Garden Sink





Introduction: Garden Sink

About: I have been an industrial electrician for almost 10 years. This is why many of my projects are electrical related. I am working on a BS degree for LD&T.

I had an old kitchen sink laying around and this is the idea i came up with to use it, I call it my Garden Sink. this was not a cheap project, some where around $350. i think it was worth the investment just to keep the house a little cleaner during harvest time. the reason it is that much is because i built it out of treated lumber, stainless deck screws, and an electric pump. it was built from eight 2x4x8 and seven deck boards 8 ft long. this will stay out side all year long. in the winter i will remove the pump and cover it with a tarp.

how it works is you fill the tote on the bottom with water, there is a pump on the back side the pumps the water up to the faucet, then the water drains back into the tote.

you can see in the first photo the wings are down, that makes the top 4.5 feet wide by 32 inches deep, and it is 36 inches high just like a normal sink. with the wings up the top becomes 8.5 feet wide and 29 inches deep.

the wheels are solid rubber so i dont have to worry about filling them with air. they are 10 inches tall, i got them at harbor freight.

Step 1: Wings

how the wings work.

the wings hang from 2 1/2-13 bolts. there is a washer between the sink frame and the wing frame to make them swivel more easily. i used a lock nut so i could tighten the nut without pressing the 2 frames together and make them hard to move. i left the nut just loose enough that the wing moves easily but is not loose. the ends of the two wings are rounded so they dont catch on the sink frame as there rotated.

the leg that holds the wings up have 2 hinges allowing the leg to swing out under the wing, or back against the sink frame for storage. both sides are this way. this leg sits just a little lower then the sink top so it does not catch. to put the wing up you lift the wing all the way up, rotate the leg out, lower the wing onto the leg. to put the wing down you lift the wing, rotate the leg in, lower the wing.

on the right side you can see that the sink frame is longer. these are handles to move the sink around with.

Step 2: Plumbing and Electrical

i made some changes so some of what is below has changed. the next step has the current set up.


photo 1 shows all the plumbing. the water comes from the tote to the pump inlet. from the pump out let it passes through a check valve, then past a pressure switch then up the the split valve. the check valve keeps the water from running back down and loosing pressure when the pump is off. the pressure switch turns the pump on and off. i used a split valve because both water lines for the faucet are fed from this same water supply. i don't need the valve, but it was the cheapest way to feed the 2 lines to the faucet with the parts i had at the store. i got the pump from harbor freight. the rest of the parts came from ace hardware or Menards.

photo 2 is a closer look at pump outlet. what i am using for a check valve is not a check valve, it is a home made valve. i did not have room to use an off the shelf valve so i made one. photo 6 shows the three parts, a coupling, a flat rubber seal, and a marble. the coupling is a 3/4". i found a seal that fit perfectly inside it and rested on the small lip in the coupling. i glued the seal in place. then i glued the pipe into the coupling. put the marble in the pipe and continued assembling my way up.

photo 3 shows the inlet side of the pump. there is a union closest to the pump, this is for winter time. when its time to put it away i take the union apart, take the 2 lines off the split valve, un-bolt the pump and take it inside for the winter. there is a bulk head fitting going through the tote. i used this because that's what there made for. you could just silicone the pipe into place, but if there is problems in the future you have to cut it apart. this way i can just un screw it and fix it. at the far right there is a valve. this valve is for draining the tote. it wont get all the water out, but enough so you can take the tote out and dump what is left.

photo 4 is the inside of the tote. i capped a piece of 3/4 pipe and then drilled a bunch of holes into the pipe to allow the water in. the other end has a threaded fitting for the bulk head. i used a shop vac wet filter over the pipe and zip tied the end to keep it in place.

photo 5 shows the drains. these are just straight drain extensions that i cut to the length i needed to be just around the water level. i don't tighten these very much because to take the tote out i need to take off the drains.


back to photo 1, i cut the cord that came on the pump and connected it to the pressure switch.

Step 3: Changes

in the previous step i had a check valve and pressure switch. that set up does not work. i believe that is because there is no place for pressure to be regulated with such a small about of water in the piping. i spent an hour trying to adjust the pressure switch to a point that it would cycle correctly. i finally had to give up. all it would do is make the pump cycle on and off really fast when the valve was closed. so i removed the piping from the top of the pump to the split valve. then i got new fittings and piped it the way the photo shows it. then i mounted the junction box next to the motor for my connections and ran a cable up to the switch that is in the second photo. i have better flow and pressure to the faucet, but now i have to turn the pump on and off manually. i then took the handle off the faucet so it cant be closed and dead head the pump. now in the winter i will have 3 water connections and 1 electrical connection to undo to bring the pump in, but it works now.



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    This is a great idea! I'm definitely going to try and make this this summer. My potting bench happens to be next to the house Water Spicket & the Rain Barrel so instead of the whole "pump" thing, I'm going to purchase a 2 hose connector for the water spicket (using 1 for the sink). I will lead a piece of hose to the faucet for fresh running water then take another section of hose & attach it to the sink drain so the "used" water will go into the water barrel. This way I will still be recycling the water to water my plants.

    Great idea! I'll add this to my winter projects.

    Something like this would be a great addition to my backyard. Thanks!

    That is handy, there are always old ss sinks at the dump for recycle

    That's a nifty idea, Kale. A bit of a challenge, but still. Need to ask my husband to make it. I love the idea of recycling the water and not just throw it away - very useful for a garden, especially a large one, when you have to water a lot. We usually dine outside in summer, so a garbage bin for organic waste would also be a good addition - to make a compost later.

    This is great! I would use one big sink so I could give the dog a bath outdoors

    Oh this is great. I've been trying to figure out how to make something like this for all my pottery/glaze stuff that gets so messy. It should be easy enough to hook it up to a mud catcher so the parts don't get all clogged. Thanks for sharing!

    That is very nice. One could combine it with this foot pump for electric free operation.

    You could add to your tags words pertaining to pottery, because this would make a great clay sink! It would be easy to reclaim your waste clay underneath and you wouldn't have to have the tube in your drain to keep the clay from going down the drain because it wouldn't hurt anything if it did.

    Love it!

    1 reply

    ...also tie-dye! My kids and I (and various neighbors, relatives, & occasional gawker) had an annual (until they grew-up and moved out *sniff-sigh-*sniff) tie-dye event each summer where an outside sink like this would be awesome! Also I was thinking to save $$ you could use old pallets (another 'tag') for the wood? Thanks for a great idea!

    This is a great idea, one can always find a sink, totes, pallet or fence lumber too, sitting at the curb roadside. It'd make a good companion to an outdoor grill, especially if a hose connection was nearby, I'm gonna save this one, thanks.

    3 replies

    originally i was going to just connect it to the hose, but i wanted to conserve water. that's when i decided to recycle the water. plus i didnt want to be standing in a puddle then entire time i was using it. i added the wings so i didnt need to bring another table along. i plan on using this when grilling, campfires, and gardening.

    Good idea for use with a garden hose. I will be saving this for future building. Why not just recycle the hose water into a 5 gallon pail and use it to water your plants? Then, you would not be standing in a puddle.

    with the 30 gallon tote i recycle the water until i am done or it is to dirty. at that point the water can be used for other things like watering plants. then refill the tote if needed to continue working.

    Great job! Wouldn't it be cheaper and just as easy to run the hose straight to the faucet?

    1 reply

    yes it would, but the point was to recycle the water when doing things like washing off garden harvest. then the water can be dumped into the garden or used in some other way.

    This is a great idea! I enjoyed the fact that the sink reuses its own water instead of just moving it elsewhere.. Can I ask what type of pump you used?

    1 reply

    Great idea. Maybe use a rain barrel with a biofilter for your water source. Put the barrel high enough & you wouldn't need the pump. You could also reuse your water for planters, garden, etc.

    could always use one of these on the motor so you step on it to turn it on then when ur done just step off and it turns the water off