Get a head start on your gardening this year with a seed starting bench. All you have to do is follow our step-by-step guide and take a quick trip to Lowe’s Garden Centre for seeds and heat lamps. You’ll have seedlings in no time!

Steps
11
Difficulty
Moderate
Time Required
1Afternoon
Estimated Cost
$$$

What You Need for This Project

Determining Size & Dimension  

The amount of space you have usually dictates a bench's depth and width. Size your bench so you can move material and equipment past it freely. Find a good working height— you'll probably spend a good deal of time at the bench so it's important to be comfortable there. Everyone's measurements will vary; for clarity we used 30 inch for depth, 60 in. for width and 32 in. for height. 

Cut List 

Cut the pieces, using the measurements below or use your own custom measurements. 

  • 1- 19/32 in. plywood top — 58 ½ in by 28 ½ in. 
  • 2- 1x6 front and back top rails — 60 in. 
  • 2- 1x6 top side rails — 28 ½ in. 
  • 8- 2x4 leg pieces — 31 13/32 in. 
  • 2- 1x4 shelf side supports — 25 ½ in. 
  • 2- 1x4 shelf front and back supports — 54 in. 
  • 1- 2x2 front top support — 51 7/16 in. 
  • 1- 2x2 back top support — 48 7/16 in. 
  • 2- 2x2 side top supports — 19 7/8 in. 
  • 4- 2x4 light posts — 48 in. 
  • 2- 2x4 light post cross pieces — 63 in. 
  • 1- 19/32 in. plywood shelf piece — 25 1/2 in. by 48 in. 
  • 1- 19/32 in. plywood shelf piece — 25 1/2 in. by 7 ¼ in.

Making the Side Assemblies

Step One

Construct the Legs

  • Butt the edge of one 2x4 leg piece to the face of another and line the ends up flush. 
  • Screw the leg pieces together with 2 in. wood screws. 
  • To hide the screws, counterbore the holes in the faces of the leg pieces and fill the holes with plugs.
Step Two

Attach to the Top

  • Mark a top side rail 19/32 in. down from its top edge. The top of each leg assembly should be aligned with the mark at 19/32 in. so that the plywood top will be flush with the top edges of the top side, front and back pieces in the completed bench.  
  • Counterbore the top side rail and screw through its face to secure two leg assemblies in place with 1 ¼ in. screws. The leg assemblies should be turned such that the seam in the front assembly isn't visible from the front of the bench, and the seam in the rear assembly isn't visible from the side.
Step Three

Install Shelf Side

  • Install the shelf side support at a distance up from the bottom of the leg assembly equal to the desired height of your shelf.  
  • Screw through the support into the leg assembly. There is no need to counterbore for these screws, they will be hidden from view when the bench is complete. 
  • Repeat Steps One through Three to make the second pair of legs. 

Constructing the Base

Step One

Secure the Side Assemblies

Counterbore the top front rail and screw through its face to secure the side assemblies in place with 1 ¼ in. screws. 
Step Two

Install the Shelf Front & Back Support

  • Install the shelf front support flush with the shelf side supports. Screw through the support into the leg assembly. There is no need to counterbore for these screws, they will be hidden from view when the bench is complete. 
  • Install the top back rail and back shelf support the same way you installed the front.
Step Three

Measure & Cut

Measure between the legs and cut the 2x2 top support pieces to fit. 
Step Four

Install Furniture Gliders

  • Counterbore through the top front, back and side pieces and secure the top support pieces with 1 ¼ in. screws. 
  • Drill holes for and install the furniture glides in the bottoms of the legs.

Adding the Light Posts & Cross Pieces

Step One

Drill Holes for Lights

  • Position the light posts so that there is no more than 6 in. from the edge of the light fixtures and the edges of the bench, and no more than 12 in.between the edges of each light fixture. 
  • Hold the light posts to the sides of the bench with the bottom ends of the posts aligned flush with the bottom edges of the sides. Drill ¼ in. diameter holes through the light posts and sides. Secure the posts with ¼ in. x 3 ½ in. carriage bolts.
Step Two

Install the Heat Lamps

  • Measure the distance from outside face to outside face of the light posts. Cut the light post cross pieces to fit. Position the light post cross pieces on top of the light posts and secure them to the light posts with 2 in. screws. 
  • Mount the screw hooks to hold the chain for the lights in the underside of the light post cross pieces per the light manufacturer's instructions.

Installing the Top & Shelf

Step One

Install the Shelf

  • Lay the top in place and screw it down with 1 1/4 in. screws. 
  • Cut the first piece for the shelf and secure it to the shelf supports with 1 1/4 in. screws.
Step Two

Install the Top

  • Measure the open space left on the bottom shelf, cut a piece of plywood to fit, and secure it to the shelf supports.  
  • Position the bench in your work space and get a head start on all your gardening.

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