Have you been inspired by upcycled sinks like I have? I knew a garden sink would be just the right way to use ours!
When we purchased our home, it came with it’s own charm… and an assortment of items that had been left by the family that lived here before us.
One of those pieces was an old cast iron sink that we now think was from the 1930s. We previously hadn’t found a use for it, so it’s spent the past decade in our shop.
I’ve seen some really cute potting and garden upcycled sinks on pinterest, and knew that would make a great use for our sink!
In the past years, I’ve rinsed all our root veggies in our kitchen sink – but if you’ve ever done that yourself, you know it’s a treacherous business.
We’ve had tiny rocks lodge themselves in the garbage disposal… You can imagine what a pain that was to fix. (Thank you, husband!)
Needless to say, he was also very happy with the idea of a garden sink that didn’t drain into our home plumbing system.
We picked a spot our near our vegetable garden and got to work!
*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.
While this isn’t a terribly difficult DIY, it does have a bit of a lengthy supply list due to the different parts! I’m going to break them down into the different projects within the project to hopefully make it more simple!
- Sections of 2″ x 4″ lumber – cut into (2) 24″ long sections, and (2) 27″ long sections
- Wood Screws
- (2) 60lb bags of concrete
- Concrete Mixing Tub
- Concrete Trowel
- Scrap wood, approx 1″ thick | for setting bolts in the concrete if you have a pedestal sink.
- Bolts & nuts the size of the pedestal base holes
- Assembled pallet boards or 1″ x 4″ or 1″ x 6″ lumber joined together. Ours is about 2 x 3 ft.
- Exterior Paint
- Tough Coat Sealer by Miss Mustard Seed
- 1″ Hole Saw or 1″ paddle bit.
(We’re upcycling an old sign for our back-splash, so I won’t be sharing the process of creating that piece at this time. Let me know in the comments below if that would be helpful for a future post!)
- Faucet – aka 3/4″ Sill Cock Valve
- 6″ long PVC 3/4″ riser
- PVC 90 degree elbow 3/4″
- Hose Adapter (That attaches 3/4″ pipe thread to a standard garden hose.)
- Garden Hose
- Pipe Tape
- Vintage Sink – in case you don’t already have one around to upcycle.
- Wood Handled Scrub Brush
- Brass Rabbit Faucet or Frog Faucet or Bird Faucet or Squirrel Faucet
- Open weave produce bag
- Dish towel
Step One | Prepare the area where you are going to install your sink.
Clear away any brush/grass and dig an area for your 2′ x 2′ concrete slab.
Because you’ll have a wooden frame (called a concrete form) to hold the concrete in place while it cures, you’ll need an area about 30″ x30″ wide to work in.
You’ll want it to be relatively level – but it doesn’t have to be exact.
Step Two | Assemble & place your concrete forms.
Attach your four cut pieces of lumber in a square with the two 24″ pieces opposite each other, and the 27″ pieces opposite each other. (The two longer pieces are so that they can go over and screw into the ends of the 24″ pieces to make a full square frame shape, without losing width on the side within the forms.)
Pre-drill your holes on the ends and then use a drill to set your screws in place in each corner.
Once your square is assembled, lay it down in the center of your prepared area and confirm it’s approximately level.
Note: If you’re attaching a pedestal sink that needs to be held into the floor with bolts like ours, you’ll need to do an added step before the concrete. Create a duplicate “footprint” of your sink base and mark/drill the holes to match the holes used to secure it in place. You’ll use this piece in the next step.
If you’re not using a pedestal sink, you can use a wooden table, desk or bench with a sink sized hole cut out to set the sink inside – more like a potting table with a sink.
Step Three: Mix & Pour your Concrete.
Pour one of your 60 lb bags of concrete into your concrete mixing tub and add water slowly as you mix until everything is moistened. Continue to add water until you reach a soupy consistency.
(My husband has mixed a lot of concrete and always just adds water until he gets to the consistency he likes, but if you’re more of a weights and measures kind of person – the bag should have a “recipe” or ratio of concrete to water you can follow!)
Once it’s all mixed, pour or scoop it carefully into your frame. Use your trowel to smooth the entire surface out.
If you’re working with a pedestal sink that needs to bolt into the concrete slab, now is the time to set our bolts.
Stick them into the wood through the bottom of your board so that the top of the bolt is flush with the top of your board, and the length of the bolt is hanging down below the board.
Set the board down into the center of the concrete with the exposed bolts submerged into the concrete.
Once it cures, the bolts will be sturdy and ready to hold your sink for years to come.
Important: Let your concrete cure for the full suggested time! For us, we thought curing for one day was enough – but we ended up breaking one bolt up out of the concrete and now we’ll need to replace our slab eventually.
In the future, we’ll let it cure a full two days before removing any of the wood.
During this two day long curing stage, you can get a number of smaller things ready to go!
Step Four: Prepare and Paint your back splash.
I used an exterior white paint to help protect against water splashes.
The shelf I found on ebay was intended for interior use, so I added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed Tough Coat Sealer to help weather proof that as well.
Step Five | Prepare your Sink & plumbing.
Like I mentioned above, our sink had been sitting in the shop for over a decade, so it needed a thorough cleaning. I used water and TSP and got everything all scrubbed down.
You can also prepare some of your faucet pieces!
If you chose to add a cute farmhouse knob on your faucet, now is a great time to do so.
Use a small wrench to remove the wheel from the top of the sillcock valve and screw your new knob onto the post.
Use pipe tape to coat the end of your 6″ connection piece and screw it into the back of the sillcock valve/faucet.
Step Six | Remove your forms and install your sink.
Carefully pry up the wood up where it was stabilizing the bolts to reveal the area where the pedestal will sit.
Unscrew the corners and remove the forms from the edges.
We put some rocks around the edges of ours to help with drainage and to make it look more finished.
Set the sink down over the bolts and add your nuts to the bolts to hold it tight.
Step Seven | Install Your Back Splash.
Our sink had holes on the underside at the back for attaching to the wall. We used screws through those holes into the back splash.
That didn’t seem like quite enough support for the heavy board, so we also dug a hole at the back of the concrete pad, and dropped a scrap piece of 2 x 4″ wood in. We used screws through the back of the 2×4″s into the back of the board to stabilize the backsplash.
Step Eight | Install your plumbing.
Use a 1″ hole saw or 1″ paddle bit to drill a hole in the backsplash where you would like your faucet to be.
Stick the open end of the 6″ pvc riser through the backsplash in your newly created hole and use two screws to attach the face of the faucet plate to the wood.
On the back end of the pvc riser, use your pipe tape and attach your 90 degree elbow piece, and your hose adapter that takes your fitting from pipe threads into hose threads.
That way you’ll be able to thread the end onto any garden hose and you’ll be in business!
Step Nine | Make it Cute.
For me, this meant adding my shelf from ebay, some fun & practical decor like my wooden handle brush, french soap, open weave produce bag (for setting the wet veggies in until I’m ready to take them inside), dish towel & pitcher.
I hope this inspires you and helps you create an upcycled sink for your own garden!