Potting bench project underway…

Over several weeks in June my guy and I worked to get a place ready in the back garden for a long awaited potting bench.

The project has been in my mind’s eye for several years to put in place on this north facing wall which is shaded the largest part of the day.

potting bench 1

My heart’s desire was for a bench height workspace to span almost the entire width of the wall–about 16 feet. This back wall is largely unseen from the windows in our most lived in spaces so I could tuck a fair amount of stuff out of view but easily accessed by me without carrying supplies and materials all the way around the house from the garage. The sticking point has been the existing sprinkler valves (visible in the photo) and an in ground water shutoff valve. Over our 34 years of marriage, my sweet husband has always been pretty accommodating about my various schemes and projects for the garden but my casual suggestion that we could simply move these impediments elsewhere was met with stony silence. Even my fallback position of building around them was a no go as it would make them much harder to access when needed. So I marked off space on the wall with green tape to designate the necessary wall to accommodate a pretty standard 6 ft bench which we later upgraded to an 8 foot cedar bench I found on Etsy.

While I assembled materials for a hard surface support the bench–hoping to extend its life by not resting its legs in dirt–Dave removed remaining plants and weeds, dug the area out to accept a base of sand and concrete blocks and graded the area to allow water to move away from the house foundation. I did the shopping.

potting bench 2
Twelve concrete stepping stones 2 feet square and 2″ thick

Not my easiest journey when the pallet holding the stone was too wide for the truck bed and had to ride home resting partially on the open tailgate. The stones weigh in at 108 pounds each for a total of just under 1300 pounds.

Another trip yielded 13 60# bags of sand and some weed block–hoping for a minimum 2″ base of sand for the concrete stones.

potting bench 3

potting bench 4
Doesn’t look like much but no small task getting the concrete squares from the driveway to a resting spot near their eventual home
potting bench 5
The sand is spread over the weedblock fabric
potting bench 6
Stones were set one by one–it took both of us to maneuver each one in and tweak it until it was at the correct levelĀ 

The base for the bench measures slightly over eight feet wide and 6 feet deep–enough for the 24″ depth of the bench and adequate space for me to step backward and turn around without falling off the edge! I ordered my bench from Threeman Products, an Etsy store based in Texas, and Charlie answered my concern about having only fractions of an inch clearance on either side by offering to construct the bench at 94″ rather than the standard eight feet. They do each piece as it is ordered so the custom size was not an issue and the three week delivery time would allow us to actually get the base finished and settled in, have our Fish Camp 4th of July, and be home right in time to meet the boxes at the door.

potting bench 7
Finishing it off with a 4 x 4 across the front and a 2 x 4 along each side
potting bench 8
All dressed up and waiting for the party

We still have to “redraw” the lawn edge, trim off the extra weedblock and fill some soil in around the edges but the hard work is done. Working with this sized block was challenging but the goal was to have as few seams as possible for weed issues. I am planning to using the raised tin tank as a shady holding area next to the bench.

potting bench 9

My potting bench just arrived in two very hefty boxes, weighing in at a combined 90 pounds. I am relieved to see some very specific written directions and assembly diagrams and it appears there are some preassembled sections further down in the box–thank heaven for small favors!

Even though my one temporary one legged status will slow me down, I intend to have the individual pieces stained by Saturday’s end with the larger goal of having my bench in place next week. Fingers crossed.