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Weathered Bench Container Garden

See how I created a container garden with vegetables and herbs using a weathered bench I salvaged from my parents’ farm. Love the pop of red!

Weathered Red Bench with a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden

A couple summers ago, I discovered two weathered benches in an old shed at my parents’ farm that I decided to bring home. I managed to paint the larger one a bright yellow colour for the Outdoor Extravaganza last year, and it eventually made its way to our front porch.

The other smaller sized bench ended up being shoved under our deck and somewhat forgotten about. Last week, I finally pulled it out in an attempt to give it new life as part of our new herb and vegetable container garden.

How to Create a Container Garden Using a Bench

At first glance, I wasn’t sure I would be able to revive this worn out bench. It was a little worse for wear than I had remembered.

I knew, without a doubt, that the pink chippy paint had to go. (It turns out the bench came painted those colours from a farm sale years ago.) One end was patched together in a not-so-attractive way, and I was hoping we could somehow fix or trim it without it being too noticeable.

Weathered Chippy Bench BEFORE

See what I mean? The only solution we could come up with was trimming both ends. This meant exposing the un-weathered wood, but I knew over time it would return to its rustic glory being exposed to the elements.

Metal and Wood Salvaged Bench from Farm - Makeover Details - BEFORE

Spray Painting the Bench Legs

After a good sanding to remove the pink paint (I kept some of the blue-green) and large splinters, I spray painted the metal legs bright red for high contrast against the rustic wood top. I thought the red would also tie in nicely to our new garden stool and pillows in our outdoor lounging area.

Painted Garden Bench Using Red Spray Paint

While the bench was drying, we got to work digging out the sod in the back corner of our yard for the container garden. Being able to grow more herbs and vegetables is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. It was nice to finally be creating an area to do so.

Container Garden Area in Backyard BEFORE

Putting the Container Garden Together

After removing the sod, we put down landscape paper to block weeds and topped it off with a layer of cedar mini bark. We put the bench in place with a slight slope to allow water to run off. Then, I started layering potted vegetable and herb plants on top and all around. Some of these came from the seeds I started back in March.

Weathered Red Bench with a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Garden

One advantage of container gardening is being able to move pots around to allow plants to get more or less sun/rain depending on what they need. Succulents can get burnt in direct hot sun. If necessary, I can easily switch their placement with rosemary or another plant.

Weathered Red Bench with Succulents in Strawberry Pot - DIY Container Garden
Using a Rustic Red Bench to Create a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Garden - Satori Design for Living

To attract bees and butterflies, I added some flowers as well. White pansies, alyssum and red verbena help tie our backyard colour palette together.

Salvaged Bench with a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden
Using a Salvaged and Weathered Bench to Create a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden

Aside from the bench, our stone retaining wall is the perfect place to house more pots. On the ledge, I planted swiss chard and oregano. Below, there’s lettuce and rosemary.

Container Garden Ideas - Vegetable, Herb and Flower Garden Using an Old Bench and Stone Retaining Wall

What vegetables and herbs do you like to grow? Have any favourite flowers?

Weathered Red Bench with a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden - Rosemary in Vintage Sap Bucket

Do you have a bench you could use for gardening?

Salvaged Red Bench with a Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden
DIY Vegetable, Herb and Flower Container Garden Using a Rustic Bench and Stone Retaining Wall

My rustic garden bench will likely evolve over the summer and years to come. I can’t wait for the plants to grow and fill in the area. The best part will be eating the herbs all summer long!

Not bad for an old weathered bench, right?

Grey Stone Retaining Wall with Rustic Bench Container Garden

More Outdoor Paint Projects

Remember to come back tomorrow for the Outdoor Paint Projects link party, where your project will be seen on 6 blogs! It’s the final week of this year’s Outdoor Extravaganza. So many great outdoor ideas!

Join the Outdoor Extravaganza 2014

And, finally, be sure to check out the other hostesses’ beautiful outdoor paint projects today!

Painted Garden Bench at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Outdoor Side Table at Echoes of Laughter
Hanging Succulent Centerpiece at Craftberry Bush
Painting Exterior Brick at Inspired Living

One other thing before you head off… If you’re looking for more useful and pretty ideas in your life, make sure you’re on the email list! You can subscribe here.

See you tomorrow!

Shauna at Satori Design for Living Blog - Home Decor, DIY, Vintage Finds, Recipes


  1. Loving that red against the weathered wood. This looks so great!  I might do some potted herbs this year too.

  2. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked over a weathered bench.  So cute and useful in a backyard. 

    1. I would’ve walked past this one for sure. Very rugged, but I thought I had nothing to lose attempting to make it over. So glad I did!

  3. I love, love, love this idea!!! The bench adds such character to the space and really seems to give it a purpose!! 

    1. Thanks Alison! It was pretty easy to put together and I’m really looking forward to having the extra area for growing veggies and herbs.

  4. I LOVE your color choice! It gives the bench a bit of zip…….great job! I am really enjoying your blog!

  5. I love it Shauna! It is an amazing piece of architecture to have in the backyard…both pretty and functional too! I adore the weathered look ! Thank you so much for organizing this lovely party! Angie xo

    1. I think it will look better once it weathers a bit more, especially on the areas I had to sand down. Thanks for participating this year. I loved having you!

  6. This looks great! I love the red legs – they add some nice colour to that corner of your yard!

  7. What a great little bench.  I love how you gave it a new life.  The garden looks great!

  8. I’m in love! I have to admit, when I saw the first pic I was instantly loving the weathered bench top and really wondered what was to become of it. I was so excited to see where you went with it! What great inspiration… and on that note, I am so bummed out – I had my first two projects all planned out – yet they are both still waiting for me to pause long enough to enjoy doing them… hhhhhhh :-/

    1. If it wasn’t pink, I probably would’ve left it more in its original state. Not the look I was going for combined with the other colors I already have going on in my backyard! Too bad you couldn’t join this year’s OE, but it looks like you’ve been very busy (which is always a good thing, right?). Thanks for stopping by to check it out anyway :)

  9. Benches have got to be one of my favourite things to use for decorating in the garden. I love how you painted the legs red. We have an old bench made from fruit crates found in the basement of our old house. It’s on the deck and dressed with rustic birdhouses and my orchids which I bring outside for the summer.

  10. It looks so fun… full of whimsy & rustic charm! Perfect addition to your outdoor space!

  11. Everything looks so beautiful! Love the bench with the bright red legs and natural top.  It looks so sweet!

  12. Shauna – Your bench is fantastic! I love the red legs – spray paint makes everything better, doesn’t it? :)

  13. Your bench and potted plants look great Shauna, what a lovely outdoor space!

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