Potting Bench - Seeking Recommendations

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by BattleRidge posted 12-15-2018 05:20 PM 466 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BattleRidge's profile


149 posts in 991 days

12-15-2018 05:20 PM

I am planning on building my wife a potting bench and would appreciate any recommendations or input that anyone would like to share.

The potting bench would be in our walk-out basement during the winter and early spring season where it would be used to start garden seedlings and for other tasks. In the summertime through autumn, it will be located on our connected covered patio where it will serve in a decorative role and for functional purposes during gatherings and such. It is unlikely to have direct exposure to our mixed Ohio weather.

I am planning on using standard borg lumber 2×4, 2×6, 4×4 and 1×4, 1×6 (ponderosa pine) and a treated lattice panel. Is there any reason this wouldn’t be suitable wood for the project?

For a finish I am planning on using Behr Premium Low Lustre Interior/Exterior Porch and Patio Floor Paint for durability since it will have some potting activities taking place on it (though for the dirty activities, there will likely be a shallow plastic container to catch dirt and such). Will this paint be a good choice for this role?

Attached is a picture of the basic design / appearance that I am going for though there may be some modifications made in the process, as well as the addition of a set of wheels (removable) and extended handles (that can be removed or recessed into the unit when not needed) to facilitate moving the unit.

-- ~Art~

4 replies so far

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2360 days

#1 posted 12-15-2018 05:24 PM

I don’t know about the paint you mention, so I am not helpful, but I am interested.
I would also like to make something like this.

For my Texas climate – hot and humid for most of the year, I have intended to use treated pine. I might change that however, once I get further into the thought process. I hope you get some good replies to this post.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Ripper70's profile


1377 posts in 1684 days

#2 posted 12-15-2018 07:49 PM

I built this for my wife a few seasons ago. Used the exact specs shown in the vid and was quite pleased with the results. Pressure treated wood has held up well through rain, snow, etc. with no issues.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2440 posts in 938 days

#3 posted 12-15-2018 07:50 PM

once you build the first one – (call it “the prototype”)
you will find the little things that make the bench more
user friendly. such as either a tray on the top to contain
the loose dirt so it can be emptied easily.
or ~ a table top with 1/2” between the boards to collect
the loose dirt into a drawer or tub under the table top that can be
removed to return the dirt back to the holding box.
all kinds of things can be learned from your first project.
here is an example of the table top I have in mind with the plastic
tub underneath the table to catch the loose dirt.

you can get the heavy duty mason’s mixing tub at BORG for less than $10.

as for the paint: I personally am not a fan of Behr . . . .
I would go with Valspar or Sherwin-Williams 25 year exterior house paints.
a coat or two of a good oil primer will also “help” with the paint adhesion.
fabricate some foot pads out of pressure treated wood to keep
the legs or base off of the wet ground.

Potting Bench Options could include, but not be limited to,
LED overhead light
running water
stainless sink
electrical outlets
small fan for hot days
propane heater for cold days
apartment size fridge under the bench
electric hot plate to warm up snacks or beverages
paper towel racks
hooks to hold tools, gadgets, gloves, etc.
clock to tell you when it is time to quit for the day
yada yada yada



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View BattleRidge's profile


149 posts in 991 days

#4 posted 12-16-2018 04:40 PM

I appreciate the feedback and thank you for the replies.

I had originally considered treated wood and have used it for a variety of projects over the years but have seen enough comments as to the health & safety concerns that I decided against it for this build. I will give kudos to treated wood though (at least the older varieties) and I built two picnic tables with treated wood about 25 years ago and they have never been sheltered – they are as strong and sturdy as the day they were built. The potting bench will be sheltered from the weather so for the most part there should be little direct water contact.

I appreciate the input on the design and features and it always helps to have additional insight. I’ve searched through Google and Pintrest pics and have tried to steal as much as I could there.

I’ve been on the fence about a tray to catch and sweep soil into but have been leaning toward using a shallow plastic tray on top of the unit when working with soil, then storing it away when not needed. I also thought about a two-level work surface (3’ wide 36” high / 2’ wide 30” high) but think I will instead keep the lines clean and build a one-level 4’ wide x 2’ deep bench with shelves and possibly build a 2’ x 2’ x 30” tall floor cabinet that can sit alongside to hold soil and such. Lighting is also something that I would like to add.

I’ve used a lot of Sherwin Williams (from the S-W store) paint (whole interior of my house, built four years ago) and have used Valspar on my rental house (as a veteran, I like Lowe’s 10% discount), and have had good results from both. In researching porch & floor paint though, I’ve seen some negative comments on some drying and durability issues with Valspar and decided against Sherwin Williams due to the cost unless on sale. From what I’ve seen, it looks like Consumer Reports rated the Behr as being best and I’ve seen good comments on it (the price is pretty reasonable too) and with Home Depot / Lowe’s side-by-side, it is convenient to pick up.

Still contemplating…

-- ~Art~

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics