How to Make an Upcycled Lettuce Table

See how we turned an old desk into a waist-high planter box perfect for growing greens, herbs and other shallow-rooted plants and vegetables.

October 14, 2021

A lettuce table is great if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space to garden. It can fit on a small patio or lanai and can be moved in and out of the sun as needed. Buying an elevated planter box like this can cost a lot of money, but upcycling an old desk or table will cost less and add a ton of character to your lettuce garden.

Lettuce Table

Lettuce Table

An upcycled table becomes a garden for growing greens.



DIY Lettuce Table 02:00

Tools and Materials

  • upcycled desk or table
  • plastic tub
  • drill and 1/4" drill bit
  • jigsaw with wood-cutting blade

Step 1: Cut Out Opening

We cut a hole in the top of our desk to insert a plastic tub in which we’ll grow our lettuce. Give your upcycled desk a good cleaning. If it has a drawer, remove it. Place the plastic tub on top of the desk and trace an outline of it with a marker. Drill pilot holes at the corner of the outline. Place a jigsaw blade in that pilot hole to begin cutting out the entire outline. After the opening is cut, sand any rough edges.

Step 2: Reinforce the Desk

The weight of soil and plants might get too heavy for an old desk to hold. To make it more stable, cut 1x2 wood to fit around the hole on the underside of the desk. Secure the wood with screws.

Step 3: Remove Drawer and Resecure Face

Remove the face of the drawer from the drawer box by cutting it with a jigsaw, or you may be able to give it a few taps with a rubber mallet. Attach 1x2 blocks onto the sides of the drawer opening. Then permanently attach the drawer face to those blocks with finishing nails.

Step 4: Paint the Desk

Be sure to use exterior paint when choosing the perfect color for your lettuce table. We used a soft blush pink. Add a coat of clear polyurethane for added protection.

Lettuce Table

Lettuce Table

An upcycled table becomes a garden for growing greens.



Step 5: Prep the Tub

Drill holes into the bottom of the tub for drainage, then place the tub into the desk opening.

Step 6: Add Drawer Pulls

If your desk needs new hardware, add decorative cabinet pulls to the drawer front.

Lettuce Table

Lettuce Table

An upcycled table becomes a garden for growing greens.



Step 7: Plant Lettuce

Fill the tub with lightweight soil. Potting soil mixed with vermiculite works well. Lettuces grow best in cool weather, so plant in early spring or early fall. In the summer, use your lettuce table for herbs such as sage, basil or mint. Place other accessories on the desk, like kitchen scissors and cutting boards. Add shade plants under the desk to catch drainage and complete the look.

Next Up

How to Grow a Lettuce Sphere

Plant a deliciously decorative sphere of lettuces and greens.

Garden to Table: Mixed Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the best dressed vegetables at market.

An Herb Garden Plan

Herbs are for more than cooking. Incorporate these versatile plants to help add spice to your landscape in this multi-season garden.

How to Grow Mesclun

Learn how to grow ingredients for a delectible year-round salad.

Grow a Tea Garden

    Brew a cup of tea using ingredients you grow yourself.

Salvia farinacea

Turn up the color with the long-season blooms of mealycup sage.

How to Grow Organic Herbs

Consider the health benefits of growing herbs organically.

Herbivore: Get a Dose of Good Luck by Growing Oregano

A closer look at the history, lore and uses for oregano.

Winter Herbs

Learn what to do with your herbs when winter arrives—including tips and tricks to keep the fresh flavors growing strong.

Hot Stuff: Grow an Indoor Tea Garden

HGTV offers tips for creating an indoor herbal tea garden.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.