Last Updated on February 19, 2021
This simple 2×4 potting bench was in need of a makeover and after so much sanding and a few alterations, she’s done!
It’s a great first project and you can find easy to follow plans from Ana White at https://www.ana-white.com/woodworking-projects/simple-potting-bench
There actually wasn’t much wrong with this simple 2×4 potting bench to start with. It’s held up surprisingly well over the last 5 years with only a couple bowed boards that needed replacing.
My main reason for this 2×4 potting bench makeover was purely cosmetic. The red just isn’t really my style anymore. I wanted the potting bench to flow better with the other projects I’ve been adding to my backyard, like my Honeycomb Garden Trellis, Upcycled Plastic Nursery Pots and Toddler Rainbow Garden. I was looking for way to get rid of the red and incorporate a bit more of my style.
Updating My 2×4 Potting Bench
Here’s how I took my garden potting bench from barn red to a cool two tone pink, plus added a new backing.
1. Removed Damaged Pieces
The top shelf boards on my 2×4 potting bench were bowed and I decided to remove them to replace with new boards. One of the bottom shelf boards was also loose so I removed it to be reinstalled more securely.
The first thing I did was to start sanding away the red paint. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate sanding? And this was A LOT of sanding.
My original plan to was to stain the entire bench, but after over an hour of sanding and lots of sandpaper the paint still wasn’t sanded down enough for stain so I changed my game plan. I decided to just focus on sanding the legs to stain. Instead of sanding the rest of the bench I decided to paint it.
I sanded the legs until they were almost completely free of paint – I’m totally not a perfectionist when it come to sanding. Then I sanded the rest of the 2×4 potting bench until the paint was removed enough that the boards would take new paint easily without too much red showing through.
I used 60 and 100 grit sandpaper with my Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander for this.
3. New Stain & Paint
Once the sanding was FINALLY done (I spread it out over a few days in the North Carolina heat!) I was ready for stain and paint. I chose a medium brown stain for the legs and side braces. Since I didn’t sand perfectly, some red paint shows through, but I actually don’t mind the look.
After staining the legs, I painted the rest of the 2×4 potting bench a peachy-coral color that I already had in my garage.
I did 2 coats of paint and stain.
4. Add new backing and shelf
After removing the original top shelf pieces, I decided to add some additional pieces to the backing and a new top shelf.
I added (4) 39″ 1×4 boards to the back and cut a new 1x8x39″ piece for the top shelf. Later on I plan to add some brackets to support the shelf. Since the original shelf bowed I know that it will need additional support.
I attached the 1x4s directly into the 2×4 legs using 2″ wood screws.
5. New potting bench, new plants
Since I went through all of the work to do this 2×4 potting bench makeover, I totally deserve new plants. Right? I purchased a couple new plants to fill in the empty spots in my Upcycled Nursery Pots hanging above the 2×4 potting bench.
My fun, colorful backyard is definitely coming together! I have so many more projects planned for this area, but for now I’m just going to relax and enjoy my pretty view.