How to make a garden potting bench

How to make a garden potting bench

Posted 19th Jul 2016

Image: Lizzie Orme

Turn an old wooden door into a gorgeous garden potting bench


We spotted this old wooden door on eBay for 99p and swooped in to buy it, knowing we could give it a new purpose in life. By combining it with an old pallet and a few easily-sourced items we turned it into a super-handy garden store and potting bench.



You will need

wooden door
tape measureBefore
wooden palletpencil
Bosch PWB 600 workbench, £130
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic drill, £100
pine panelling
white steel shelf brackets, £7.47 each, B&Q 32”x 2” timber, from a selection at B&Q Bosch PSM 10,8 LI Cordless multi-sander, £89.99
damp cloth
Rainbow Chalk Furniture Paint in Dusty Blue, £17.99 per 1L
dry cloth
Rainbow Chalk Shabby Chic clear Furniture Wax, £6.50 per 250ml





1 Begin by measuring your door, and finding a pallet that will work well with it. You can of course cut the pallet down – and we will in the next step – but the less you have to cut, the better. Our pallet is almost the exact same width as our door, which worked well, and meant that we only had to trim down the length.


Step 2
Image: Step 2

2 If your pallet does need trimming down, do so now. We shortened ours to make our table top smaller; as our pallet had a central support strut running down its underside, we cut along this line, leaving that central strut (and one of the side support struts) intact for support on either side. Mark it out first with pencil, then use a hand saw or jig saw to cut down the line. Sand along the edge to smooth.

3 Create a panel to attach across the front of your pallet to neaten it up. We used a slat taken from the offcut of our pallet to make this – if you didn’t need to cut your pallet down and thus don’t have any offcuts, simply use a plank of wood or part of another pallet to cover it instead. Measure the width and length of the front edge of your bench top and make the panel to fit, then screw into position.

Step 4

Image: Step 4

4 Make and attach a shelf. We positioned ours across the upper flat panel of the door – this gave us a flat surface to screw into and was at a great height. Begin by making the shelf – we took two pieces of pine panelling and slotted, and glued them together. We then screwed the shelf to the brackets and screwed this to the door.

5 With the door safely propped upright, position the pallet against it to decide what height you’d like the bench top to sit at. We placed ours along the central panel of the door – this was not only at a great height for standing work but provided a flat, sturdy surface to work against, too. Mark the position of the pallet with a pencil.

6 Make a shelf to sit under the bench top. The Ikea legs we used for this project weren’t tall enough to reach the height we’d positioned our bench top at, so we added shelves to both bridge the gap between the two, and provide 2 4 7 8 extra storage. Begin by measuring the difference between the top of the legs (when stood flat on the ground) and the top edge of the front panel of the bench top (again, with the door upright and flat on the ground). From pallet wood, cut four pieces to this length – these will become the side supports for the shelves. To make the shelves, cut three lengths of wood to the same width as the bench top – two will be positioned together at the front of the bench, and one at the back. Measure the depth of the bench top and cut two lengths of 2” x 2” timber to this size. Use these lengths of 2” x 2” as corner supports to attach both the shelves (screwing into the bottom of the 2” x 2”) and the side struts (screwing into the sides of the 2” x 2”), as pictured. Finally, screw the side struts to either side of the bench top, aligning the top edge of the side struts with the top edge of the front panel – refer to the picture opposite if needed.


Step 7

Image: Step 7

7 Attach the bench top to the door. Get a friend to help you stand the door upright, and position the bench top against it, in position with both legs on the floor. Use a spirit level to ensure all parts are completely straight. Screw in from the back of the door, through into the blocks that support the pallet bench top, adding several to both sides and the centre for a firm hold.

8 Sand all over the bench, then wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. Apply two coats of Rainbow Chalk furniture paint all over, leaving to dry thoroughly between each coat, then rub all over with clear furniture wax on a dry cloth to protect the paint.


Potting bench


Photos: Lizzie Orme


Related articles

Inside Ella Russell’s Instagram home: bathroom makeover

Inside Ella Russell’s Instagram home: bathroom makeover

Keep your house warmer this winter with these easy steps

Keep your house warmer this winter with these easy steps

Best pink gins for 2020

Best pink gins for 2020

Valentine's Day at home: everything you need to create the perfect night in

Valentine's Day at home: everything you need to create the perfect night in


Subscribe to our newsletter