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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Create a Potting Bench in Coastal Colors

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Is functional design all you need to be happy with a potting bench? 

For me, I want a little something special, a little extra ZING, not just function, in any design. We needed a potting bench on our porch, and to give the potting area a little pizzazz, I decided to create a potting area filled with coastal colors. 


Assess the space BEFORE the new potting bench... 

Not much pizzazz in the space just outside the living room French doors when I began. The first step was to remove everything to assess the area and to determine the dimensions of the area. From door trim to the downspout is just about 60", plenty of space for a table and still room for the vintage green, chippy folding chair to sit next to it. 


Make a plan...

What did I want the potting bench area to include? 
  1. Tall, 36"-42" height table at least 3 feet wide 
  2. Wire grid on the wall on which to hang tools 
  3. Hooks from which to hang the wire grid and tools 
  4. Baskets and boxes to hold small gardening tools and supplies 
  5. Pretty tools and vintage tools 
Using existing items and buying new items at HomeGoods kept the costs down. 


Go shopping...

What's in my shopping cart at HomeGoods? 

Some days I can shop all day, indeed for weeks, and not find anything I want. But on this shopping day, everything came together. 
  1. A bluish-green wooden board with five metal hooks. #3 on my PLAN list. 
  2. Small shovel and fork painted in a muted blue. #5 on my PLAN list. Just what I was looking for... functional garden tools that are also beautiful.   ZING!  Nothing plain or boring about these tools. If you cannot find pretty tools, then make some functional tools pretty by painting the handles. 
  3. Wire basket with soft aqua blue handles. #4 on my PLAN list. 
  4. Blue grey stoneware pitcher.  
  5. Blue and white cotton rug.  


Wire grid...

I attached the new wooden board with the five metal hooks to the siding of the house. A 36"x36" wire grid, cut from a left-over panel used to create the porch railing, hangs from the hooks. 


Add tools...

  The new shovel and fork hang directly from metal hooks. 

The new wire basket hangs from the wire grid by small brass S-shaped hooks. 


Add potting table...

A butcher block rolling cart from my mother's house fits into the space with plenty of room for the vintage green wooden folding chair beside it. 

Blue and green metal boxes with herons add to the coastal look and will hold gardening tools and supplies. 


Arrange flowers...

Summer is a time for pretty soft pastels and coastal themes to cool us down psychologically from the heat and humidity. A blue pitcher, pale green French style flower pot, and aqua blue garden tools are refreshing colors that hint at cool waters. 

White hydrangeas with tinges of blue and green are the first flowers to be arranged in the new potting bench area. 

Could there be a more perfect flower for a coastal look? 

Potting Area in Coastal Colors

Vintage tools... old hand gardening fork, galvanized watering can, heart-shaped edging tool... lend character to the space. The long-handled red shovel hidden behind the watering can belonged to my grandfather who gardened into his 80s and was passed down to my mother. She gave it to me several years ago. 

The potting bench area is a big improvement over how that spot looked before. 

Plus the area can be enjoyed through the breakfast sunspace windows. 

Do you have a potting bench? What is it like?  

See more views of the porch. 


  1. Judith, you created such a beautiful place to take care of plants. The colors are gorgeous, and it's both pleasing to the eye as well as so handy! Thank you for sharing your potting bench. Lidy@FrenchGardenHouse

  2. Very clever to repurpose a butcher block rolling cart and create a potting bench. Love the coastal colors.

  3. What a pretty and practical project! It is amazing what a difference hanging the hooks and grid made. It looks so pulled together. Enjoy.

  4. Love the look you created, Judith. You had me at shopping, lol! Believe it or not, I do NOT have a potting bench! However, I make do with an old, wooden ice chest that stands in my courtyard (multi-purpose!). Most of my gardening goes on right in the landscape, but when I need to re-pot, I usually do it near my hose cart, which is near a drain in courtyard.

  5. Very clever use of existing items you own, paired with new purchases. I can't believe how nice the area looks with the new potting bench addition.

    I don't have a potting bench, unfortunately, and have to "wing it" whenever I pot something up. Your bench is certainly one to both admire and emulate!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  6. What a nice project, Judith. I love the colour you chose and the bench is a very good size.

  7. Judith, you've created a very attractive and functional potting bench area. I know you will find this very useful! I like the way you plan and organize. I learn so much from you! Happy gardening!

  8. Judith!!!!

    Hello dearest friend!

    How perfectly timed is this post! I have been wishing to build a potting bench on our patio. It's been on the back burner until after the wedding. (The back burner is stacked to the ceiling! LOL ) We are all in the midst of WEDDING JOY, yet yearning for the big "exhale" on the morning after.

    I love your bench! As always, you style everything so beautifully!



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