beginnings of a potting bench

by | Jul 27, 2015 | All Things Home, Decorating, Gardening, My House | 32 comments

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This has been the year when gardening finally clicked for me.  I’m not saying I’m great at it, but I’m trying.  I’m working at it…learning, wanting to get better, turning a black thumb to green.  Along with the interest in the garden and plants, I decided to spruce up our outdoor living space as well.  It’s not much…just a deck off the back of the house.  It isn’t covered or screened-in.  It’s just faded deck boards, a simple railing.  I’m working on it bit by bit to bring more of my interior style to the outside.

One piece of outdoor furniture I wanted to add was a potting bench.  I already had an old workbench that was in the basement when we bought the house.  It still wears some spray paint overspray, but I plan on introducing those unsightly patches of red to my belt sander.  They don’t stand a chance.

Jeff brought it up from the basement for me last week and I scooted it into place over the weekend.  Jeff helped me place the antique chicken nesting box, purchased for $95 at an antique store, on top.  We will eventually make it into more of a “hutch top”, so I have more counter space, but you can see how it’s taking shape.

My poor lavender topiaries got a little crispy when I was away at Haven, so I’m trying to coax them back.

On the bottom shelf, I put a large wooden “assorted” box that I found at an antique shop for $30 and use it to house bags of soil, extra plastic pots, etc.


I don’t know why, but these little rusty bells caught my fancy when I was shopping a few weeks ago.  They were $12.  I hung them on some twine from the potting bench…sort of as a makeshift wind chime.

In the chicken nesting boxes, I put small gardening supplies.  I keep my shears and twine in a lidded glass jar to prevent them from getting wet.


I also store a few pots in the cubbies, although I need to build up a bit more of a collection…

…and a cast iron cow (just for fun)…

…and an unusual ironstone pitcher to hold trowels.

There’s still more to do, but things are coming along…


  1. Donna Doble-Brown


    I LOVE the whole look of this! You have a lovely touch . . . . XO

  2. Kriste

    I already commented on Facebook but THE BELLS!!! Ugh, SO glad we didn’t leave them behind that day. They are perfect here! <3

  3. Faithe Warren-Agee

    Marion, I am SOOOOO jealous of the chicken coop! My husband has promised to build me a potting bench and I want the same look. I love the galvanized watering cans.

  4. Betsy

    Chicken nesting boxes are my favorite…someone gave us one and my mind started racing for ideas of where to put it. It ended up being hung in our chicken coop for extra nesting space for our chickens. Oh the injustice!!

  5. anya

    So lovely! The look is really coming together. Boy, I love the cast iron cow – she looks perfect there!

  6. Marsha Kern

    It looks great!

  7. Teresa

    I absolutely love the chicken nesting box! The potting bench is really coming together and I love the vintage gardening accessories.

  8. Catherine

    You’re off to a great start! Oh I love those rusty bells!!

  9. Melissa

    I love the splotches of red on the old workbench, it’s a great reminder of it’s history!

  10. Vie de Joie

    One word….LOVE!! Oh, and I also have a song! “I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells!” And the COW!! My grandpa had milk cows just like her when I was young. His favorite was named “Old Bess”. Just an idea if you haven’t named her already;0) Also, I would love to see more tutorials about your photog style! Love how you do pics!

  11. Hippie's Chick

    You have inspired me to try some indoor plants again. In the past I had an adorable cat who loved to eat anything plant or flower. Indoor plants were not an option. She has since passed and this June I bought about 6 different violet plants. I put them in various little pots and dishes around the house and they look great! I haven’t killed them yet. I also bought a lily. Its hanging in there also. I loved the heather topiary and plan on trying those and some succulents! I want to grow stuff!! Thanks for all the great information!! More of this please!

  12. Barbara @ FL Mom's Blog

    I like the little cubbyholes in it to store garden supplies, and it’s a really neat potting bench!

  13. Kim

    It looks lovely. it will be a great space for repotting and such. To keep spiders away, they like cubby areas, mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and mist in all the nooks and under the table top and shelf. It will smell like candy canes for a day but it keeps the 8 legged things out of the work area. I’ve been doing it for 2 summers now. No spider webs. I spray around my doors and window (I live by a wetlands) NO spiders there either. I need to redo it about every 3 – 4 weeks, and after rain.

    • katie near chicago

      Oh, what a great tip! We have so many cobwebs in the late summer – looks like Halloween a few months early. I’m going to try the peppermint oil mist.

  14. Jennifer Ross

    LOVE the cow! Very nice idea….

  15. Cecilia

    That is really cool. I like the antique chicken box. Cool use for that! It’s looking good!

  16. Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    This is just beautiful! And unfortunately, just reminded me that I forgot to have someone water my new rosemary topiary while I’m gone for the week…bummer. Oh well! Thanks for inspiring! Life to the full! Melissa

  17. logan wilhelm

    Love how it is shaping up, already reflecting your style. I am working on an outside area as well, but mine in an alcove of our old house in dirt. Looking for some pallets to make a small floored area for my potting bench to sit. Thanks for your blog and all its inspiration! Welcome to the world of gardening inside and out.

  18. Lynda

    Love it esp the chicken nesting box !!!

  19. Winnie

    Well done, Marian. That chicken box was a real find for you!!!

  20. Joan Raines

    Love this Marian. More my kind of style and a new approach also to what you present to us. I have some rusty bells and have them hanging from a piece of barn wood on my deck along with some dried flowers and a piece of lace. Sounds crazy but it works.

  21. Kathy

    the whole thing is adorable, and I love the cow, it’s always nice to see how other people do things to give us other ideas to do things with the stuff we find.
    I wanted to also tell you I got the two platters I bought form your sale
    and I love them,

  22. Kim in MN

    Marian, I love your heavy and rustic looking work bench. I have had a potting table on my patio for 8 years now and the Minnesota weather has just about done it in. I need something new like this. The chicken box will give you so many nooks for interesting plants or objects. I look forward to the evolving look of this potting bench, because the fun is in the making of the project.

  23. Jill

    I love it. Would you sell the unusual pitcher toward the end? What do you know about it? It’s surprising how little it takes to add charm to a deck.

  24. Naomi S.

    I like it, I like it! It’s looking pretty functional and darned cute. The bells are great! What is it about rust that has such an appeal for some of us? The only thing I worry about regarding your set-up is when it rains cats and dogs and the wind blows, how will you keep everything from getting wet? Will you move the whole thing inside for winter? Like maybe into the garage? Do you have a garage? Just wondering if you’ve had some tho’ts about these issues.

    Don’t be discouraged by these possible problems, tho’. It will all work out and you’ll have a sweet place for playin’ in the dirt!

  25. Gwen

    I’m saving this. I’m not physically able to build yours, which I love, nor go out shopping to et your look but this is very close to my vision! I found a galvanized metal garden shelf thing I had someone put together and fix the second shelf to fit over our water main. I’m glad. I just want to stack old small pots of clay and maybe color. I’m excited to “style” mine now. I’d love to have my hubby help glue pieces of wood to the front legs just so it’s not so metal–lol–but I love your wash wheeled bucket with an evergreen. I plan a camellia in a pot on mine. I’m a bit afraid wind might knock over a topiary but I love your look!!! Lavender is quite hardy here. In fact I should have trimmed mine. Hope yours comes back. So thanks for the styling tips for my idea that sits on the side of the house empty for now!!

  26. Cheryl

    It’s coming along great…I like it!

  27. Alisa

    I love the nesting boxes over your potting bench. Looking forward to the changes to your blog.

  28. B Folk

    Marian, this is such a great idea! My balcony garden has reached the load limit, so I can’t add anything else. So, I am vicariously enjoying your outdoor space. I know this would sort of defeat the whole industrial/farm look, but…have you thought about weather-proofing the wood of the bench? Maybe use Waterlox, deck stain, or…? Otherwise, the exposure will eventually ruin that wonderful piece. Also, anything that could drip rust onto your deck when it rains (such as the cute little bells) will leave rust stains on the deck. You may want to coat/protect the deck with something, as well.

  29. Maybee's Mom

    We actually have chickens so I have alot of nesting boxes…about 15 years ago my girlfriend had a wall of them in her family room, filled with magazines, children toys, book. plants…because they were well used by hens. she put a thin layer of plywood on the floor of each nesting box…and of course power washed them…before bring into her home…At one time I had a section against the house, they were filled with leggy. petunias and other annuals….love the look.

  30. kristine Puzel

    It’s the perfect mix of charming and useful! It has consistency with your overall look and style, and yet the pieces are so different from what you have in your home! It is welcoming and comfortable, a perfect extension of your home. It will be fun to watch as it develops!

  31. yee

    it the best for me


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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