I’m excited to share with you the rustic potting benches in my garden.
While I should be outside this weekend pruning my roses, it’s cold, wet, and downright dreary. So instead, I hope to give you a bit of potting table inspiration.
Everyone should have an area in their garden where they can comfortably putter away with pots, cuttings, seedlings, etc.
And besides being practical, the sky’s the limit with what you can use for your table (as you’ll see in a moment!)
My tables are actually very old antiques that have definitely seen better days.
But, it’s the peeling paint, rust, and weathered wood that make me love them even more.
The first is an old zinc and wood table that lives in my back garden, alongside the garage wall.
I’m not entirely sure if it was always a table or if someone long ago turned it into one, but either way, it’s the perfect size to tuck neatly along this narrow strip.
To help the table blend in with the rest of the garden, I’ve surrounded it with plenty of plants.
On one side is an old camellia; on the other are containers with boxwood, Jerusalem sage, and a ‘Skypencil’ holly.
I’ve even planted a mix of thyme and sedum to grow between the stepping stones.
During the Covid lockdown, my daughter stayed with us for several weeks, so we did lots of fun projects in the garden.
One of my favorite projects was making a small seating area next to the table using leftover flagstones.
My daughter even found small shells, marbles, and decorative tiles and pushed them into the drying mortar between the stones, giving them a little personality.
This next potting table I want to share with you is my favorite of all.
Initially, it was an antique carpenter’s work bench, but now takes center stage as a potting table in this area of our garage.
While I love my new garden, I missed not having a designated place to display all of my garden ‘treasures’ (like I did in my last garden, featured below.)
I’ve always felt my new garden was incomplete without my ‘familiar friends.’
So, after brainstorming with my husband, Tom, we came up with the perfect solution – building tall shelves on both sides of the potting table.
I’m so fortunate Tom is as talented (and patient) as he is.
The upper shelves are perfect for displaying my junk treasures, but below the shelves are covered cabinets for discreetly storing the necessities of gardening (ie: fertilizers, etc.)
See those sparkling little ‘fairies’ on the middle shelf? I’ll include a close-up for you, below.
Well, I walked out to my potting bench one day and the dried artichoke flowers that I had picked (directly to the right of the fairies) had exploded into these delicate little beauties.
I had no idea they did that and can’t wait to pick them again this summer!
Just around the corner from this garden table is another awkward space in the garage.
However, it’s the perfect size for another little old table that was hidden away in my parent’s old garage.
Unfortunately, there was an unsightly electrical sub-panel stuck in the wall above the table that did nothing to enhance my new space.
And hanging up my old orchard ladder didn’t distract from this eyesore either.
So, tired of hearing me complain, my husband came up with a brilliant idea to hide the panel once and for all!
I gathered the materials I hoped would fuel Tom’s creativity and laid them out on my table.
I had a few really old shingles (originally from a historic building at Lake Tahoe where my parents first met as teenagers!) and a collection of unique tree knots that my mother found over the years.
I had no idea what Tom was making as he wouldn’t let me look until the very end.
When I finally saw it, I was floored – it was a sweet ‘shell’ of a birdhouse that fit over the metal panel, hiding it from view!
Add in a little metal mouse peeking out of the hole, and the birdhouse is the perfect thing to disguise the metal box!
After hanging all my little goodies on the old orchard ladder, my garden treasures finally have a place to call ‘home!’
And last, but not least, I thought I’d share my potting bench from my previous garden, as it was one of my very favorites ever.
I just loved this entire space, hidden behind my garden shed/office (click here for more.)
This potting bench wasn’t an antique or an heirloom – it came from Costco!
But once I adorned it with lots of garden ‘art,’ it transformed into a highly personalized space.
The area adjacent to my potting bench was the perfect place to store my sick plants and those that need a little ‘recuperation.’
Originally, this area was our chicken coop, home to our lovely three girls.
When the girls moved on (RIP), we re-purposed the coop into an area to store my terra cotta pots. The chicken run was also re-purposed into a nursery to house plants that needed a little TLC before moving back out to the garden.
Gosh, I loved this space!
Across from my potting bench was my beloved ‘Tool Wall,’ which hung on the side of my office shed.
I pilfered these items over the years from my grandfather’s garage, my parents’ garage, flea markets, etc. and I just loved them.
I’m happy to say they all made the journey with me and now adorn the potting tables in my new garden (mentioned above.)
Well, I hope I’ve provided you with a little ‘potting bench inspiration’ for your own gardens!
I encourage you to find a corner, even if it’s a tiny one, add a bench or table, and make it your own.
When done, I bet you find it becomes one of your favorite spots in the garden.
I love the “loved” worn rustic look of the areas in this article. It reminded me of the farm where I grew up. I’m inspired.
I’m hoping to find and create an area where Karen and I can go out and plant things in pots together. I think she’d love it.
Now that most of the rainy winter is over (NOT complaining), this give us something fun to do outside. Even though she can’t see, she can feel and smell and we can listen to birds and wind chimes.
Thank you for always encouraging the joy of being out of doors.
I’m so glad my rustic vibe brought back lovely memories for you. I hope you can find a little table to create your own garden bench for you and Karen. Maybe on the side of your home?
Hi Rebecca. I loved this post, and especially the way your husband covered the panel in the garage. So creative and what an expression of love! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Gigi! Yeah, Tom is a keeper, that’s for sure. Hope you and your garden are hanging in there with this crazy rain and snow! 😉
Between you and Debra Lee Baldwin, I have nights when it is difficult to go to sleep because you generate new ideas for me to incorporate into my garden.
Hi Judy, WOW – what a compliment to be included with Debra Lee Baldwin. Thanks for making me smile ear to ear!
I often think of how difficult it must have been for you to leave your previous home and garden, but of course sometimes we do have to move. My husband and I have been trying to find a new place to call home as the daycare business that was established behind us makes it all but impossible to be in the garden during the day (8-5). I built my garden from scratch too and will miss many things when we find that right place, but, I remember you making the change and it gives me the courage to do the same- to build a new garden while I still have the capacity to do so! Thanks for continuing to inspire and show us that you can create new, beloved spaces to bring joy to our hearts and peace to our lives.
Hi Ronnie, I’m SO sorry to hear about the loud daycare behind you. While I love the sound of children playing at recess (we had a school several blocks away from us) I’m not so sure I’d want that directly behind me ALL day long. You need some peace and quiet in your garden, for sure! I had lived in my previous home for so long (over 30 years) so it was actually fairly easy for me to make the change as I was craving something new. Plus, I had run out of space to garden (and my husband wouldn’t let me plant on our roof – ha!) It’s a herculean effort to move, but I’ve never regretted the change (except on our 110+ degree days, that is.) Honestly, the only thing I miss is my shed/office and the gardening space behind it. I hope you find the right place soon, and when you do I bet it’ll be exciting and invigorating to start a garden again. It’s especially fun if you get to try new plants that wouldn’t grow in your current garden (either a different zone, or perhaps more space, or lighting/soil conditions, etc.) I’ve loved gardening in my new (though VERY tricky) climate, despite the challenges. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and happy Sunday!
I absolutely love all your gardening treasures and the wonderful niches where they have found a home! I am inspired to plan more of these kinds of spaces in my garden to keep my garden finds and add interest at the same time. What a fun project for these rainy days! Thank you Rebecca, as always, another enjoyable read!
Thanks, Vivian! I’ve finally put them together over the past two years and it’s so nice to see my ‘friends’ again. I can only imagine the sweet little things you have (you and I are kindred spirits!) Let’s absolutely get together this spring. I’d love to see your garden again!
This was such a great article. Loved all the photos and ideas for creating spaces. What a nice visual during the gloomy Seattle day we’re having here. Thank you!
It sounds like we’re having a very similar gloomy day, Ann, and am glad you enjoyed my article. Though knowing your aversion to clutter, I’m afraid my collection of ‘treasures’ might give you the hives! My advice is to take a benadryl before you visit 😉
Yes, a garden is more than just dirt and plants! Thank you Rebecca for your creative and genius “decorating” ideas! So glad you are sharing your collections here with your faithful readers. We love all aspects of your work!
You’re so welcome, Suzanne! I remember your garden had all sorts of personal touches that really made it something special. Hopefully I’ll see it again in person this fall when I visit you and your persimmon tree! 😉
I absolutely loved your pictures and descriptions them! I am inspired to create an area for some of my own personal ‘treasures’ collected through the years! I thoroughly enjoy all your posts, but this was extra, extra special! Thank you!
Thank you, Laura, I really appreciate it and am so glad you enjoyed my post. And, I’m even happier that you’re going to use your own treasures, too, to create something deeply personal for your garden. 🙂