in the cracks. Well, kinda! In hindsight I now realize I should have used much finer sand for this part of the process. Paver sand has lots of tiny little pebbles in it so it was not easy to fill cracks but I gave it a good try.

I got down on my knees and used my gloved hands to rub that sand all over the bricks trying real hard to get as much into the cracks as possible. it was about 100 degrees out when I was doing this so it didn't take me long to decide that cracks aren't that big of a deal. Sweep up the remaining sand and move on!!!

Place concrete around the edges

When the professional brick layer laid my pavered sidewalk last winter he used concrete (or something that looked like it) along the outside edge to keep all the pavers in place. Looks easy enough. Lets give it a try.

Pour some Quikcrete in a bowl that is already ruined from paint and add some water. Stir to desired consistency (my only desire was that it work and that I could scoop it along the edge of the bricks).

I must have had my ratio right...or at least good enough because that seemed pretty easy. I used a small shovel and just scooped it all along the outside edge of the brick pad and then tapped on it to level it a bit. I tried to keep it below the top of the brick so that I can cover it with rocks (since they're all around this area of my yard anyway).

Stand back and admire

My mom always said, "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself."

Well, actually, if you want something done right you should probably hire a professional, but I was determined to do this myself and I saved lots of money in the process. And it was fun...cooler weather would have really been nice, but.....Phoenix!

That landscape irrigation thing-a-ma-jig doesn't even matter now...really, it doesn't.

It certainly looks better than it did a few months ago....(see the first photo).

The brick pad is done but the potting bench is still a work in progress. Next up is to paint the table and the arched frame on it. I'll update this post with a new photo once I've got that done. The rest will have to wait until the weather cools down which, for here, means November.

I couldn't wrap up this post without the obligatory photo of my feet on my newly finished brick pad, laid by yours truly.


Have a fabulous day my friends...and remember...If you want something done right.....hire a professional! LOL!!!!


Cindy

UPDATE!!!

Table and arched frame are painted and new hardware installed. I used Benjamin Moore Kennebunkport Green and I love it. So soft and muted. I'll be adding accessories and a shade to this area but that will likely wait until this Fall when the temps go down here in the desert.

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Sherry Turner
    on Jun 28, 2020

    You did a fantastic job. I am the same as you I can’t afford a “professional” so do stuff myself. I am also a widow. I have my 5 year old granddaughter living with me most of the time so I built a pergola (Yes the 6 x 8 corner and centre posts are 3 feet down and in concrete) and hung 2 different kinds of swings on it. She has partial shade and fun. I have a habit of overbuilding stuff. Lol I enjoyed your post

    • Diane
      on Jun 30, 2020

      Lol, i over do also. I think...it just needs a little more there and there etc. Nice to know there's lots of us. Haha

Join the conversation

4 of 103 comments
  • Jeanne Martin
    on Jul 22, 2020

    Absolutely terrific! I would love an area like that...just not in AZ. I live alone (by my choice and it is the best decision I ever made!) so I have to pretty much figure out how to do everything myself (thank god for YouTube!). I have amazed myself and my friends with some of the things I have accomplished. Ya just gotta pull those big girl panties up and do it!

  • Brayjo12
    7 days ago

    Cindy, you are amazing! Great job! Curious to know what kind of shade are you thinking of creating? I ask because I have a similar situation. Keep on doing and creating everyone! Way to go!

    • Thank you! I’m not sure yet on the shade because it needs to be able to attach to the wall so it can’t be too heavy. In my mind I’m imagining something like an old metal awning on the side of an ice cream shop. 😊

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