When you spend hours in the garden, a potting bench can really come in handy. It keeps tools, liquid fertilisers and various bits and bobs all in one easily accessible place. The bench doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive – just look at this beauty, made from two recycled pallets and a piece of rope.
Gather your supplies
• Pallets (2), see Note below
• Deck and exterior stain
You’ll also need Power drill; clamps; hand or power saw; spirit level; long 4mm drill bit; 150mm bugle head screws; 300mm galvanised T hinges; 10mm drill bit; 10mm cotton rope; 100mm galvanised gate hook
Note Make sure you use disposable pallets. Some pallets are property of the supplier and are expected to be returned. Also, if possible, use pine pallets. Hardwood pallets are a lot heavier to hang and harder to work with.
Step 1 To make wall portion of project, pry off all boards from bottom of 1 pallet. Turn over to remove a few boards from top, retaining 1 at each end and 2 in middle. De-nail loose boards and set aside.
Step 2 To provide storage shelving when mounted, put 2 loose boards on their edges, centred between bearers of pallet. If board is wider than height of bearers, cut it down to bearer height. If it is narrower, ensure board is hard up against underside of top decking board. Drill pilot hole through top decking boards and nail into loose board.
Step 3 To make bench part of project, cut second pallet in half, using edge of 1 of middle boards as a guide. Make sure you cut square.
Step 4 Measure gap between top decking boards. Mark this distance across a loose board and draw a line along its length. Clamp board so it is secure and cut along this line with power saw. Place cut board between existing boards, predrill, then nail in position. Repeat for all gaps and between cut end and next board.
Step 5 Stain or paint both pallets in your chosen finish to seal and protect timber.
Step 6 On wall, mark a height for bench that is comfortable to use. (Standard bench height is 900mm.) Measure thickness of bench pallet and make another mark same distance further down wall.
Step 7 Put a temporary prop against wall so it meets lower mark. Put wall pallet on prop so bearers are against wall and use spirit level to make sure it’s level. Using long 4mm bit, drill a pilot hole through bearer and wall cladding into timber stud behind. With drill on slow speed, fix to wall using 150mm bugle head screws. Go into at least 2 wall studs at top, middle and bottom of pallet. For brick walls, use masonry anchors.
Step 8 Make underside of bench pallet flush with bottom of wall pallet and temporarily support. Join using a T hinge on each side.
Step 9 Drill 10mm holes through each side of bench towards front, and end of middle bearer on wall pallet. Thread rope between 2 holes at a length that ensures bench sits level in open position. Make a knot in each end to keep in place and trim any excess.
Step 10 Cut, stain and nail more boards to underside of bench for tool storage while bench is down. Fit galvanised gate hook to side to hold bench closed.