DIY Raised Bed Vegetable Garden With Garden/Potting Table

2 Materials
4 Days
My husband and I recently had to replace the boards on our deck. My husband had a great idea and decided to use the old boards to build raised beds for a vegetable garden.

Since there were a lot of boards left, I decided to take the recycling concept a bit further and build a work space to use up the remaining wood. So I ended up building a garden/potting bench that kind of evolved as I went. My inspiration for the final project - a 15 foot garden/potting table - was my granddaddy's gardening preparation work space that he built for my grandma after she complained of all the mess that came into the house from the garden. His was about 18 feet long and included a double porcelain sink. I have such fond memories of the many vegetables we prepared and put away in the freezer, or canned using that space.

I'm almost finished - just a few final touches. I just need to install the water supply (underground pipe since we're using the hose for now) for the vintage 1928 farmhouse sink I found on craigslist. I will also add a mount for a 9 foot patio umbrella for shade above the sink area since it's in full sun. I also found a lovely aged cedar wood garden bench on craigslist that I put beside the table for sitting and taking in the beauty of the area and enjoying the views.

First: My husband built the raised beds - 4 feet x 10 feet each. He left 2 feet of space between all of the beds for easy access around each of them. We put down grass seed in the area to keep the weeds down. My husband is able to maintain the area with our John Deere tractor mower. After he finished building the beds I decided that I wanted to make a table so that I could do the garden work where the garden was and leave the mess there rather than bring it in the house. I began constructing a frame using the pre-built deck railings. This made the work much easier.
Next: I put the frame together using the longest span of the railing pieces as the back and used other railing spans for the front and sides. After it was put framed in, I began planning as I built considering all of the things I would be using the table for. I used 2x4s and framed in shelves, which also gave it added stability since it ended up being 15 feet long. I challenged myself to use the rest of the deck wood. However, I decided to use new deck boards to make the top of the table because it would be getting most of the wear and tear from work. I did use up most of the deck boards with very little wasted wood from this project.
Finally: Since the garden is situated on a gentle slope, my husband cut an area into the hill in the back of the garden area, put in a retaining wall to help reduce erosion, and leveled the ground in front of it. Then we put down landscaping plastic to keep the weeds from growing underneath. On top of that we put plastic garage floor tiles that have slots in them that allow for drainage. This is where the completed table was placed. We put down grass seed in front of the area to keep the weeds and mud down. It also makes it easy for him to maintain the area with the tractor mower.

This photo shows the steep hill that we had to prevent from washing into the garden with the landscape wall. My husband will also be putting in stairs leading down the hill using landscaping timbers. From this view you can also see the grape vines my husband planted. He will also be building an arbor in that area.
This is my new place to go and escape.
This view shows the placement of the table in the back of the garden where I can easily gather the vegetables, prep them if I choose, and lay them to dry before I bring them into the house. I have a nice little garden bench beside the work table to sit out and enjoy the view. We used left over landscape timber and boards from the table to build a small table beside the bench.
This is the completed project. I have plenty of shelving storage space for pots, buckets, and bins for everything I need for my gardening and other projects. And I have nine feet of table prep space for spreading out to do any project. I store my potting soil in the galvanized steel covered garbage pail beneath the table ready for any potting needs.
My garden is my new happy place where I go sit and enjoy the view, or work in the garden. All work and no play makes Jill a very dull girl!
This is the completed garden/potting table. I have plenty of shelf space for storing pots, buckets, and bins for everything I need to work in the garden. I store potting soil in the galvanized steel garbage can beneath the sink. I have running water to wash my vegetables before taking them into the house. And there's plenty of space on the table to spread out on the table while working.
In this photo you can see the addition of supports for the grape vines - on the left in the back of the photo. We may also build a pergola out in the area once the vines are establised creating a place to sit and enjoy the fruits of the vine. All work and no play makes Jack and Jill dull!
Suggested materials:
  • Recycled deck wood   (Our old deck materials)
  • Deck wood, 2x4, 1x1, 1x6, lattice, landscape timber, assorted deck screws, landscape plasic, interlocking garage floor tiles, vintage 1928 farmhouse sink, PVC plumbing connectors, garden hose.   (Craigslist, Home Depot, Menards, Ace Hardware)
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3 of 4 comments
  • Ene19230 Ene19230 on Nov 09, 2017
    Kara, thank you so much for your kind comments. I have really enjoyed this space since putting it in over the summer! I think next year I will take it a step further and store cutting boards out in the space to prep everything before bringing it in the house. We have two compost bins out in the area and I can just leave all the mess out there.

    I've also considered getting a generator or running an extension cord out there and using some portable burners for doing some canning projects out there since the tables are large and there is plenty of space to spread out. As you can see, my mind runs a hundred miles an hour! Projects around our home are never done - much to my husband's dismay.

    I just love having a garden again! We live in an area where winters are very cold so it's a treat to have a garden and to be able to have fresh produce in the warm months. I am just finishing up the last of the beef steak tomatoes - so yummy!

  • Nancy Nancy on Dec 11, 2017
    Wow, and I have a double metal sink saved for the last 14+years for the same purpose. But I was only thinking wash sink frame, not potting & work area. Watch out hubby, now I have pictures to go Thank you for posting such a useful and lovely dyi.

    • Ene19230 Ene19230 on Dec 12, 2017
      Thank you for your kind comments on this project. It has come in handy for so many uses - makes a great work bench also for building projects. Would you believe I am still using it in the middle of winter for my potting projects? I'm glad you saved your sink - can't wait to see what you do with it!