Creating an Upcycled Potting Bench for Your Garden

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Are you interested in creating an upcycled potting bench for your garden? We are talking about upcycling an old cabinet into a potting bench.

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Welcome to the third Fabulous Friday Link Party Blog Hop. The Fabulous Friday Link Party is where bloggers share their best home related blog posts every Friday.  Quarterly, the Link Party hosts each invite a talented blogger who links up regularly to join us in a special Blog Hop.  This is just one stop of twelve for our Spring Garden Blog Hop. The six Fabulous Friday hosts and our guest bloggers are sharing awesome Garden Inspiration and How-To’s. Follow along for wonderful gardening related ideas. All the links to the Hosts and their Featured Blogger Friends are at the end of this blog post.

Fabulous Friday Garden Party Blog hop

Gardening Season Has Arrived

Every year, I look forward to the month of May. In the northeast, May is when the trees have their new green leaves, the frost warnings are gone, and flowers are starting to bloom in earnest. After months of being inside due to the cold weather it feels like a luxury to spend time outside in the garden.

Daffodils glass jar

Having said that, gardening, for all its joys, can be a fairly expensive hobby. There are seeds, plants, compost, tools etc. that need to be purchased every year. So, when it came to having a potting bench, I decided to do something that was a little more cost effective.  Rather than buying a new potting bench, I decide to upcycle an existing piece of furniture for outdoor use. 

Spoiler alert – I  decided to upcycle an old cabinet, specifically a Hoosier cabinet, into a potting bench.  Upcycling an existing piece of furniture is the easiest form of DIY projects.  All you need to do is re-think about how you use an existing piece of furniture. Read on if you want to learn more.

Creating an Upcycled Potting Bench for your Garden

First, I must admit, I have an unfair advantage because I am an antiques/vintage dealer.  As such, I am always finding and (hopefully) selling vintage and antique furniture.  That is to say, finding unique pieces of furniture for a reasonable price is part of my every day job.  

Last year, I stumbled upon a little Hoosier cabinet that was a fairly small size. I think it may have been part of a larger unit with floor to ceiling cupboards built on the sides.  Initially, I thought it would be perfect to use in a bathroom to store towels, soaps and supplies.  However, as I was getting my gardening supplies ready for this year I had a different idea.  Why not use it as a potting bench?

upcycled potting bench

I have a small backyard with limited space in which I can put a potting bench. Further, because the winters in upstate New York are so long, cold and brutal, any potting bench I use needs to be stored away indoors at the end of the season.  So, I wanted an upcycled potting bench that would be small and light enough to carry into storage at the end of the season.  This simple potting bench is located near my garden by my back patio where the eaves of the home offer some protection from the elements. It’s the perfect place for an avid gardener to while away the hours. 

Upcycled Potting Bench 2

This little piece of furniture provides storage for all of my gardening tools, straw hat, twine and snips.  The enamelware top is durable for potting up plants and then being wiped down. Behind the cabinet doors are two shelves.

Upcycled Potting Bench

The bottom shelf holds a gardening tote and supplies.  There is also adequate room on the lower shelf for pots and a small watering can. The upper shelf stores my straw hat and garden tools. There is plenty of storage space for potting soil or other bulky supplies. While it is not a large potting bench, it is perfect for storing my day-to-day gardening supplies and provides a durable surface for transplanting seedlings into pots. 

Gardening snips

The best part, is that a good number of these Hoosier cabinets are still around.  They can be found at antique stores, estate sales and auctions.   If you search enough, you can still find them for reasonable prices.  

If you find one of these little cabinets, it’s worth converting it into your own DIY potting bench. It could be a great addition to your garden. 

There are also other pieces of furniture you can upcycle into a potting bench.  An old table, once taken outside, makes a perfect potting bench. All you need to do is add hooks along the side of the table to store your tools and gardening supplies.  You could also use an old dresser or side board.  The main point of a potting bench is that it has a wide work surface, so you can fill pots with soil, and that it has capacity for tool storage.  Some folks use leftover wood, or furniture pieces, to make a custom potting bench.  (Although that sounds like a fair amount of work to me). The whole idea is to use a piece of furniture in a new way that gives you extra storage for all your gardening supplies, and a work surface for potting up your plants. 

In the event you are not interested in upcycling an existing piece of furniture, I linked some affordable potting benches that I found online. 

A Little History of Hoosier Cabinets

Hoosier cabinets were first made in the State of Indiana, hence the name, in 1898 by a company known as Sellers.  These cabinets were perfect fixtures for housewives to store their daily baking and cooking essentials such as flour, salt, sugar, butter and spices.  At the time they were made most kitchens didn’t have the luxury of built-in cupboards, like we have today. These useful cabinets were made up until the 1940s when kitchen designs started to incorporate built-in cupboards for storage.  At the peak of production, Sellers was making up to 700 Hoosier cabinets per day. 

Another Gardening Tip

Another gardening tip I have for you is to use a bread bin to store your potting soil.  

The handles on the side make it easy to lift and move around – in contrast to a bag of soil  The lid provides easy access to the soil and protects it from rain.   An added bonus is that a hand held soil scooper fits perfectly within the bin.  

I have linked some similar bread bins below.

Summary

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you found inspiration for your vegetable garden or flower garden.  It seems that outdoor potting benches have almost become a gardening necessity since they store so many gardening essentials and keep them within easy reach. Upcycling or reusing old furniture is a great way to create an affordable and unique potting bench.

Fabulous Friday Link Party Blog Hog

Be sure to stop by some of these other bloggers who are sharing their gardening tips, ideas and inspirations.   Simply click on one of the links below.

One for the Road

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read the following:

DIY Garden Tool Wall Rack

DIY Garden Tool Rack

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26 Comments

  1. What a gorgeous way to give new life to this cabinet Anna! You always know just the right way to create or leave a patina and chippiness in tact that feels authentic. I know you’ve waited a long time to be able to garden and I’m excited you’ll have this piece to help keep things organized. It’s fabulous! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Thank you so much CoCo. Necessity is the mother of invention! I am glad you appreciate the chippiness on the piece – yes – I found it that way.

    1. Thank you so much Rachel! It’s a great cabinet to use when I have such limited space!

  2. Love this idea and am definitely going to steal it (hope you don’t mind)! Usually my husband builds me a potting bench but he just does not have time. This could really solve a lot of problems for me. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Crystal! I am so glad you found some inspiration. Yes, truly, all you need is a little table with hooks on the side to hang your tools. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. I love Hoosier cabinets Anna! Yours makes a beautiful potting bench. I can’t imagine being an antiques dealer, but I think I would never be able to pass along my finds to others, I would want to hoard them all to myself! How do you do it? Thank you for the tip of putting soil into a bread tin, that is a wonderful idea! I enjoyed hopping with you. <3

    1. Being an antiques dealer certainly has its challenges. . . I am glad you found the bread tin idea helpful.
      It’s so much lighter and easier to move around than a giant bag of potting soil.

  4. Hi Anna! I love that you upcycled an old cabinet into a potting bench! It looks amazing and is the perfect size to organize your tools! Right now I have potting soil in open bags in my potting bench, so I’ll be on the lookout for a few containers to store my different types of soil! Enjoy the gardening season!

    1. Hi Donna! I bet your garden looks amazing. Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a prosperous gardening season too!

  5. Anna, I adore this sweet cabinet you rescued into your garden. It sounds like it is the perfect size for you to be able to move it in and out when needed. Thank you for the great inspiration.

    1. Hi Wendy! Thank you for stopping by and for reading the post! I am glad you found some inspiration.

    1. I couldn’t agree more Jennifer! Giving things a new life adds character to your surroundings and is good for the environment! Thank you for stopping by .

  6. So smart Anna! The enamel top is perfect! And I love the idea of the bread box for soil. I’ve got my eyes open for one now!

  7. Such a great repurposing idea! The enamelware top makes it a great choice for cleanup. Love the info on Hoosier cabinets-700 a day; wow! I’ve been wanting hubs & I to make me a potting bench (or 2), just never get around to it!

    1. Hi Lora – Thank you for stopping by. I could definitely picture a Hoosier potting bench in your garden.

  8. Anna this is such a cute idea! You’ve inspired me to create a little area for all of my garden supplies. And I never would have thought of using the bread box for soil, such a great idea! Fun hopping with you today! And still hope we can one day meet up in real life since you’re not too far from me!

    1. Hey Nicolle! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, we will definitely have to meet up for coffee since we are practically neighbors!

  9. I love your upcycled potting bench. So cute and functional. I really love using the tin for soil and I just happen to have one in stock. Thank you so much for joining us on this fun garden blog hop.

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