I need bench design tips

snoggle75November 4, 2010

We finally have the heat in my greenhouse - right in time for our first freeze! Anyway, the next step is to make more permanent benches than what I have right now.

Currently, we're using big barrels with boards across them. I want rid of the barrels and would like cedar framed benches with plastic or wire benchtops. I'm getting them custom made (it will be cheaper than paying for shipping on pre-made). So, what things do you wish you had done differently with your benches? What do you like about your benches?

My greenhouse is about 10 x 12 and made of wood and glass. Sidewalls are probably 4 feet high and the center is 8 feet high. Right now I'm thinking a 6 or 8 foot bench in the front of each side. Then I'll probably leave the back 4 to 6 feet open for taller plants (I have a lot of dwarf citrus and bananas.).

Any other suggestions?

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G'day snoggle75,

I cheated! I spent a great deal of time at a local second hand building supply company and came across some plant nursery display trolleys on castor wheels that a nursery had thrown out. Each trolley had 3 x shelves at various heights. I bought six of them and converted 5 into 2 x shelf and left the 6th at 3 x shelf. The shelves are all removable and can be adjusted for height. The trolleys can be wheeled outside to be cleaned in the winter and they can also be moved around inside the greenhouse. They can be viewed at my blog on ; http://greenhousebirth.blogspot.com/

My greenhouse is an igloo style with UV protected PVC and is 14.5 feet long x 10 feet wide x 9 feet tall. There is also a shade clothe to put over the top in the summer.

If you have a blog send me the URL. Would like to see how you are progressing.



Here is a link that might be useful: Birth of a Greenhouse

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:55AM
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lily51(OH 5)

We were lucky that the tech school where i taught was going through a major renovation, so the materials for the benches were bought from the old. Metal legs, but no expanded steel tops, just too $$ for me..would have cost more than $500 each. Used very stiff wire stretched and bolted over the metal frames. You don't want something that will sag and sag over time.
I like them very much.

My potting bench was made by my husband out of cedar & is at the north end..has a bottom shelf and pegboard back. Really like it. Adding shelves on the other side of the door across from the potting bench for flats, etc.

We drew up many designs, figured bench space with each, etc. Also the retired horticulture teacher helped out, and my husband is a retired ag teacher, so i've had lots of support. Talk to people in the field for guidance.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 7:10AM
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My benches are constructed of white powder-coated aluminum L-braces. They are screwed to the upright frame of the GH walls. The underbench supports are the same material attached at a 45* angle underneath so they don't interfere with large plants sitting on the floor. I have two continuous shelves running the 12' length on each side of the GH. The bottom one, at about waist height (for me) is 36" deep, and the top shelves are 18" deep. On top of the L-brace bench framework I used 1/2" hardware cloth screwed to the braces at 12" intervals. It's easy to keep clean by just spraying it with water, or in case of stains, mist with a little clorox-water.

If I could do one thing differently, I would make the benches collapsable just so I could cram in more large plants if I needed to. What I have now works very well though I wish the overall size of the GH was twice as large. Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 10:15AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I purchased some chrome shelf units at Costco. They are about $80 a set and you get 6 shelves and the necessary uprights. The shelves measure 18" X 48" and each one can hold hundreds of pounds. The shelf size is perfect for holding four standard 11" X 19" trays. You either can build: 1) a single unit that's 6' high with six shelves, or 2) two units, 3' high with three shelves. I did the latter. They've been in my greenhouse for 3 years now and there is no evidence of rust or deterioration . They assemble quickly and the shelf heights are adjustable. They also come with a set of 4 heavy-duty wheels if you need one of the units to be able to move easily. I think you can buy these shelving systems at places other than Costco, like Sam's Club, etc. (Just make sure you check out the dimensions since I have seen some alternative systems where the shelves were only 12" deep.) Here's what mine look like:

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 1:58PM
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I made a frame out of treated 2x4s with 4x4 posts. For bench tops (shelves), I bought PolyMax Poultry/Kennel Flooring from Farm Tek, strong polypropylene grid in 24"x48" panels. I'm very pleased with benches after 3 years use.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 3:49PM
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I'm going to have them built out of cedar and I've ordered dura-bench benchtops to put on them. What I've been trying to figure out is how to arrange things. I want some flexibility. So, what I came up with is to have a 6'L x 3'W bench on the front half of each side and then make a shelf or two to go across the aisle (resting on each bench) if I need extra bench space (like in the early spring). I also thought I could have a "portable potting benchtop" made that I could put across the aisle whenever I need it. My greenhouse has a door on each end, so occasionally blocking the aisle is only a minor inconvenience.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:28PM
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