Best Potting Bench Buyers Guide

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Potting Bench Buyers Guide

The potting bench is one of those pieces of gardening kit that you never knew you needed until you have one, and then you wonder how you lasted so long without it! A quality potting bench provides you with a decent-sized designated area where you can plant and pot to your heart’s content.

Best Pick Potting Bench

Plant Theatre Folding Hardwood Potting Table
22 Reviews
Plant Theatre Folding Hardwood Potting Table
  • Practical and versatile folding hardwood potting table in painted sage, accessories in picture are for illustrative purposes and are available to buy separately
  • The zinc top with retainer edges provides ample working space and slatted middle shelf is useful to store potting tools. Please note tools and accessories in picture are not included
  • Set up straight from the box
  • Folds away for easy out of season storage
  • Dimensions: W82cm x D40cm x H84cm

There are many different styles and designs of potting benches available, ranging from simple wooden-top table designs to multi-functional benches with drawers, shelves, hooks and cupboards, which are great for storing tools and keeping seeds organised. Potting benches which have the added feature of a compost reservoir can even double-up as a garden bar!

Only got 5 minutes

Before you begin your search for your perfect potting bench, consider what you’ll be using your potting bench for and how often. Realistically, if you only intend on using your potting bench a couple of times in the spring, you’ll more than likely be fine with just a basic table model. However, if your fingers are greener than green, and you see yourself potting regularly and using the bench for a range of garden-related tasks, consider one of the multi-functional models. You might end up spending a little bit more but, when you consider all that extra space for you to store and organise your seeds and tools, and no more wasted compost, it’s highly likely that investing in a decent potting bench will actually end up saving you money in the long run!

Potting bench design

Your potting bench will be something of a feature once it’s in place in your garden so you need to go for a design that’s aesthetically pleasing and one that’s in keeping with the current style of your garden. If you like the rustic look, wooden potting benches blend seamlessly into the majority of gardens; from subtle, basic, table styles to the more elaborately designed multi-functional models, you can keep it traditional or go for a more contemporary feel.

Material

Potting benches are constructed from metal, plastic or wood. In terms of wood type, the majority of potting benches will be made from durable, pressure-treated softwood, usually pine or cedar. You can blend your potting bench into your existing outdoor area by staining the wood with a colour that’s in keeping with your current garden furniture and existing wooden features.

Although you might like the idea of keeping it natural and going for an all-wooden model, choosing a potting bench with a galvanised metal worktop is the more functional option – an aluminium top adds strength to the potting bench and is easy to keep clean – it can be wiped and sprayed down easily. Granted, wooden tops do look pretty but even treated wood,

over time, will absorb water and fertiliser, ultimately resulting in rot. It’s a small compromise to make opting for a metal top but once it’s covered in plants and pots, it’s unlikely the metal will be visible at all.

Height

In terms of height, potting benches tend to be around the 80cm (2’6) mark. For the average person, this should be a good height to work comfortably at and should minimise the risk of back strain from over-bending. If you’re particularly tall, potting benches can be raised on bricks however they can’t be lowered, so it’s important to pay attention to the working height measurements displayed in the manufacturer’s handbook.

Weight

The weight of your potting bench becomes relevant if you intend on moving it around your garden. It’s important to remember that although your bench might be easy to move when it’s unladen, once the compost tray is filled; the drawers are stocked and the shelves are piled high, the excess weight soon builds up! Opting for a model with wheels is a good way of ensuring you’ll still be able to move your potting bench around if need be.

In terms of sturdiness, you want a model that’s stable enough to stay put, even on windy days, but one that’s not so heavy, you’ll struggle to move it. Choosing a sheltered spot for your potting bench is often the key to this.

Cost

When it comes to potting benches, you very much get what you pay for. You can get a basic PVC table structure for around £25; timber models start at around the £30 mark and for a decent aluminium bench you’re looking at around  £60+. The more features you go for

obviously the more you’ll pay, which is why it’s important to be realistic when it comes to what you intend on using your potting bench for and how often. It’s unlikely an occasional gardener will need to concern themselves with multiple shelves, hooks, deep-fill compost trays and wheels – but serious gardeners, who plan on using their potting bench regularly, are likely to benefit considerably from extra features such as these.

The best thing to do when shopping for your potting bench is to decide on your budget; stick to it; and then once you have your dream potting bench up and running, take good care of it to maximise its longevity. It’s always worth opting for a model with a galvanised top for durability; at least one or two shelves for storage; and a seed drawer. These features are useful regardless of whether you intend on planting once a week or once a season; any other additional features are best considered a luxury and it’s up to you to decide if you’ll get your use out of them and if they’re worth paying the extra for.

Best Budget Potting Table

Oypla Wooden Potting Table Flower Plant Workbench Garden Greenhouse
10 Reviews
Oypla Wooden Potting Table Flower Plant Workbench Garden Greenhouse
  • Official Oypla Branded Product - Brand New Free UK Delivery
  • Dimensions: 89 x 37 x 76.5cm
  • High Quality Fir Wood Construction - Galvanised Worktop & Feet
  • 4 Hooks for Hanging Tools
  • 2 Shelves for Storing Pots and Equipment

Functional extras

Utensil hooks & shelving 

Both hooks and shelves are useful ways of storing, organising and displaying your garden tools. A great benefit of being able to hang tools on hooks is that they can be put away wet as being hung up means they’ll dry.

Drawers

Finding seeds after misplacing them is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Seed packets are delicate things – they weigh practically nothing and so are easily blown away or swept off worktops. They’re also prone to getting damp and this is a huge no-no when it comes to seeds as damp seed packets are likely to lead to pre-potting germination!! Storing seed packets away in drawers keeps them organised and dry – ensuring they’re safe from accidents but still readily available when you need them.

Lattice wire back

A lattice wire back is another great way to organise your seeds and store your small garden tools. Simply attach some hooks and you have your own wall-face to peg up notes and seed bags and store scissors, shears and secateurs so they’re out of harm’s way but right there if you need them.

Metal or plastic feet

When it comes to deterring damp, metal or plastic feet are a really useful feature to look out for as they stop the damp from rising. If your bench feet are wooden, try raising your potting bench on bricks.

Wheels

A potting bench which comes complete with wheels and a handle can be a huge help in terms of moving your potting bench from one part of your garden to another instead of having to continuously walk backwards and forwards from your garden shed, kitchen or flower beds. It reduces the chance of spillages; speeds up the potting process; and reduces unnecessary footfall on your precious turf.

Sink

A potting bench sink is definitely one of those features that’s worth paying a few extra pounds for. Used primarily to collect soil and garden waste overspill, a built-in sink makes cleaning up considerably easier as, providing the sink’s detachable, it can simply be removed and the contents deposited straight into the compost bin.  A sliding lid over the sink can increase the work surface when the sink isn’t in use and we can’t not mention how the sink makes a pretty handy ice ‘bucket’ for keeping drinks cool during the summer months!

Compost grate

A compost grate or compost reservoir is another feature that makes using and cleaning up your bench a breeze. Whilst you’re potting, any overspill of soil or mulch will fall through the grate and collect in the reservoir below; this can then be reused, minimising waste and in turn, saving you money! 

Potting bench maintenance

Potting benches are available in wood, metal or plastic. Wooden benches are the most common, often incorporating a metal work surface, however as it’s going to be stored outside, the wood will need a little TLC from time to time just to keep it healthy and protected from the elements, which in turn extends its longevity.

After every use, all excess compost and waste should be cleared away and the area thoroughly wiped down: over time, compost can rot the wooden surfaces, weakening the overall structure and potentially infecting your seedlings.

The best wooden potting benches come fitted with a galvanised metal worktop and plastic soil sinks – this means any overspill of compost, water, fertiliser or even a spilt coffee can be easily cleaned up without the panic of it damaging the wooden surface. Simply wipe it over with a damp cloth to keep it dry and rust-free.

Other wooden parts of your potting table will need protection and would benefit from a coat of wood preserver once a year, just as you would your decking or wooden garden furniture. Set aside an afternoon in spring and give your potting table a good sand down, then generously apply a protective stain or outdoor paint to all exposed areas.

How to organise and use your potting bench

Organising your potting bench will very much depend on the style of bench you’ve gone for and the additional features it comes with. 

In terms of what goes where, small gardening hand tools such as trowels or secateurs tend to be hung from hooks, either along the back or on the side of the potting bench. Models which come with utensil hooks or a lattice wire back offer plenty of space for this. Drawers tend to be used to store tools and smaller items which need protecting from the good old British weather, such as seed packets or equipment prone to rust. Personal items such as glasses, gardening gloves or notebooks can also be stored in potting bench drawers.

The focal point of your potting bench will be what you choose to display on the main work surface of the bench, including any upper shelving. Seedling pots and/or potted plants in bloom are often showcased here, not only because they look great but they’re in the best position for maximum sunlight exposure. A strategically placed watering can not only look effective but is also handy for giving your potted plants a quick water without having to pay a visit to the outdoor tap or kitchen sink. Bulkier items such as bags of fertiliser or soil, compost bins and non-garden waste tubs are best positioned on the lower shelves of the potting bench where they’re out of sight and protected from the elements.

In terms of the best way to use your potting bench, this will very much depend on what you plan on using your potting bench for. For some of us gardeners, storage is our main motive as we’re fed up with having to fight our way through the garden shed every time we want to prune a marigold or transplant a geranium. Some of us are more superficial in our reasoning and simply want a potting bench to visually enhance our outdoor area and use the potting bench as a traditional, rustic garden feature, however, the intended use of a potting bench (the clue’s in the name!) is primarily for potting and transplanting plants.

Working with potted plants is inevitably a messy task due to the overspill of mulch and compost but, with a potting bench, there’s no stress when it comes to spillages –  the best potting benches will be designed with this in mind and will have either a treated wooden or metal top, which can be wiped down quickly to leave your potting bench looking as good as new.

Best of the Rest

CHRISTOW Potting Table Bench With Wheels & Tray, Wooden Outdoor Garden Table For Potting Plants, Drawer & Shelves, H120cm x W90cm x D42cm
147 Reviews
CHRISTOW Potting Table Bench With Wheels & Tray, Wooden Outdoor Garden Table For Potting Plants, Drawer & Shelves, H120cm x W90cm x D42cm
  • PORTABLE TABLE IS PERFECT FOR POTTING PLANTS & FLOWERS: Create a perfect space to pot plants and flowers with this Wheeled Potting Table from Christow. The table has a sturdy softwood construction with a compost tray, storage drawer and two wheels to conveniently move around your garden.
  • TWO SHELVES & DRAWER FOR POTTING ESSENTIALS: The potting table features a narrow upper shelf and a spacious, slatted lower shelf to store a watering can, pots, compost and other essentials. A drawer with a galvanised metal handle provides a handy storage space for twine, labels and potting tools.
  • FLAT WORK SURFACE & REMOVABLE POTTING TRAY: The potting table features a removable potting tray with a flat work space beside it. The tray is perfect for collecting compost when you’re potting. Back and side panels on the work surface also help to contain compost to create less mess when potting.
  • WOODEN WHEELS TO EASILY MOVE AROUND: The table features two sturdy legs on one side and two wooden wheels on the other. Gently lift the legs off the ground to easily wheel the potting table around your garden. Perfect for moving it into the sunshine when you’re potting or out of the way into storage.
  • FAST TO ASSEMBLE WITH EASY-READ INSTRUCTIONS: The potting table comes flat-packed with instructions and fixings for easy assembly. Measures H120cm x W90cm x D42cm when assembled. Compact size makes it perfect for decking, patios, courtyards and gardens of all shapes and sizes.
HOMCOM Wooden Garden Potting Table with Drawer Flower Plant Work Bench Workstation Tool Storage Shelves Outdoor
10 Reviews
HOMCOM Wooden Garden Potting Table with Drawer Flower Plant Work Bench Workstation Tool Storage Shelves Outdoor
  • ✅SAVES TIME: You can keep all your flowers, plants, tools and more close whilst gardening.
  • ✅LARGE WORK SPACE: Lots of space to keep things by.
  • ✅SINK AND BLACKBOARD: Area to pot plants with no mess around with the blackboard to make notes.
  • ✅BOTTOM SHELF: Great for keeping shoes, rubbish soil bags etc. on.
  • ✅SOLID FIR WOOD CONSTRUCTION: Strong, sturdy and durable for many years to come. DIMENSIONS: 119.5H x 92L x 42.5Wcm. Drawer: 30L x 28W x7.7Hcm. IDEAL FOR ALL GARDEN ENTHUSIASTS. MAXIMUM WEIGHT CAPACITY 20KG.
Garden Gear Two-Tier Wooden Potting Bench, Greenhouse Workstation & Staging, L80 x W40 x H84.5cm
9 Reviews
Garden Gear Two-Tier Wooden Potting Bench, Greenhouse Workstation & Staging, L80 x W40 x H84.5cm
  • Potting bench; Gives you a suitable surface for all your potting needs at a comfortable working height
  • 2 shelves; Use the top shelf to pot your plants and the lower shelf for storage of all your gardening bits and bobs
  • Durable; Designed with plastic feet to help prolong the life of your potting bench
  • Dimensions; L80 x W40 x H84.5cm
  • Guarantee; 12-month guarantee

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a potting bench used for?

A potting bench is essentially a workstation used for small gardening tasks – a designated area for you to pot plants and transplant seedlings, whilst doubling up as a handy storage unit for potting trays, seeds and garden hand tools. Not only are potting benches functional, but when dressed well, they look great too, serving as a stylish addition to your outdoor area.

Where should I put my potting bench?

Most potting benches are designed to be kept outdoors in your garden, however, if you have issues with space or security, providing there is plenty of air circulation and natural light, they can be kept in a shed, greenhouse or garage.

When choosing an outdoor spot for your potting bench, think about shelter – under a tree or close to a wall or hedge will offer your potting bench and seedlings at least some protection from the elements.

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About Francesca Fitton 108 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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