potting bench inspiration

Marian ParsonsGardening17 Comments

As I’ve been sharing on my blog lately, I’m really starting to get into this gardening thing.  I wander around our garden beds most evenings, watering when needed, dead-heading the petunias, pulling out weeds.  I used to find that kind of maintenance annoying, but now I find it enjoyable.  I’m also learning how to tend to my indoor plants.  I’m seeing which ones are thriving, moving some outside if they are struggling, etc.  I just purchased a few more of the varieties that have been doing well and spent some time this evening potting them.

As I was working on the patio table, I kept eyeing my chicken roosting box…the soon-to-be “hutch” to my potting bench.


I didn’t show it before, but this is the workbench that will be the base of the potting bench.


It came with our house and I have always had a soft spot for it.  Jeff has been ready to turn it into firewood a few times, but I insisted we keep it.  Yeah, it’s had a run-in with some termites and it’s a little rough, but look at the patina on the wood and those bead board planks used as the bottom shelf.  It’s a little rough, but it’s a cool piece and will make a fantastic (and FREE) potting bench with the roosting box ($95 from an antique store) hung over it.

It’ll go on this blank wall on the back deck.


The workbench is 8′ long and really heavy, so we have to wait until Jeff can line up strapping young guys to help him carry it up the basement steps.

So, while I’m waiting for that to happen, I’ve been looking for inspiration and thinking about how I want to use the potting bench for both storage and display.

I am so inspired by Kathleen’s potting bench that she shared on her blog, Faded Charm.  While mine will look different, this is definitely the feel I’m going for…

Spring Cleaning 15

photo via Faded Charm

I’m excited to dig out some old boxes and crates that have been hanging out in the basement to use for storage and I’m planning to play around with some milk paint on terra cotta pots to age them.

I’m also considering putting a sink in the workbench.  It won’t be connected to water, but might be some day and will be a handy place to rinse things with the hose.  I found one on Craig’s List very similar to this for $50.  I’m inquiring about the dimensions to see if it would work on my workbench.


Photo via Faded Charm

While I like the rough wood on top of my workbench, I think it would look pretty cool to top it with zinc (or something with a similar look).  That probably won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream a bit.  I love the look of this potting bench, photographed at the Antique Gardener by Maria of Dreamy Whites.


photo via Dreamy Whites

I’m probably going to paint the workbench white as well, maybe leaving the top wood.  It does need a little pretty-ing up!

And, while I was browsing Pinterest for potting bench inspiration, I found this awesome idea…

soil in old sink

(I couldn’t find the original source for this photo.)  I am so in love with this!  I often see sinks like this when I’m out at antique stores, so the next one I find that is priced well is coming home with me.

Lastly, I found inspiration for my outdoor space in an unlikely place…

holly mathis

photo via Holly Mathis Interiors

I was immediately smitten with the windmill blades Holly Mathis found for this living room wall.  She found them on Craig’s List, too, if you can believe that!  I admit that I immediately searched “windmill” on Craig’s List.  Of course, I came up empty handed, but I did have an idea.  I remembered seeing a bundle of wood lathe strips at an antique store I frequent.  They are already weathered and the perfect size to make my own “windmill blades”.  I picture hanging them above the roosting box, but we’ll see how they turn out.  It is a bit of a nutty idea and sometimes those end in epic failure.  A DIY crash and burn, if you will.

Today was my first day back at the studio and, while it was tough to get myself in gear, it was nice to be there.  Kriste and I worked on cleaning, packing orders, getting organized and ready for upcoming projects and events.  Since I was struggling a bit, we decided to go on a field trip to a local nursery and to Wegmans to pick up flowers and produce for a fall photo shoot that we’ll be working on tomorrow.  Think pattypan squash, figs, baby artichokes, cabbage, hydrangea…it’s going to be pretty!  I’ll share some sneaks tomorrow.

Also, just a reminder that the online ironstone sale starts Wednesday, July 8th at 8:00 pm EST.  Just click the SHOP text in the nav bar or click HERE.


potting bench inspiration

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17 Comments on “potting bench inspiration”

  1. I live in Dallas and there is a town about an hour east of me called Canton. On the first weekend of the month they have a huge flea market called Canton, 1st Monday Trade days. Everything from pure junk to new decor stuff. Last time I went there was a booth that had windmill art like the one Holly installed. Some were huge which I could see in some the huge new builds that are rampant in the this area. I thought they were so cool. If I go for the August market and see them I’ll try to pick up a card and share any info.

  2. Ooh, this is such eye candy! You have collected some really pretty inspiration photos for your potting bench and I am looking forward to see how you bring it all together. I love the collected look of these spaces, and I’m sure you will have it all filled up beautifully! All those cubbies and containers – lovely!

  3. What great inspiration pics! The old work bench will look amazing on your deck and I love the idea of using a vintage sink as well.

    Marian, have you visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA? These are world renowned gardens and the indoor conservatory is out of this world beautiful. They are one of top 5 botanical gardens in the U.S. It would be a wonderful day trip for you. Summer or fall is be a great time to visit for inspiration on warmer weather perennials. You can check out their web page for info and hours.

    Visiting a local botanical garden is a great way to get inspiration and learn more about gardening whether you are a beginner or a master gardener. Sometimes your local nursery and gardening centers will also host guest speakers on different gardening subjects.

  4. Oh I love it!! What a beautiful, functional and fun addition this will be to your deck. Can’t wait to see what you cook up- your inspiration photos are just lovely 🙂

  5. I’m so glad my potting bench has inspired you and can’t wait to see how your turns out. You have two great pieces to work with! I also have a single galvanized sink in my potting shed filled with potting soil for my pots like in the photo you shared. But works great and it has a lid for extra counter space.

    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!


  6. Thank you so much for this posting today about the potting benches. I’m getting ready to move to NC from IL. We are downsizing and I had convinced myself to leave my potting bench here. After reading this I now realize what a mistake that would be. I’ve just retired and my vision about my new future includes spending a lot of time in my new yard and creating a lot of new pots. I don’t know what I was thinking!! Thanks for bringing me to my senses.


  7. Don’t limit yourself to potting ONLY bench –
    Will be a lovely bar, server.
    I do hope you get the sink! Or we cut a hole in the top of ours and inserted a galviniźed bucket for ice or a fake Xmas tree. Whatever we are celebrating.

  8. Been checking the SHOP button and I don’t see that you have not posted the left over ironstone. Will you be doing that soon

  9. pretty inspiration! we found an old farmhouse sink in our cellar and have plans to use it for a potting bench! we’re thinking of fitting it with a faucet and hooking it up to a hose so we can use it as a traditional sink.

  10. Help! I have tried repeatedly to connect to your shop to see your ironstone. When I get to the shop page, the only choice I find to purchase is the glass glitter and your book. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong?

  11. You’re not doing anything wrong. The ironstone sale will not be live until 8:00 pm EST tonight.

  12. I don’t know how hard your winters are, but here in northern Illinois they wreak havoc on my potting table. I put everything else away and have been known to cover it with a tarp, but still it is starting to show considerable wear. Just a thought to hash over in regards to a ceramic sink. The inspiration shots are beautiful. They make me yearn for an enclosed, or at least sheltered, area.

  13. Wow, that was a fun place to buy ironstone!! l went through twice, bought some things, then other great things kept selling, and I kept buying whatever was leftover. We all learn, often from experience, you have to be fast out of the gates…..

  14. I found your post interesting for two reasons. One – we built a potting bench last summer and it was 8 ft. long also. We contacted a local sheet metal shop, gave them the dimensions and they made a sheet metal top to fit over the wood counter top. I love it sooooo much! There are all kinds of methods online on how to age it to get that aged galvanized look, but I haven’t done it yet. The best part is, it only cost $60. It has nicely bent and folded over edges too! And the second reason is that I have been on the hunt for a windmill top for months (even a replica would do). I found a rusty one at a village yard sale a few weeks ago ($25) and we just got it hung on the side of my garden shed today!

  15. Some great inspiration! I love that work bench from Dreamy Whites, that’s beautiful and I’ve always wanted a Vintage chest/drawer or dentist tool cabinet like that. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

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