Monday, August 20, 2018

Solving Functional Problems in the Potting Shed: A One Day Makeover

watering can

I wish I had reorganized my potting shed before any of these other outdoor projects commenced. It would have saved me a ton of time to have things organized and not wasted energy looking for my gloves or shears. This has not however been the season for me doing things in the right order. It has been more like an exercise in proving that done is better than good.

 Which brings us to the last thing that should have been first. Reorganizing the potting shed.

The main problem with the set up was that I never set up a proper potting bench. I'd created storage (inadequate as it was) but no workspace. So even though I had a potting shed for all my garden tools, pots, and other necessities, when it came time to plant seeds or transplant something I always found myself taking it to the table on the patio or using something charming like the grill or the top of the garbage can.

potting shed

Let's take a look at where I started. This is how the shed looked for the last 5 years or so. It was cute but impractical for the doing of actual work. I did love the use of the old windows but it's a sad substitute for the greenhouse I imagine making from them.


If you have an old bookcase that is too big or too ugly, consider laying it on its side to give it a new life. Unfortunately, this one sat right on the floor for several years. One of my main goals was to get it up on cinder blocks to make it a comfortable height for working on and prevent the bottom (or side) from rotting...well, any more than it already has.

reusing bookcase

Everything looked fresh and clean with a coat of white paint. At Lowe's, I picked up this board and some trim to make a proper potting bench with sides to contain dirt that might get spilled. It hangs over which means it now is a comfortable place to work.

vintage watering can

Okay, let's discuss these bunny sconces. Y'all. I was at Goodwill and ran across these and was totally smitten. I tossed them in my cart and immediately knew they would be perfect in a potting shed. A nod to Peter and Mr. McGregor and his iconic garden. These things make me ridiculously happy. They were the perfect whimsical element for this space.

seed storage

 I knew I wanted to stain and not paint the new potting bench area.  I imagined a golden honey colored wood but I didn't have that and I really didn't want to spend any more money than necessary on this project. I happened to have General Finishes Java Gel Stain.

potting shed

It's a beautiful color but for this application, it looked a little fancy. It was really dark so I decided to lighten it up with a whitewash.

potting bench


Much better.


The second part of this project was moving all the garden tools from the side of the shed where we sometimes struggle to reach them. The space was inadequate for all the tools and every time we wanted to grab a shovel or pitchfork we had to go all the way into the shed.

It sounds easy but was really a lot of work. I moved (this involved a crowbar and took a minute) the tool hanger and tools to the outer side of the shed that was open, thus creating a wall of garden tools that are more organized and much easier to access.

tool storage


In the before photo above, you can see the dirt around the tools on the floor where my resident chipmunk, Pip, has been excavating. I really thought all this disturbance might cause him to relocate. As you can see below I needn't have worried. He's apparently on board with the renovations.


Then came the most fun of any project. Decorating!

potting bench

In this case about 99 percent of the decorating was just where to store things because this needs to be a very practical space.


I'm still torn about glamming up this space. Part of me wants to do gold leaf on things and hang a fancy chandelier. But I adore pictures of classic sheds with layers of terra cotta and dirt. Check out my potting shed obsession on my Pinterest board: Porches and Potting Sheds

potting bench

What would you do? 




 To glam up or not to glam up--that is the question!

Either way, my new potting bench just seemed to want...something. More about that in the next post!

XOXO Y'all! 

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