Estimated Cost: $$$$
Total: 12 – 17 hours
Gardening work will be more enjoyable and efficient with this rugged and versatile potting bench. With plenty of countertop space, pegboard, shelving, a drawer and large bin sized for bags of potting mix, all your potting and transplanting tools will be easily stored and ready to use. Hook a hose up to the PVC faucet setup and you're ready to rinse vegetables or give young transplants a cool drink of water. You can let the sink drain into a bucket underneath, or you can hook up a length of hose and direct it away from the bench for a makeshift drain.
This project represents a fairly significant investment in time and materials, with a stainless steel bar sink, exterior-grade plywood and plumbing supplies. But it is simpler to build than it may appear, and the result will provide years of gardening enjoyment.
Cut parts A through K to size according to the cut list and mark in pencil to keep organized. Begin assembling left side (plumbing side) in the following manner: Install one upper stretcher (G) flush with top of front leg (D) and inset 1 ½" from both the front leg and back leg to allow for the front and back top stretchers (use a scrap block of 2 x 4 and a framing square for proper placement). Install lower stretcher (F) 4" up from bottom of legs and inset 1 ½" from back leg and 1" from front leg fasten with glue and 2" screws. Make sure the assembly is square before proceeding to next step.
Build the right side in the same manner, except this side includes a drawer support (H), which is installed 4 ¾" below the bottom edge of upper stretcher (G). Again, make sure everything is square and attach with glue and 2" screws.
Connect the two end assemblies by attaching the two back stretchers (B), keeping the tops flush with the tops of their corresponding lower stretchers (F). Use glue and 3" screws.
Install top stretcher (C), keeping top of stretcher flush with top of back legs (A). Carefully drill pilot holes and use glue and 3" screws.
Install top front stretcher (J) with glue and 3" screws, keeping top flush with top of upper stretchers (G) and face should be flush with front edge of front legs (D).
Mark center of both back stretchers (B) and line up center of one middle leg (E), keeping the top of the leg 1 ½" down from the top edge of the upper back stretcher so that top of upper stretcher (G) will eventually line up flush with top of back stretcher (B). Attach with glue and 2" screws.
Install bottom front stretcher (I) to front edge of both lower stretchers (F), keeping tops flush. Use glue and 2" screws.
Hold other middle leg (E) even with one of the front legs and mark where front stretcher (I) will fall. Cut a ¾" deep dado for the front stretcher to fit into, mark the center points of both the (I) and (J) and line those up with the center point of front middle leg (E). Attach to bottom front stretcher with 2" screws and glue.
The inside edge of the top front stretcher (J) should fall across the center of the top of the front middle leg (E), leaving about ¾" for both the top front stretcher and middle upper stretcher (G) to attach to the leg. Place middle upper stretcher on top of the back and front middle legs (E) and attach with 3" screws. Drive 3" screws through the front of the top front stretcher and into the middle upper stretcher as well.
Attach the shelf (K) to the back legs (A), keeping bottom of shelf flush with bottom edge of top stretcher (C). Use a combination square and clamps to help keep the shelf square and level. Use glue and 3" screws through the back legs and into the shelf, and use 2" screws from the back of the top stretcher and into the shelf.
Install remaining lower stretcher (F) to both the middle back and front leg (E) with glue and 3" screws, keeping top flush with back and front stretchers (B and I). Attach bottom shelf cleat (M) flush on the left (plumbing side) of the middle lower stretcher (F) to help support undersink shelf (N). Cut the undersink shelf (N) and bottom (O) to size, notching part (N) to fit around back, front and middle legs. There should be at least a 3/8" gap between the two bottom pieces to accept middle pegboard panel later on. Attach with glue and 2" screws.
Cut bin sliders (AA) and install to bottom (O) with glue and finish nails driven below the top surface of (AA). These sliders make it easier for the heavy bin to slide in and out of its appointed space.
Measure and cut the countertop (L) to size. Cut notches to fit around the back legs and keep a ½" to ¾" overhang from the outside edges of both the front and back legs as well as the front edge of the top front stretcher (countertop should be flush with back edge of back stretcher). Lay out the sink cutout where you want it (your sink should come with a template to help you); drill pilot holes inside the layout marks and finish the cut with a jig saw. Install the countertop with glue and 2" screws driven from underneath parts J, G and B (you’ll have to drive screws at an angle in some places, be careful not to drive them through the top of your countertop).
Cut all drawer and bin pieces to size. Apply glue to the ends of the end pieces (T and X, respectively) and clamp the side pieces (S and W) in place as shown in detail illustrations. Drill pilot holes and attach with 1 ¼" deck screws. Position bottom pieces (U and Y) in place and use them to help square up end/side assemblies. Attach with glue and 1 ¼" screws.
Use scrap pieces of plywood on either side and underneath the assembly to get an even ¾" overhang on the drawer face sides and bottom and attach through the back side of drawer end and into the drawer face (V) with glue and 1¼" screws. Repeat this process for the bin, except use two layers of plywood scrap on the bottom of the bin face (Z) to get a 1 ½" overhang on the bottom of the bin face, to account for the added height of the bin sliders.
Cut middle pegboard panel (Q) to size and slide it down into the gap between undersink shelf (N) and bottom (O). Attach at the top with 1 ¼" screws driven into drawer support (H). Leave the finished (white) side facing the open undersink area.
Attach the side and back pegboard panels (P and R) in the same manner, leaving the finished (white) sides facing the outside on the side panel and the inside on the back panel.
Decide where you want your faucet setup to attach to the left side upper stretcher (G) and drill a 7/8" hole in your countertop. Keep the edge of your hole flush with the outside face of upper stretcher. Square two lines even with the outside edges of your hole on your countertop and cut along those lines with a jig saw, resulting in a 7/8" notch to accept the PVC plumbing.
Cut and assemble your PVC in the following order from bottom to top (making measurements and checking to make sure everything will fit as you go): hose thread to pipe thread adapter, female adapter, length of pipe, stop valve, length of pipe, elbow, pipe, elbow. Do a dry assembly first and then use Teflon tape (on threaded parts) and primer and cement (on PVC) to bond all pieces together.
Attach plumbing setup to the bench with pipe straps, making sure you have enough room to turn the handle of the stop valve and the water from the “faucet” will fall into the sink.
Make sure all edges and surfaces are sanded smooth. Plywood pieces require an exterior primer and at least one coat of exterior paint. Pressure treated components can be finished with your choice of weatherproof stain, paint or clear finish. Hook up to water supply, choose your drainage option and begin planting!