Introduction: Planting Bench With Protected Growing Station

Picture of Planting Bench With Protected Growing Station

Anyone who enjoys growing or gardening knows that constantly bending over to work or working directly on the ground can be hard on the back as well as make a fun hobby more of chore. A planting or Potting bench is a work bench that can keep all your planting tools, soils and pots in one place while providing a working platform that is not only convenient to use but well organized.

The Planting Bench showcased here is made with 95% reclaimed wood and actually allows for not only using the bench as a work surface but it's built in such a way that you can actually grow vegetables and herbs within the bench while keeping the functionality of the bench's works areas clear and clean.

This project for me is by far one of my favourite builds yet. I love growing things and this bench has been perfect for what I wanted. Its extremely strong and stands alone with out the need for any supports. I built it in 1.5 days with wood I had laying around and left over pieces from other projects. I had no design or plan when I built it, just a general idea of what I wanted but the majority of the design decisions came from working with what available wood I had on hand. The only wood I had to buy was the post supports because I wanted 4"x4" supports for extreme strength. I bought one 12' piece that cost me $12.95 and had it cut in the lumber store.

Now because I had no design and the wood I used was "reclaimed and extra" the material list might be a little random but I'll try my best to cover everything you will need to build something like this for yourself.

Bench Materials:

  1. Wood and lots of it !
  2. 4 pieces 4x4 posts cut to 3' tall
  3. 2 pc. 8'x 2" x 4" for the frame with 2' cut of each end leaving you with 2, 6 foot pieces and 2, 2 foot pieces
  4. Barn fence boards they are usually 12" wide 3/4" thick and 6'-7' long I had a bunch laying around.
  5. Slat material - I used 8 pieces of 1.5" wide x 8' long by 3/4" thick which I had laying around from a different project.
  6. Skid or pallet wood for side shelf
  7. Lots of cut offs and random pieces to use where you can
  8. 1 pc. of Lexan, This can be pricey but you can get it at most home reno stores they sell it in Canada at Home Depot. I already had it laying around so for me it was free but this is essential to the growing section of the planter bench

Bench Accessories:

  1. Screw eyelets for hanging things
  2. different types of small fixtures to hang larger items off of
  3. outdoor thermometer
  4. beer/bottle opener
  5. wine crates (optional) but helpful - get them at a liquor store
  6. watering can
  7. gardening tools
  8. garden netting 9optional

Tools Needed:

  1. Jigsaw or circular saw
  2. power drill
  3. miter saw (optional)
  4. lots of screws of different sizes
  5. hammer and finishing nails

***Pro-tip - Most of the fun when making something like this comes from the versatility in design options and making changes on the fly based on what material you are working with. So use this instructable as a guide but I highly recommend altering the design and really making it your own through trial and error***

Step 1: Building the Frame

Picture of Building the Frame

The frame for a planting bench needs to be sturdy because soil, plants and tools can weigh quite a bit especially after you soak everything in water adding to the overall weight. Not to worry though a 2x4 frame on 4x4 posts will be more then enough to support 200-300lbs

I had 8 foot long 2x4's laying around from another project so I cut 2' off each end and was left with 2, 6 foot lengths and 2, 2 foot lengths.

I had to buy the posts for the legs I bought 1, 12' long piece of 4x4 and had it cut in the lumber store to 4 equal lengths of 3'.

Step 1 - On a level floor layout the rectangular shape of the bench with the 2x4 pieces. make sure to use a "square" or something that will ensure these initial frame is as square as possible. now place two screws in each end securing the frame together.

Step 2 - Attaching the legs is simple. Move the frame to a bench to make it easier to work with. find a spacer that is about 3/4" in height and place it in the corner of the frame then place 1 4x4 post/leg in the corner and secure with 4 3" wood screws, 2 from each side of the frame. The spacer is used to elevate the 4x4 post so that when you have attached all 4 legs and flip the bench right side up there will be an equal offset from the top of the bench to the top of the legs allowing you to add slats that will be flush later on.

Step 3 - Now you can flip the bench over and secure supports to the legs which will also be supports for a lower bench that will act as storage as well as the growing section of the bench. I used 2x2 pieces and attached them just a bit lower then halfway down the legs. Then I grabbed 1 on the fence boards I had and placed it on the supports to see how it looked but I thought it would look better as 2 pieces so I just measured it and cut it in half to create two strips. I then attached them to the supports and now I had a growing shelf.

Step 4 - Adding Slat supports. I had some 3/4" thick by 1.5" wide by 8' long laying around from a frame a built for a different instructable so I cut it to sit flush inside the legs at the same height and secure it to the front and back of the bench. These will act as the supports for the slats and Lexan which eventually make the bench portion of the bench.

Step 5 - Adding the top shelf. With some cut off pieces of wood I made 2 supports that were about 10-12" tall then secured them to the back of the bench frame. I used an extra piece of fence board and attached it to the supports then used some 90 degree metal supports to add more stability to the shelf. After the shelf was secure I added 1" slats between the two supports with some strips of wood I cut out from a piece of fence board. They not only provided more stability to the shelf but looked great and was very quick and easy to install.

Step 6 - Adding Slats and Lexan. So I had an old piece of Lexan which is the clear plastic looking piece you can see in the photos. I wanted to make a growing station so I centered the clear Lexan and then measure my remaining space to be filled with slats. I cut the slats to fit and then spaced them by eye and secure each slat with 2 screws, one screw at each end. Finally the bench was taking shape.

****The Lexan is not secured down. I wanted to be able to lift the clear piece of Lexan so I could clean it or wipe it down or even to simply remove it and allow full light and rain into the growing area.****

Step 2: Customizing and Finishing Touches

Picture of Customizing and Finishing Touches

Now that the frame and bench is basically complete you can can now add things to make it more functional and make your life easier when working and planting on the bench. I added a varierty of different fasteners and holders for different tools. I added green netting to the back to help deter some larger animals like squires and birds.

When my bench was basically done I decided I wanted to add another grwoing shelf to the right side of the planting bench that I chould grow tomoatoes and peppers on. I grabed some random wood I had laying around and made a very simple shelf that was sturdy and looks great too.

I added 2 LED solar lights to the upper shelf for a little landscape lighting at night. Though I am probably not going to be doing much planting at night the solar lights look very nice accenting the bench in my yard.

Step 3: Functionality and Growing

Picture of Functionality and Growing

After 2 weeks my plants are growing great and the bench is more then I could have ever hoped for. I am planting or re-potting different items almost everyday and the Planted Bench is the best and most usable garden item I have.

Key functionality points

- The bench is easy to clean and drains all water quickly and efficiently reducing the risk of mold related issues.

- The Lexan growing area is working wonders. It protects the younger seedlings from the direct elements, creates a somewhat more humid greenhouse like environment and if I want to I can remove the Lexan and allow for rain water to fall onto the plants naturally.

- I used 95% reclaimed wood and scrap wood I already owned which kept cost down and was fun to work around.

- The Planting Bench has a presence in my yard and is a good looking outdoor structure. The solar lighting accents the wood at night creating ambiant lighting in my yard.

- I made the entire project with no plan or design I just had fun doing it.

- The bench can easilly hold 200-300 lbs of weight.

- The bench is moveable and can be brought to a new house should I ever move or want to just move it to a different location on my current property.

- I had so much fun building it !

Comments

RobertL177 made it! (author)2016-08-04

This is my version of a planting bench. Not so big and without the glas growing but it fits perfectly behind the house. Thanks for the ideas from this instructable.

immaculatelation (author)2016-06-03

Great job! Coincidentally, I just built one myself about a month ago from scrap pallet wood I reclaimed, a few fence pickets, a glass coffee table top, and an old piece of 2X8 cut in half. I use and reuse stainless hardware. I love mine, but I have to admit, yours is a lot more attractive and sturdy. I love all of the "bells and whistles" you've added to yours too.

Your bench sounds great and thank you for the comment. You should make an instructable or at least upload a picture of your bench.

Thanks again for the comment

I've had a few instructables in mind to make over the years, but never took the time to figure out how. Maybe I'll look into that this weekend.

That planter bench is really cool !! I love the photos

Thanks! By the way, since my first comment to you, I finally made an instructable.

TeresaM7 (author)2016-05-31

I use an old table that was sitting behind my home when I bought it. Obviously, the previous owner used it for his projects. But it is in desperate need of replacing as it is falling down, and I need a work table. This looks perfect! Thank you, Corasaurus!

Corasaurus Rex (author)TeresaM72016-06-02

Its been two weeks total since it has been set up and its come in so handy. My only problem at the moment is SQUIRRELS hey have been digging in my just about everything. Now, the veges are still growing but the soil disturbances don't help. But the actual bench is doing is amazing and very esy to use while gardening. Thank you for the comment

I had the same problem. They're cute, but I wanted to choke them. And now the birds are pecking my tomatoes, and something is eating my melons--maybe turtles. One of the birds (I assume) broke a tomato plant. The squirrels are up to something else too, but I haven't figured out what. I keep catching them in my garden. I need a game camera.

TeresaM7 (author)Corasaurus Rex2016-06-03

Try feeding your squirrels. I know it sounds counter to ridding yourself of their depredations, but I have quite a few squirrels. They help themselves to the seed and such we put out for them and ignore my garden. They gather up the bird seed that falls out of my feeder, but cracked corn should work fine. And it's wonderful! I looked out one day. There was a mallard duck drake sitting under the feeder nibbling away, a squirrel beside him hopping around, and numerous types of birds, some on the ground (doves prefer there) and some in the feeder, everyone just happily eating away together. If only humans were so accepting of diversity!

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-07-17

Everything growing wonderfully

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-07-17

This grow bench is so awesome

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-07-02

Everything growing amazing

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-07-02

The bench is even better then I had hoped

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-06-17

The planter bench is growing everything great

Corasaurus Rex (author)2016-06-02

This bench has been used on a website as an example project they will help you build. They supplied a link to my instructable as well, so its all good. here is the link

http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4485dae0faae99...

I am happy to see people like the Bench I love it and id highly recommend something similar

zacatewo (author)2016-06-02

Great!

Corasaurus Rex (author)zacatewo2016-06-02

Thank you !

kathyh3068 (author)2016-06-02

Beautiful!

Thank you so much It was a fun project

fabianobss (author)2016-06-02

Really Nice work. Looking foward to make it.

kirstencoeur (author)2016-05-31

This looks so great!

danzo321 (author)2016-05-31

You had a good time and created a usable work station that looks good, but. Your original rectangle is built by screwing or nailing into end grain. This is always weak. You improved the joints by nailing into the 4x4s, but these are not full length in the joint. If you push the top from the ends, the whole thing will sway (loosening) and keep loosening. If you can throw in some diagonal (45º or so) braces, this will greatly strengthen things.

Corasaurus Rex (author)danzo3212016-05-31

I had a great time making this for sure. As for your comment thank you and I will consider the extra supports for sure. There are however 4 screws in each 4x4 at the top then the lower support/growing bench is secured well. There is also the side bench I added which provides further support and then the top slats are also keeping things together quite tightly. Now as the bench weathers there might be some play but as for now it seems extremely sturdy. The total weight is about 80-90 lbs and so far it feels solid, easily supporting my weight which is 215 lbs

Corasaurus Rex made it! (author)2016-05-31

Here are some updated pictures and proof of the functionality of the growing station with in the Planter Bench

I am not sure why but the picture editor rotaded these and I cant seem to fix them

DavidL237 (author)2016-05-31

Very nice!! Thanks for sharing!!

Corasaurus Rex (author)DavidL2372016-05-31

thank you very much

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