Homemade Mobile Potting Bench. It has Removable Wheels!

Last updated : 10 November 2014
The legless potting bench with wheels added.

The legless potting bench with wheels added.

Let’s see if I can put this photo in perspective for you.  Our potting soil pile is off to the left, over there by the Donkey Barn.  Many of our container grown plants are way out back by that beige building you see way in the background.  But we’ve also got a smaller container area closer to the donkeys and by the way, the donkeys told me to tell you “Hello”.  They want to do a  video for you!

If you’ve been following me or any time at all you’ve probably seen famous “Legless Potting Bench”.  It’s been around for years and it has been a big hit.  Back when I had to load that potting bench by hand with a shovel it worked perfectly, but know that I have the luxury of a front end loader to move my potting soil around, the legless potting bench has been a bit of a challenge because unless you are really, really careful how you load the bench with the tractor it will flip backwards off of the saw horses.

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Let’s start with how to build the legless potting bench.
Here’s the video.

And since we no longer do all of our potting right next to potting soil pile I can’t rest one end of the bench on the pile like I used to.  Really old photos on this page of how that worked, some improvising was in order.  So I built a stand for the potting bench, then I made a set of portable wheels to put under the stand so when we need to move the bench from one area of the nursery to another we just slip the wheels under the bench and away we go!

Mike McGroarty's famous "Legless" potting bench.

Mike McGroarty’s famous “Legless” potting bench.

The first thing I did was flip the wooden stand upside down and cut two little notches in the bottom two by fours so when the axle is under the bench it can’t float around when you are pushing the bench to move it from one area to another.

Then I securely fastened the legless potting bench to the heavy duty wooden stand.  Living in the north is a hoot during the winter. I actually had to use a chisel and a hammer to remove some frozen potting soil from the bench so I could get the screws where I needed them!

Portable axle and wheels for a potting bench.

Portable axle and wheels for a potting bench.

Next I found an old piece of angle iron that I had laying around.  I cut it to length and welded two pieces of steel round stock that I picked up at the hardware store to serve as the axles.  I drilled two holes on each of the axles so I could put flat washers and cotter pins to hold the wheels in place so they wouldn’t rub against the wooden frame.

The wheels and tires that I used are a type of soft rubber and wider than a hard rubber tire which is important when moving around in wet ground.  However, these are the new style that never need to be re-inflated because they are filled with foam or something.  They call them “never go flat” or something like that.  That’s a huge benefit because so many of the inflatable tires seem to loose air way to often and too easily.

A portable potting bench.

A portable potting bench.

When we need to move the potting bench the first thing is to make sure the bench is empty, free of potting soil.  Next raise up one end and slide the axle under the bench.  Empty, the bench and the stand really aren’t that heavy.  You can use a block and a bar to get leverage to raise the bench if you need to, especially if you are buy yourself.  Just pry the bench up, slide a block under the bench and repeat the process if you need to get it higher.  However, it’s really not that difficult for me to just lift the bench, tip it way up so the bench is balancing on itself which makes it almost, but not quite weightless, then slide the axle under the bench.

Once on the wheels, the bench is very easy to push around, even if the ground is a bit uneven.  Get it where you want it and remove the wheels and start potting.  We usually have at least two people around when we are potting so the process is quite easy with an extra person.  But I move it by myself all the time.

This axle and wheels will serve double if not triple duty because I’ve got some railroad ties to move around this spring.  Years ago when I worked with railroad ties all the time I made an axle with wheels just like this and it made moving railroad ties a breeze with just one person.

I might also make a device that will slip over this axle for moving around balled trees.  It will be similar to hand truck, but designed for moving balled trees.

Questions?  Comments?  Wanna just say “Hey!”  Post below and I’ll be around to answer questions.


  1. phil says

    Let’s see that in a video on how you put that axle on.
    You like to make videos, so show us what you mean when you say;
    “…..tip it way up so the bench it balancing on it’s self….” Sure like to see what means.
    BALANCE on IT”S self ???

    You show us the table with the axle already on several times, but never show it on the ground or how to take axle off or HOW to Fasten the axle to the table.. If it is fastened. Floating axle doesn’t seem to secure.

    Y ‘all just gotta explain that again. And better yet, show us on a video.
    That will make it a lot easier.

    Oh welllllll, I’ll just have to figure it out by myself.

    Thanks, PHIL

  2. Linna Lawrence says

    Hi Mike,

    I really like this design, but as a suggestion for your viewers, maybe apply some water sealer on the finished product so it will weather better and last longer. Water can be so destructive.

  3. Denise says

    Thank you Mike and all, for all that I have learned here. Best wishes always to you and yours.
    I might add here that I agree with Rhonda. My son bought me a huge stainless grill with the power I had always wanted. It is designed with two wheels at one end and two “feet” at the other. Pull bars, like towel bars, allow me to pick up one end and move it into cooking position. (an area might also be cut out to grab). The feet and wheels are added and the feet fall off. You could cut the wheel end shorter instead; so it stands level. The one piece of plywood is what is genius. But you have added the stand and 2 wheels already. With a wheel end, you do not need swivel to drive, like my pull cart. Dee

  4. Robert Little says

    I realize that not every one has a tractor with a bucket loader, but I have a very bad back and lifting, pushing and or pulling much of any thing don’t work for me. But with the tractor I can do a lot of work that i am normally not able to do. A tow strap around the table and or hooks to lift and move the bench, seems like a good move….


  5. Rhonda says

    Great idea, Mike!
    We use a similiar system when moving our portable chicken coops. We started out placing our wheels in the middle, but found when we moved them slightly to the rear of the direction that we would be pulling from that it worked a little better. With the pivot angle towards the back, the tires held the weight more steady and kept the back rails from dragging the ground.
    Thanks for sharing all your great ideas!

  6. Daryle says

    Hi Mike,

    I worked in a warehouse many years ago. The picker carts we used had one additional feature that your potting bench might use … a swivel wheel at each end, centered. These wheels would be about an inch higher than the main wheels.

    The bench would rock less, and turn on a dime.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Daryle in vermont

  7. says

    Thank you for all the great information and motivation.

    I sprout and grow seeds for a hobby. It’s fun and rewarding, and you have gotten me excited about growing plants from cuttings as well.

    Lately, after receiving your emails, I have begun noticing which plants are doing well in my area. It’s exciting when I notice a new plant growing in someone’s yard, or in a parking lot somewhere which is doing well and that I wasn’t aware of before.

    I am a disabled veteran, and I love plants. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that I can make money doing something that is also therapeutic and healing, like growing and propagating plants. It’s awesome.

    There is so much work to do. I am saving up to purchase your system, building things like trays and shelving to make maximum usage of my limited space, learning all about landscaping plants and building soil.

    It’s fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm, experience and wisdom. All the great comments are wonderful as well.

    Thank you.

  8. Pierre Grobbelaar says

    Thanks Mike for all the info and photo’s.May 2014 be a joyfull year for u and your family.



  9. Sherillee says

    Hi Mike: I like your mobile potting bench immensely. The only thing that I’d add to it is a short sided tray in the middle where the cross supports are. Think of how many plastic pots you could stack in there. :)

  10. Pat Kazlo says

    Oh my gosh…they are sooo cute…Yes, I can tell they are definately family members…Thank You both for sharin..Enjoy..Pat from Saratoga Springs, NY

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