How to Build a Potting Bench | WoodNaturally

How to Build a Potting Bench

A potting bench will help you stay organized and house tools, pots, soil and more. Below are instructions and a full list of tools and materials you’ll need to build a potting bench.

Potting Bench in Front of Fence


Step 1: Assemble Sides

Lay out the 2x6x60” board (back leg) and 2x6x35” board (front leg) and join with a 2x4x7” at the top and bottom using wood glue and 3-inch exterior wood screws. Repeat to create a mirror piece that will function as the other side of the work bench. The sides will look like a lowercase b and lowercase d.

Step 2: Box Out Frame

Attach the two sides using four horizontal boards (2x4x45). Use wood glue and exterior screws to secure, as in previous step. You’ll have one horizontal board at rear and one at the front at the base of the bench. Repeat this process with two more horizontal 2x4x45” boards at the top of the 35 inch 2x6s, to create the work top frame.

Step 3: Add 2×6 Base Supports

Insert two flat 2×6 boards on either side of the bottom to give screwing surface for the horizontal 2×6 boards/base shelf you’ll be installing later. Secure with wood screws.

Step 4: Notch Vertical Center Brace

Next, take the 2x4x60” vertical center brace and notch it out to accommodate the base’s horizontal 2×4 and the work top’s horizontal 2×4 boards. Notches will be 3 1⁄2 inch tall and 1 1⁄2 inch deep. Measure and mark with pencil, then make your cuts with a jig saw.

Step 5: Add Horizontal Supports

Using two 2x4x15” boards, create center supports for the work top and the base of frame. Center up within the frame and attach one board using 3-inch wood screws. Repeat on the bottom.

Step 6: Add Lower Shelf Leg

Secure the 2x4x19” board to the bottom center support and front facing horizontal 2×4 using 3-inch wood screws. This 19” board will serve as the front left leg to the lower half shelf. You will need to notch this to fit flush with the front horizontal board and match the front 2×6 leg orientations.

Step 7: Notch Plank

Using a jig saw, notch the front bottom shelf deck board to fit around the 2×6 side legs and the 2×4 lower shelf support installed in step 5. Mark and measure to also allow for a one inch overhand along the front of the work bench.

Step 8: Finish Framing Out Lower Shelf

Install the four horizontal 2×4 shelf supports, securing them to the vertical legs using wood screws.

Step 9: Finish Installing Lower & Upper Decking Boards

With one decking board already in place on the bottom (notched), install a full 2x6x48” board at the back. Then, using a table saw or circular saw, rip two boards to be placed in the middle to the appropriate width. Secure the remaining decking boards with wood screws. Repeat this process to finish off the middle shelf (2x6x24”) and work surface (2x6x48”).

Step 10: Install Upper Shelf Support

Using a 2x4x22” board, create the support for the upper shelf. Secure the support between the center and rear side vertical legs using wood screws at desired height.

Step 11: Add Upper Shelf

Use a 1x4x23 1⁄2 “ board to create the shelf and notch to accommodate the center vertical support. Place it on top of the 2×4 support you installed in step 9 and secure using wood glue and wood screws.

Step 12: Add Back Boards

Secure four 1x8x48” boards along the back side of the potting bench using wood screws. Start at the top, line the 1×8 board up flush with the top of the 2×6 vertical supports, then work your way down.

Step 13: Cap It Off

Add a 1x6x49 1⁄2” board to the very top of the bench to cap it off. Center so there’s a 3⁄4 inch overhand on either side. Secure the board to the tops of the vertical supports using wood screws.

Step 14: Add Hooks

For added utility consider adding hooks along the front of the potting bench to keep garden tools and accessories within easy reach.

We’ve compiled a full list of materials you’ll need to build a potting bench here:
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Speed square
  • Eye/ear protection
  • Jig saw
  • Circular or chop saw
  • Softwood lumber such as Pressure Treated Pine, Redwood or Cedar
  • 2”x4”x10’ (4 pc)
  • 2”x6”x10’ (6 pc)
  • 1”x8”x10’ (2pc)
  • 1”x6”x10’ (7pc)
  • 3-inch exterior wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • 4 stainless hooks
Cut List for Frame
  • Back legs – 2”x6”x60” (2pc)
  • Back center – 2”x4”x60” (1 pc)
  • Front legs – 2”x6”x35” (2pc)
  • Base supports – 2”x6”x15” (2 pc laid flat)
  • Side brace – 2”x4”x7” (4 pc)
  • Horizontal center supports – 2”x4”x15”
  • Back side planking – 1”x8”x48” (4pc)
  • Horizontal framing – 2”x4”x45” (4 pc rear/front + top/bottom)
Top Shelf/Cap
  • 1x6x49 1⁄2” (1pc) allow 3⁄4 inch overhang on either side (aka 5/4 board)
Cut List for Planking
  • 1x6x48” (8 pc) – Bottom planks will be notched around a frame then slid down 2×4 during framing and middle boards ripped to proper size for snug fit Small Top Shelf
Small Top Shelf
  • Frame – 2x4x22 (1pc)
  • Planking – 2x6x23.5 (1pc)
Small Lower Shelf Frame
  • 2x4x19″ (Front vertical leg)
  • 2x4x11” (Left side/depth)
  • 2x4x15” (Right side/depth)
  • 2x4x21 5/8” (Front/back horizontal)
  • 1x6x24 (4pc)– Ripped to fit, two are 3 3⁄4” wide, two are 5 1⁄4”