DIY Potting Bench – Build it Cheaper than Buying it

“My mommy built this!”  As I was taking pictures she wanted to hop in and do a “video” and that’s what she said. Smile I LOVE my newest build – a DIY potting bench!  Every time I build something I honestly fall in love with building furniture from scratch more and more – can’t wait to build something else!

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But let’s back up a bit… I have this space on our back porch that I really wanted to add something to help our porch function better and add some pretty decor!

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As you can see from this picture our back porch is long and narrow but because of the bay windows that jut out right here, there is quite a bit of space along this one side that I could use.

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We are often grilling out, or roasting smores at a bonfire right off the back porch and other than the table which we really need to keep clear to actually eat at, we don’t have a space to actually serve the food or drinks.  So I wanted something permanent other than just dragging out a folding table onto the back porch that could be used to serve drinks or have hamburger buns and all the fixings on so that we could pull the burgers off the grill, and prep/serve them right outside, and then eat at the table.  I also LOVE plants, probably even more this spring because of spending so much time at home, so a potting bench was something I always dreamed of having.  This DIY potting bench fit perfect in this space and will allow us to be able to use it to fit several needs.

I had actually planned on building a farmhouse X console table for this space and had already bought all the lumber months ago… but now I am glad I hadn’t gotten a chance to built it yet because when I saw Ana White post this farmhouse X potting bench she created plans for this spring, I knew that was exactly what I needed and wanted for this space!  Here’s her potting bench – go here for the complete plans and a video of the complete build process.


And here’s mine – you can see that in mine I did add 2 cross pieces on the top back – they are not structural at all BUT they match the DIY hall tree that I built last year and the cross braces on the DIY farmhouse table that are all on my back porch.   I thought it would be fun to carry that same look over to this potting bench and it also adds a bit more interest to the back.

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One reason I love to build furniture is that it is SO much cheaper to build something than to buy it!  I had this farmhouse style potting table saved in my cart but it is much smaller, probably made out of a more MDF type material, and still costs over $150!  This potting table is very similar to the one I built and looks like it is built with much better lumber but look at that price! 

This potting table was built with:

totaling – $48.85!!  Even though lumber isn’t cheap it is still amazing that you can build a solid wood piece of furniture that will last a lifetime for a fraction of the price that you can buy something.

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So I won’t share a full tutorial because Ana White has all of that on her site including a step-by-step video making it so easy for ANYONE to do.  This is my 4th piece of furniture to build so I am no expert, but having plans like she has on her site makes it something I know I can tackle!  I will share a few tips and tricks, how I customized mine, how I finished it, and of course the whole decorated setup on my back porch.

Her plans are built completely using regular screws and a few finishing nails but I LOVE my Kreg Jig and the strong joints that it allows me to achieve so I used pocket hole screws to do most of my potting bench.  I did secure the top table pieces with regular screws (screwed in from underneath), the very top board is screwed in from on top, and the X pieces and back brace pieces are just secured with wood glue and nails since they aren’t structural.  

Once it was built, I sanded the entire thing with 80 grit sandpaper and then again with 220 grit sandpaper to make it completely smooth.  I stained with Varathane Classic stain in Dark Walnut and then sealed with Varathane Spar Urethane in Clear Satin – I love this exterior water-based version that holds up well but easy cleanup.   Once it was dry, I had 3 of these cup hooks leftover from my DIY plant wall so just screwed them into the back to hold my potting tools.

And here it is on the back porch!

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See how I was saying that my DIY hall tree had those cross pieces on the back?  I love that this now matches with that piece!  By the way, that DIY hall tree was my first build from scratch furniture piece and was also an Ana White plan – you can see all the details and link to the plan here.

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It is absolutely incredible to look across my back porch and know that I built all of this – the farmhouse table, the hall tree, and now the potting bench!

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And then looking this way, you can see my DIY hanging plant wall!  I think I am done building things for the porch, but I do have another outdoor building project I am working on and another outdoor furniture build I plant to do soon.

DIY Hanging Plant Wall-12

But back to the potting bench…   I just LOVE how this turned out and how much function it will bring to this space!

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Obviously, I have no shortage of plants to pot and then display on it  Smile

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I actually have my eye on a cute potting shed sign that I may get to go over it but I just haven’t been able to get to the store to get it yet – I will definitely let you know if I end up getting it and using it here.

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I am forever misplacing/can’t find my gardening tools when I need them so it will so nice to have them here where I can always find them and use them!

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I asked for that cute watering can for Mother’s Day – linked here.  It is just adorable, so big, and perfect for watering all my plants and garden!

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So even though I love it as a potting bench it will probably get just as much, if not more use as a food/drink serving table.

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With a big bin filled with pool towels, suncreen, and bug spray on the bottom and cold drinks and cups on the top perfect for having people over to swim.  I have a feeling that this lemonade stand will be asked for and used much this summer! All the cute lemon decor came from the Target dollar spot last year – hoping they have something similar this summer.

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We have had a gorgeous spring but I see the 90 degree temps creeping into the forecast next week so bring on pool weather, lemonade, and all the summer activities at home!

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I hope this inspires you if there is something that want or need for your home but the price tag is beyond your budget, see if you can build it instead!  Not only will you save your budget but you will have something to take pride in that you built yourself! Smile 

And here’s even more inspiration on projects that you can tackle that are much cheaper to build than buy done by some other amazing bloggers:

See More Build it Cheaper Than Buying It Projects
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  1. Kaye Mattson says:

    I love your new potting bench/serving center! I am sure you will use it alot. I admire you for going ahead and Learning how to build furniture!Great job!

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