Learn how to make a super unique and easy potting bench out of a simple wood table and chicken coop nesting box! Such a whimsical backyard feature that really works!
And boy can you ever tell it’s summer in our area, because are the DIY window box planters are doing on the garden shed ever growing! Here’s a couple of updated pictures…
Aren’t they something? You’d think I knew what I was doing…
With that recent garden junk success story, I had dreams of creating another pretty backyard focal point that involved flowers. I was thinking perhaps a potting bench sitting along the reclaimed wood garden fence…
But how would I build a potting bench this round? Would I built the frame from scratch? Or perhaps wait until I find the right salvaged pieces to create a repurposed look?
One thing I do know… it’s always cheaper and more unique if I land free stuff! Plus you may not even have to build a thing at all!
I decided to do just that and wait it out until I found the right components. And then one thing led to another, creating the most unique potting bench I’ve personally ever seen… or made!
So today I’m sharing the super unique outcome of a potting bench made with something you don’t see on the side of the road every day… but hey, in case you do, here’s what to do with it!
Here’s what I did:
Whimsical potting bench with a chicken coop nesting box!
Landing the right supplies
- be patient if waiting on finding things
- stay open minded: anything can do anything!
- be prepared to rework your find to make it suitable
When you wait to land the right stuff, stuff certainly isn’t made within a day. But that’s what makes the thrill of the hunt so special. You can’t really plan something you haven’t found yet. It’s a wing-it project!
And that’s about when I drove past this galvanized chicken coop nesting box sitting with a FREE sign on the side of the road. Say what?!
Did you hear my truck screech? My immediate thought was to turn it into a potting bench for certain. I mean, look at all those compartments to mimic open shelving for clay pot storage!
And the lower shelf could serve as a countertop for potting or just for flower storage space.
But how would I mount it? I figured that could be a question answered for another day, for when you find cool stuff, you just say yes, and if you don’t end up using it, you can put it out on your own curb. It didn’t cost you a thing to try.
So I yanked the nesting box across the road towards my parked truck with sparks a-flyin’, got it home, and there it sat in my backyard waiting for an additional brainstorm that didn’t cost a bundle to whip up.
Shortly after, a facebook post revealed this wooden table that was being given away just down the road from me. Now that’s a potting bench work surface if I ever saw one!
I crossed my fingers that the chicken coop nesting box would fit, dashed right over and lugged the heaviest wooden table in the land all the way to the back yard, then began to play…
Dry fitting the potting bench
- dry-fit or stage your project before continuing to work on it
- is it a good height?
- enough room?
Dry-fitting components are key so you can pretend it’s done before you do all the work. Will it work? The best way to find out is to pile it up and pretend you’re potting a plant.
And wouldn’t you know it, after a quick dry-fit, the chicken coop nesting box fit on the wood table perfectly! It doesn’t look like much now, but I was fairly confident I could make it cute with a little reworking!
Think: gardening supplies, flower buckets, antique garden tools, and plenty of clay pots filled with flowers. Oh… and maybe cut a new flower bed around it because this spot quite frankly needed a splash of fancy.
Time to get to work!
Pressure wash everything
- safe, non-toxic way to clean
- much easier than scrubbing by hand
- best way to clean off mildew
The fence, table and nesting box were pressure washed first to start things off right.
Tip: I picked up a price efficient lighter duty plug-in pressure washer so I could do cleaning with the click of a switch and get right to it. I couldn’t be without it now!
I recommend getting one at least 2000 psi, with a variety of pressure washing tips.
Video – pressure washing old wood
View above to watch a short video on how pressure washing can revive old wood instantly!
Prep the wood table by sanding
After the table was completely dry, the top of the table was sanded with an orbital sander using medium, then fine grit, then brushed clean for the next step.
How to protect wood outdoors
Can wood potting benches be left outside?
I vote YES! If you protect the wood.
- clean the wood well
- sand to remove any rough areas
- clean off all sawdust
- brush on a weather protectant sealer
- re-apply every so often to keep up the protection
Since a wood table had high potential to rot outdoors from the weather elements, I decided to protect the bare wood with Olympic Waterguard, a water-based clear wood sealer I had in my stash that was still brand new.
This will help protect the wood so the potting bench can safely remain outside. I’ll simply recoat the table every so often to keep up the protection required.
The wood protectant was poured onto the table, then brushed on until it was all covered.
And goodness gracious it works fabulous! The wood sealer does darken the wood a little making it have a slightly wet appearance, however boy does the water roll off beautifully! I rate this product an A+ and can’t wait to do the shed sides now!
The photo above shows the table still wet, however the dry appearance does lighten up a little.
Now that the table was prepped and ready, let’s get that chicken coop nesting box on top!
Next up was planting some flowers. And I had just the potting table to do it! 😉
I had picked up some flowers from a local greenhouse but delayed this project, so the flowers were not their very best when I put this together!
But no matter. Armed with good quality potting soil, I’m certain these flowers will perform beautifully once I have a chance to baby them.
And I think it goes without saying, the smaller the plant pot, the more you’ll need to water. I’ll see how these do, but I may switch them out for something larger as the flowers grow.
How to plant flowers in clay pots:
- ensure each plant pot has a drain hole
- cover the drain hole with cracked pottery or small rocks
- fill with a quality potting soil
- water plants until saturated
- keep soil slightly moist so the water continues to penetrate through the peat moss
Tip: if using smaller clay pots, I vote to use a potting soil a little lower in peat moss, because once it dries, it tends to repel water.
So I gathered up every single clay pot I owned and started to plant flowers. I had just landed this larger clay pot from the curb with a lovely satin finish on it too! What timing!
And I mean, what’s better than a beautiful classic red geranium planted in a clay pot?
The tabletop was super easy to clean. I I had to do was hose it off. It dried nearly instantly.
Adding galvanized flower buckets
Hmmm… but how about some flower buckets added for good measure?
Since the potting bench table had lots of storage room underneath, I gathered a group of galvanized containers, tubs, buckets and whatever else there was, pressure washed them, then stenciled a couple to further personalize a few that would actually hold flowers.
What I love about buckets and tubs is the fact that they hold LOTS of soil, so you’ll need to water flowers much less than smaller clay pots.
Flower bucket stencils
For this project, I grabbed the Botanical Flowers and Plants stencil, which has 3 images that are suitable for plant pot sizes. I love their botanical catalog vibe which would add a unique touch!
There are plenty of other garden stencils you can find HERE that will also work!
Stenciling the flower buckets and coop
And here’s the first! A vintage watering can was stenciled with Fusion Mineral Paint’s Chocolate. (order online here to save 10%!) How adorable is the flowering can as a flower bucket?!
How to stencil:
- Position the stencil into place with masking tape.
- Load stencil brush with paint.
- Remove most paint onto a rag so the brush feels dry.
- Tap the brush through the stencil for the desired image.
Outdoor durable paint for stenciling
I love to use Fusion Mineral Paint (get 10% off all colors and products HERE) for all my DIY projects. It’s fabulous for indoors or out, and doesn’t require a top coat!
Next up, I stenciled the Plants image on a galvanized bucket in Chocolate, then plunked an outdoor fern inside. Perfect!
The smoother bucket made this stencil go on effortlessly! And what a perfect fit, don’t you think? And thememing. Looks as if the potting bench stole one of my ferns… guess I need another!
Hmm… but where could I stencil the 3rd image of the group?
So I chose the middle of the chicken coop nesting box roof! I love the decorative roof touch the Flowers A Growers Guide offered. Kind of like the chicken coop is branded.
Then I scattered all the planted clay pots filled with flowers and flower buckets, and came up with…
The finished nesting box potting bench!
… what I think is the cutest and most unique looking nesting box potting bench with flower buckets and plants in the land!
And it makes a pretty great potting station too!
Let’s take a closer look at each outdoor potting bench detail…
Plenty of space to display and pot flowers
The chicken coop nesting box teamed up with a long wood table offers lots of places to display flower buckets as well as space to pot some new plants too!
Lots of open shelving for flower pots and garden tools
Plus, some pretty nifty clay flower pot storage inside the nesting box! The wire mesh came with the coop, which normally sit on an angle so I gather the eggs roll towards a platform once laid.
The box has lots of holes in the sides and through each section, so I slipped a couple of garden bamboo stakes through the holes horizontally, then rested the back of the mesh wire against that to have the mesh sit straighter like open shelving.
It worked perfectly! Now I can’t wait to collect a few more clay pots too to really fill it up!
A group of potted flowers were positioned throughout and on the sides of the potting bench, offering a pretty neat plant bench look, or rather, bucket garden!
With plenty of space to still pot plants.
Adding a new flower bed
The right side of the potting bench houses two flower buckets along with a few clay potted white flowers.
A new flower bed underneath the potting bench was also created to tidy up the space and give it more of a purpose to be there.
Video – How to edge flowerbeds like a pro
Click above to watch a short video of the flowerbed process!
Visit the full blog post: How to edge flowerbeds like a pro HERE
The left side of the potting bench utilizes the reclaimed wood fence for some antique garden tool displays and to hang flowers.
And of course, that newly cut flower bed came in handy to plant some forget me nots moved from another area of the garden.
Love how the stumps give the potting bench area a woodland look and act as plant holders.
A fence behind offers more plant hanging opportunities
An old rake came in handy acting as plant hooks to hold up a wire basket with a clay potted flower inside.
I’ve been needing a storage area for all the galvanized tubs and such anyway. Grouping them under the potting bench table turned a collection into a display! Until the need arises for one of course!
Metal table legs that won’t rot
The metal legs on the wood table also help to reduce the chance of the table rotting had lumber been used.
Small blocks of treated wood are underneath the front legs and back legs for some added stability, then covered with soil so they disappear.
Plenty of storage
A good idea would be to leave some garden tools and gloves inside the coop! I think I’ll add that.
And of course, a bag of potting soil could be stored under the table inside one of the large cans.
All the potting bench necessities right at your fingertips!
This is one of my favorite potting bench shots. I’m in love with that plant bucket!
And the flowering can holding red geraniums is pretty cute too.
… and after!
One day I’d love to turn a vintage dry sink into a DIY potting bench, but until then, this is one of my best potting benches thus far, and I’m going to enjoy this unique and free version for a very long time!
And that’s one more corner of the yard looking mighty cute, doncha think?!
Guess it’s time to tackle another…
Other garden projects to make:
Visit many other outdoor projects to make HERE