DIY- Potting Bench – Part 2


It’s been a couple of weeks since my Potting Bench Inspiration post about converting our patio serving table into a “potting bench.” To remind you of what I started with…

MML Before table 500

Day 1, My inspiration photos gave me direction, but as often happens, once I got started measuring for wood…that’s when new ideas and construction reality began to hit. Honestly, it took most of the morning just to figure-out a HOW to attach the back vertical posts to the table. I’ve never done that before, although I was confident, the top overhang seemed to be an inherent construction obstacle with no existing backboard on which to attach the support posts. Humm. I decided to use metal “L” brackets to attach 2 side posts to the underside of the table top and a “T” metal bracket to attach the center post. Then I planned to run horizontal wood braces between the posts for strength and to hold the shelves. It seemed like it should work…right?  So…I strapped on my tool belt (not really, I had tools all over the place.) But first…

The Plan

I penciled out a drawing of the existing table, holding up a piece of scrap wood to figure out a backing height. Captain has so many scrap wood pieces in various widths that I was able to come up with a drawing & shopping list. Altho…it was a process, but finally…

I headed to Lowe’s and had the guys cut all the wood according to my Plan’s measurments, so the wood not only fit in my car, I was ready to start assembling the wood once I returned home.

MML 2-sides

Note that the table needed to be leveled using shims because the garage was not level.

With the 2 side posts constructed and a single middle post for added support strength of horizontal braces. My first day whew was over. 

Day 2,  I remembered, in the wee hours of the morning, a book, Pottery Barn Workspaces, I had “somewhere” in the house. It had some idea photos I wanted to be sure to incorporate in the design plan… so I go up REAL early to find the book…



I pulled out the drawing I made for wood measurements and began to play around with its design. Between my eraser and holding wood up, I developed a new plan, using the 2 horizontal braces & shelves, that would incorporate my newly inspired book ideas. I also borrowed a color scheme from the book : )


Here are some design elements I will include in my Plan…


Photo shows the table painted mint (see details below) small board has limewash.

I love the wire backing for hanging stuff from. I chose a more linear, square shape, wire over the chicken wire farmhouse-style shown in the book (shown in photo a few above). When I primed the wood with white paint I really liked its cottage-look, but I wanted to bring in the inspired mint color, too. After considering a distressed chalk paint of white over mint, I finally decided to try a new product from Lowe’s, Valspar, (white) Limewash Glaze over mint color paint to reveal more of the mint color. Fingers crossed. I know it says, Interior, it will be protected with an over coat and placed in a covered area of the patio. I have used limewash in a bathroom space (humid conditions) and it was very durable after it cured.


You might say I became Obsessed with that minty custom color Willow Grove Behr paint from Home Depot. My inspiration was a light fixture I purchased at Ikea last winter while on our Arizona desert RV trip. You can read about that trip HERE and HERE. I picked up a few other items from Ikea on the trip too…stayed tuned they will be in the Reveal post next week!

The Build

With the backside posts attached and a solid new design plan I started building two shelf units. Friends, this is SIMPLE to do building, one-step-at-a-time process– just match up the edges, glue & nail together 2 pieces of wood…just like the process for side posts.

MML back-sides-done

Side Posts on and a center horizontal brace that will support a center vertical post. Table shows the old (darker) leaf green paint color of yesteryear.

Before making the shelf units, I needed to put the two horizontal wood braces up, just as they would attach permanently, but I used a screw bolt and a wing nut to attach them for now. A brilliant idea, since I removed the wood braces many times to add the shelves and to paint with primer and final paint coats. My plan is to, on the final attachment, use new (unpainted) screw bolts with big zinc washers as a functional design element. I also will replace the wing nut with a regular nut so it will be flush to the backside.


Okay…back to the “horizontal wood braces”…Once up, I measured one of the shelf wood to saw a shorter size (my new design). Marked all the joining edges as “JOIN” so I would not flip-flop the wood, which would be so easy to mess up! I also marked each piece’s ends as L (left) R (right), and all intersecting screws, then I removed the 2 horizontal wood braces (bless those wing nuts) so I could finally make two shelf units. See photos below. I did pre-drill the holes for setting the nails to keep the wood edges from moving so much as I hammered. That is the best thing I learned to do when nailing one piece to another or to a wall. I did that when I added molding around the windows and doors in our eating nook HERE.

MML nail shelf2

The nails were hammered just to where they peek through the joining side. When I laid the piece onto of the brace I gave a slight press down so the nails grabbed and did not move while I hammered them. I hammered the center nail first, a nail at each end, working back and forth – it kept the top piece from moving around.


After making the shelf units, I reattached them to the table backing to make sure they were level. Then removed them (again) to paint with white primer and then mint.

MML primed-shelves-&-back

That pretty much was all the building it took to make a backing, turning a boring serving table into a charming Potting Bench style table.

I am off to finish this DIY; the limewash, reattach the shelves using new bolts & washers AND add ALL the fun elements that will give it texture and turn this into a spectacular Garden style Potting Bench/Serving Table. Meet Me Lakeside next time for the REVEAL! I can’t wait to stage it!

new Kathy sig w wc & big mug 159x50




2 thoughts on “DIY- Potting Bench – Part 2

  1. I like what you are doing to the serving table. It’s good that you included the pics as some things were a bit difficult to see in my mind. Once I saw your pics I understood what you are doing. I think that a beginner DIY might need some help with executing the design, particularly the bracing and the attachment of the posts. Like the green. Reminds me of a green my mother used when I was quite a bit younger. Definitely a vintage look before its time.

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