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A potting bench is essential for the convenience it provides a serious gardener. If you grow plants from seed, keep a container garden, or need to pot up your thriving houseplants, a freestanding work station will save your back, store your supplies, and help you stay organized. A potting bench will quickly become your go-to place for just about any garden-related project when you aren't working in the garden itself.
Potting benches can be found in every configuration to suit a gardener's particular working style. Some are built low enough to allow you to sit while your work. If you prefer to stand, there is a bench for you with the work surface at counter height. Some have wheels and some are stationary, though most are constructed of materials light enough to be moved manually. Most include some built-in storage. We dug in to find potting benches with features to suit your growing needs.
Sol 72 Outdoor Aanya Hardwood Dark Red Meranti Potting Bench
Dimensions: 19.5 x 35.94 x 42.7 inches | Material: Meranti hardwood
This potting bench by Sol 72 is constructed out of meranti hardwood and features a warm reddish tint with a weather-resistant finish. You'll get a 19.5 x 36-inch surface for transplanting, trimming, pruning, and tinkering around, plus a lower shelf of the same size for stashing all your supplies.
Best Choice Products Outdoor Garden Potting Bench
Dimensions: 39.5 x 18 x 55.25 inches | Material: Wood
We're loving this fir wood potting bench from Best Choice Products. It's just over 55 inches tall with a 39.5 x 18-inch surface that pulls out to extend your workspace while opening up the included food-grade dry sink. With a two-tier upper ledge, a wide shelf on the bottom, plus hooks on the front legs, you'll have plenty of space for all your gardening supplies.
Pottery Barn Abbott Potting Station
Dimensions: 30 x 21 x 36 inches | Material: Acacia wood, cement top
Pottery Barn's Abbott Potting Station is constructed out of solid acacia wood and features a cement surface and two shelves. This bench is 36 inches tall with a 29 x 21-inch surface area. The timeless design has a slight industrial flair that'll complement any outdoor space.
Convenience Concepts Deluxe Potting Bench with Cabinet
Dimensions: 46 x 17.75 x 47.62 inches | Material: Oak wood, metal top
This sturdy potting bench is made of solid oak with a metal surface. You'll get an open shelf and a sizeable cabinet on the bottom, plus a few hooks for your tools. The workspace is 44 x 18 inches, and the entire unit sits 49 inches from the ground.
West Elm Portside Garden Storage
Dimensions: 27 x 17 x 60.3 inches | Material: Eucalyptus and mahogany wood
Measuring just over 60 inches in height, West Elm's Portside Garden Storage is a little taller than other benches. This moisture-resistant shelving unit is made of solid eucalyptus wood and mahogany and finished with a wire-brushing technique. It has three shelves, each 27 x 17 inches, and hooks for hanging all your tools.
Anthropologie Spruce 3-Shelf Plant Stand
Dimensions: 16 x 35 x 36 inches | Material: Spruce wood
We're also big fans of this plant stand from Anthropologie. Made of spruce wood with rubber stoppers on each leg, it can be placed outside or in a covered space, like a shed or utility room. This somewhat petite potting bench is 36 inches tall and has three shelves, each with a 35 x 16-inch surface.
IKEA ÄPPLARÖ Bench
Dimensions: 31.5 x 17.38 x 62.25 inches | Material: Acacia wood
This budget-friendly pick from IKEA doubles as a workstation and an actual bench—as in, the kind you can sit on. The ÄPPLARÖ is about 64 inches tall with a 27 x 9.5-inch shelf, and the bench surface is 16 x 31.5 inches. You can use it as a place to set your watering can and potting soil or get some cushions to turn it into a plush outdoor seat.
Loon Peak Fir Potting Bench
Dimensions: 45.2 x 17.7 x 47.6 inches | Material: Wood
The Loon Peak Potting Bench pulls out all the stops. Featuring a weather-resistant firwood frame, versatile storage options, and a removable sink, it's the ultimate gardening companion. This unit is about 47 inches tall with an 18 x 45-inch work surface.
AmeriHome Multi-Use Potting Table/Work Bench
Dimensions: 42.5 x 24 x 45.50 inches | Material: Galvanized steel
This multi-use unit by AmeriHome can be pulled out when you need a potting bench, workshop station, or an extra serving surface for a barbecue. It's made of heavy-duty galvanized steel, which stands up to rust and corrosion year-round. Measuring 42.5 inches high with a 32 x 24-inch workstation and a small shelf up top, we appreciate the straightforward, minimalist design.
Palram Galvanized Steel Potting Bench
Dimensions: 45 x 20 x 32 inches | Material: Galvanized steel
Thanks to its galvanized steel construction, this workbench will last for years—and maybe even decades. At a modest 32 inches tall with two 45 x 20-inch shelves, it's perfect for greenhouses, patios, sheds, or gardens. Plus, the simple design allows you to place multiple benches side by side.
Vita Burbank Deluxe Vinyl Potting Bench
Dimensions: 44.25 x 24 x 66.5 inches | Material: Plastic
We also like this sleek vinyl option, with its lattice-style wall and smooth, spacious work surface. Measuring 66.5 inches, the Vita Burbank Potting Bench is notably tall with a 44 x 24-inch work area and a bottom shelf of equal size. The lower shelf offers plenty of room for your planters, gardening mix, and watering can, while the upper grid provides space to hang your tools.
What to Look for in a Potting Bench
A good potting bench can serve multiple purposes, but the primary purpose is to provide a place for soil mixes, the pots you will be filling, and the plants you will work with. You need a large flat working surface to accommodate the materials, and a dry sink or well for holding soils is a plus. If you are working with seed trays or large pots, look for a bench with extendable surfaces like hinged, fold-down shelving. Smaller shelves or hooks will keep your tools out of the way when you aren't using them. If you have a massive garden or manage a greenhouse, you'll likely want something a bit larger. However, if you have just a few raised beds or potted plants, a smaller unit will probably suffice.
Since potting benches are typically placed outdoors, the material used to build them is crucial. Many options are made of weather-resistant woods, like fir, acacia, spruce, eucalyptus, and mahogany. You'll also find units constructed out of water-resistant vinyl, resin, iron, or galvanized steel, the latter of which offers the longest lifespan and all-weather resistance.
Many outdoor woods weather well, but you can extend the life of your wooden bench by adding a weather-resistant stain or finish every few years. Additionally, a lightweight bench can be moved indoors during months of inclement weather, or you can add a tarp or cover to protect your investment.
Aside from a work surface, most potting benches are designed with at least one additional shelf. This may be enough space, but if you need a little extra storage, look for an option with multiple shelves and built-in hooks. Some also have drawers, sinks, and other handy features for keeping all your gardening materials organized and within reach.
How high should a potting bench be?
Just like your kitchen countertops, manufactured potting benches come in standard sizes, generally 3 feet high. When considering a design, the overriding consideration is comfort. Your potting bench should relieve the need to do a lot of bending and lifting. Most gardeners prefer to stand while working with soil and plants, however potting benches are available in heights to accommodate a sitting position. A tall person will benefit from a bench with work surfaces a few inches higher.
Where do you put a potting bench?
Locate your potting bench in a place that is easy to get to and convenient to your gardens. Most are placed outdoors, You will be working with soil and plants, so an outdoor location or a shed or greenhouse is best to avoid constant clean-up. If you set the bench on a patio or deck, you may find yourself doing a lot of sweeping. Other considerations include proximity to running water and bulk supplies.
Can you keep a potting bench outside?
A potting bench with a weather-proofed finish or constructed of materials
designed for outdoor use can be kept outside. If this is unavailable, a tarp can be used to cover the bench during inclement weather. Alternatively, the bench can be moved indoors. A weather-resistant covering of some type during the cold season is a good idea, regardless, as this will help preserve quality and extend the life of your bench.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer specializing in home improvement, furniture, and outdoor goods. She's well-versed in weather-resistant materials and has a keen eye for high-quality gardening products. You can check out more of her writing on MyDomaine and Byrdie.
Barbara Gillette provided additional research for this article. She is a Master Gardener and herbalist who sows hundreds of seeds for her organic vegetable and herb gardens each year at her potting bench. She works with honeybees and other pollinators to grow and tend organic vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers on her 8-acre hobby farm.