Converting a Computer Desk Into a Potting Bench

A potting bench is a convenient work bench for gardeners when re-potting and organizing plants. Rather than spend extra money on a potting bench from a gardening supplier, you can easily refashion an old computer desk into a potting bench that works well. Most computer desks are designed ergonomically, allowing for work without undue strain on the shoulders, wrists and lower back. They also come with plenty of drawers for storing your gardening supplies.


Some computer desks may need some refinishing before moving them out to the gardening shed. It is a good idea to add a protective coating to wood desks to protect them from moisture, dirt and debris. This can be done by simply sanding the desk surface and brushing on a coat of polyurethane wood protecting compound. Computer desks made from plastic, vinyl or recycled materials are generally more durable against the elements. If you will be using a metal computer desk in an area with frequent rain, you may want to protect it from rust by spraying or painting it with a clear shellac compound.


You also have the option of repainting your wood desk to coordinate with the rest of your gardening area; some gardeners like to get creative and paint designs such as leaves, vines, or flowers on their new potting benches. If you go this route, be sure to allow each color separate drying time and finish with a water-proof sealant the same as in Step 1. Alternately, you can refinish with a water-proof wood stain if you would rather preserve the natural look of the wood. With either option, remove any drawers and stain or paint them separately.  


Many gardeners also look for potting benches that can be easily moved from the gardening shed out to the garden without a lot of effort. With an old wood computer desk, adding wheels is a simple process. Select wheels that are installed with screw attachments; these are available at hardware stores. Turn your computer desk upside down and use a power drill to make holes for the wheels on the ends of each desk leg, and then screw in a wheel on each leg. Check the size of the wheel screws to determine which size screw bit you will need to use so that the wheels will fit securely.

Tool Hooks

Another handy option for this potting bench project is to add hooks to the sides and/or front of your transformed computer desk. This way, gardening tools can be conveniently stored on the potting table itself, rather than in your gardening shed or garage where you will need to make extra trips to retrieve them. Purchase some screw hooks large enough to hold each gardening tool, use your drill to make holes for them in the wood where you want to keep the tools, and screw in the hooks.  

Attached Soil Box

When potting different plants, cutting bulbs, and mixing soil on your potting bench, clean-up can get time-consuming afterwards. An easy way to dispose of soil is to attach a medium-sized plastic container to one side of your potting bench and line it with a trash bag. Sweep excess soil into this container while working, then simply remove the trash bag and dispose it when finished.