Thursday, July 7, 2011

Potting Bench Transformation

I live in a subdivision with a homeowner's association that does not allow sheds which is too bad because it seems like the garage is never big enough.

When we moved in eight years ago, the previous owner left us with a workbench in the garage.  Every spring, summer, and autumn I'd tidy up in the back nook where it's located.  A few weeks later, it would return to this:

Yeah, one hot mess!  The drawer was so heavy on its own that by the time it was filled with small hand tools and hardware, it was falling off its tracks.  We were finished with it!  I figured I'd have to either post it for free on Craigslist and hope someone would take it off our hands or saw it into smaller pieces so I could put it in the trash.

Thumbing through a garden design book, I found myself admiring a potting bench.  How quaint it would be to have a pretty potting bench in my own backyard!  I could build one or...

Mr. Tallgrass was more than willing to rid the garage of the hulking mass.  His blessing to the project came with two conditions: 1) I had to put some kind solid surface under it and 2) he really didn't want me to spend any additional money on the workbench itself.

I can work within those parameters.  No problem.

I made a trip to ReStore and found some pavers for a good price, plus I found the light fixture that I later turned into this lantern.  A very productive trip to ReStore!  After cutting away the sod and laying the pavers, I was ready to tackle the workbench.

First I pulled out the drawer and removed the drawer slides.

I knew part of the drawer was made from particle board which wouldn't hold up to the weather, but some of it was solid wood.  Since the sides of the workbench weren't really trimmed, I could take apart the drawer and use the boards to build a skirt for the top of the bench.  Fortunately, the drawer was held together by screws and it wasn't glued together.

I really wanted it to have a top shelf, like a hutch, but the way the workbench was assembled on the back side wasn't going to lend itself to any easy upper shelf addition.  So I added a few more scraps to trim the top so nothing would could be accidentally pushed off the backside.

Some primer and a couple of coats of exterior paint and I have transformed a bulky, problematic workbench into a charming potting bench.

I spent $24 on pavers, $2 on a quart of paint at ReStore and $3 for the decorative scroll. 

Eventually I will probably have to replace the plywood top with boards, but I think it will hold up for a couple of seasons as it is.  We're both happy to have the extra space in the garage and I love having my garden supplies on hand where I use them.

I'm linking up...


  1. I am impressed! That's it I've got one thing to say, "Honneey, I've got a project for you.

  2. Love it! I am working on a potting bench made from an old dining table and this was just the push I needed to finish it!!

  3. It looks fantastic! I'm working on building a potting bench style outdoor bar/server.
    Simply Creations Link Party

  4. That looks absolutely fantastic! That color is perfect and I love how it looks against the red-ish pavers. I just got a new potting bench and this was some great inspiration for giving it some character. :-) Thanks so much for sharing with us at Inspiration Friday...we always love having you!

  5. One more thing Heather...I'm wanting to ask you a question but can't find your email address. If you get a chance, would you reply to my comment or shoot me an email? :-)
    Our email address is

  6. That is such a gorgeous potting bench, I sooo want one, the colour is lovely, you did a great job.

  7. That turned out just gorgeous! I love a potting bench and yours is perfect. What a great and clever transformation. :) I also love the color you chose!

  8. Beautifully done! Curbshop/Craiglist for an old door (about $10), attach to the back, and add shelves and hooks. Great for storing pots and hanging hand tools. I'd seen one on a garden tour years ago, and always wanted to make one.

  9. love this idea. looks great!
    stopping by from coastal charm.
    cheryl x

  10. looks great I would love a potting bench!

  11. I really love this idea! Great job thinking outside of the box...I mean outside the garage :)

  12. I want it I want it I want it! What a great repurpose project - the paint color is divine!

  13. What a great turned out beautiful!!


  14. this is super. made me sad to think of all the furniture I've donated that I could've made something like this out of!


Will blog for comments! Talk to me.