Looking for a DIY gardening bench manual? This step-by-step DIY guide for a wooden potting bench will help you build one without spending too much time or money. While there are dozens of potting bench plans out there, this one is simple and easy without sacrificing style. Fire up your can-do attitude and let’s get started!
How to Build a DIY Gardening Bench From Pallets
What’s a Gardening Bench?
A gardening or potting bench is a type of workbench used for simple gardening tasks. Choosing a gardening bench all depends on your personal preference. However, why buy a fancy and expensive one when you can proudly make one on your own?
You don’t have to spend much on a serviceable potting bench. After all, you may already have the tools and some of the materials to make one. In fact, you don’t have to spend at all when you can have the materials for free — if you know where to look.
There are dozens of potting bench plans out there, but we’ll have fun with this pallet potting bench. Hunt through a local industrial area for wood pallets. You can have them for a bargain, or if you’re lucky you can get them totally free. Using pallets is like killing two birds with one stone:y ou’re able to make the best wooden potting bench, and you get to recycle. How about that? So let’s get this project going!
What You’ll Need:
- Two wooden pallets (US standard size 48″ x 48″)
- 2″ x 4″ lumber
- Screws or lag bolts
- Screw Hooks (for hanging gardening tools)
- Pry Bar
- Circular Saw
- Table Saw (optional)
- Tape Measure
- Palm Sander
- Wood glue
Step 1: Take Pallet Apart
Using a pry bar, take the pallet planks apart carefully. Make sure to wear protective gear like work gloves and safety glasses. Take special care when removing the edges attached to nails when disassembling. You want to keep the wood as intact as possible.
Step 2: Select Planks for Potting Bench Parts
A US standard-sized pallet can make a 50″ x 40″ x 20″ potting bench. Use the slats for fillers and the center supports for the bottom shelf and the front legs. Pallet slats can come in varying widths and thicknesses so here’s a list of standard cut measurements so you can make the necessary adjustments. Use a straightedge and a pencil to mark different wood pieces for the potting bench parts. You can follow this cut list:
- 4 2″ x 4″ at 48″ boards/slats for back legs
- 4 2″ x 4″ at 36″ boards/slats for front legs
- 10 36″ boards/slats for shelf boards
- 6 20″ boards/slats for shelf and shelf center support
- 2 39″ boards/slats for top shelf and top-shelf support
- 4 39″ boards/slats for back supports
Step 3: Prepare Wood for Front and Back Legs
Use the pieces in the best condition for the legs. Make sure they don’t have splinters or too many knot holes. Still, don’t worry. You can do some cosmetic touch-ups with some fillers later.
To make a sturdier support, you can join two whole-length pallet pieces to make 2″ x 4″s. Use a table saw to cut to the desired wood size. Sand the pieces first and then join surfaces with glue. Do this for both the front and back legs and set aside.
Step 4: Building the Shelves
Assemble the slats for shelf boards so it is 36″ long and 20″ wide. Depending on the width of each slat, you can cut up some pieces so all the slats combined makes 20″ wide. Set one of the boards for shelf support over to one side of the width of the assembled pieces.
Fasten each slat to the shelf support with screws. Do the same with the shelf support for the other side. Mark the center of the length of the board and attach the center support slat with glue and screws. Make another shelf board for the countertop following the same instructions.
Step 5: Assemble the Legs and Bottom Shelf
Measure 8 inches from the base, up the boards that will make the legs, then mark. Also, mark 36″ from the base of the back legs (this is for the countertop).
To assemble the legs, start on one side of the bottom shelf. Lay down the slats for the front and back legs. Position one side of the shelf board so that the marked lines meet.
You can pre-drill from the inside of the shelf board support and then countersink if you want to hide the screw holes. Attach the screws and do the same to the other side.
Step 6: Install Countertop
Use the level as you go along to make the necessary adjustments. Now, for the countertop, simply slide the shelf board inside the assembled leg boards. You can turn the bench on one side to connect the boards easier with screws. Level the shelf board surface with the markings, pre-drill, then countersink.
Step 7: Adding Top Shelf and Back Supports
Take the 39″ top shelf slat and lay it on top of the back legs. The back edge of the top shelf board must line with the back edges of the back legs. Attach the top shelf with screws or lag bolts.
To add the back supports, simply place the slats against the shelves. For the top shelf, allow a two-inch margin to the top and then attach with screws. Do the same for the countertop and bottom shelf.
Step 8: Smooth and Sand Wood Surfaces
You can fill the holes with wood fillers — just allow them to dry for some time. Once dry, you can now sand the almost finished pallet project. Use your palm sander and some sandpaper to smoothen the surfaces and round down the edges. We sure don’t want the splinters while working on our gardening ideas!
Step 9: Add Finishing Touches
Add hook screws and nails for organizing your gardening tools. You can choose to paint your finished project (use an organic or eco-friendly paint!).
Watch this video from Steve Carmichael to see a DIY gardening bench in action:
There you have it! A DIY gardening bench all done. Wasn’t this project a blast? Now you won’t have to wear your garden table down with pots and plants all over the top. Instead, you can put your neat gardening bench up to the task!
Will you give this sustainable DIY gardening bench a try? We’d be glad to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below!