U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Friday, August 5, 2011

Potting Bench To Work And Admire

 I have a confession to make.

All these years, I was gardening without having a potting bench. Yes. I planted, replanted, potted, repotted, did lots of operations with plants, but all without a working table or a bench. I wanted a potting bench, but I didn't know exactly what type, shape or size. I was very patient. I did some research, checked the Internet, looked at the pictures of beautiful gardens in my photo file. The idea started to swirl in my head when I saw the wooden creations of Magnus Nilsen (Nilsen Woodworks), a skilled craftsman. I even published a photo of his product offerings taken during one of the garden tours. After talking to Magnus, a decision was made. We decided to customize his main model shown in the picture I just mentioned. Designing the bench for me, he took into consideration three functions that I needed. First, I needed a working table. Second, I needed a summer place for my houseplants to spend several months in fresh air.

Third, I needed a place for my garden knick-knacks.

 I also wanted the bench to be ergonomically sound. So, he took into consideration my height, weight and eye color. Just kidding.  Height mostly. We wanted to be sure that it would be convenient for me to work with plants on the main surface and reach the shelves. Then, I got the idea to use marble tiles left from the construction of our house. They are beautiful and easy to clean. It also allowed Magnus to reduce the amount of wood needed.

And finally, the color of the stain was chosen.  I loved it from the first sight.

I have nothing against a brown stain color which is very popular. But, the charcoal color, in my opinion, went better with my stepping stones, the wall color and finally, with the blocks underneath the bench. By the way, please pay attention to those blocks - I put them down myself and am very excited about it since it was my first job ever of this kind.

 I can not say it was a piece of cake for me (to mention just two obstacles  -  tree roots and a mole digging exactly under the tiles), but I am very satisfied with the final result. I know you are proud of me!
What I especially like about the bench - it looks like a piece of furniture and it also looks like it was here forever. Don't you think so?

The wood is cedar. Cedar is naturally resistant to cracking, is lightweight, and is stable (lies flat and stays straight). After rain, it is able to dry out faster than other types of wood. Cedar's natural oils help the wood resist rot and decay which is very important for the damp Pacific Northwest. Its smell keeps pests away. I read that outdoor cedar furniture is expected to last about 25-30 years. Fine with me!
Durable, functional and beautiful.

It looks substantial, and due to its large size doesn't look lost against the big garage wall.
If you live in Washington state and need high quality wooden products for outdoor use, I would highly recommend Magnus Nilsen. Tables, wooden benches, planters, wooden boxes, stepstools, display stands...  You can meet him at garden tours and Saturday markets on Kitsap Peninsula. This is his website: Nilsen Woodworks
As for me, I already placed another order, a little garden table again with the use of leftover tile.
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS


  1. Your potting bench looks gorgeous!!!! You did a great job Tatyana, how lovely!

  2. This is a gorgeous potting bench...
    you did right in waiting for the perfect one...
    I love the way you added all your own special touches making this a work of art.....
    Wow...I am inspired....

  3. It's gorgeous, Tatyana. Beautiful workmanship and the size and colors exactly fit that spot. Nice job on installing and your pavers, too.

  4. It does look like it's been there forever. I love it and you have some very nice personal touches decorating it as well. Great job on laying the tile!

  5. Nice!! It looks like a piece of furniture that could be in a garden room. I like the tile countertops, makes for easy wipe downs. May you have many years of use with your new bench!

  6. I love it! Beautiful, functional, sturdy, ergonomic - what else could you ask for?!

  7. Very nice! It makes a lovely feature with all your lovely bits an bobs on there.

  8. Works so well and so pretty.

  9. Sorry Tatyana. I'm in a hurry and don't have time to read your entire post. I'll be back but for now I just scrolled down your photos. I LOVE your potting bench. Very nice!

  10. That's really lovely...and clever, too!

  11. Great potting bench, functional and pretty!

  12. The new potting bench is just wonderful Tatyana.Especially with all your garden goodies on it.

  13. Your bench looks like a piece of furniture, especially how you have it arranged so nicely.

  14. The finished project looks great!

  15. Tatyana, congratulation to your new potting bench. It looks gorgeous and at the same time practical. I like that you used the marble tiles. I am sure you will enjoy it very much in the future. I usually do all my potting on the ground. Not very comfortable at all, but since my garden is small and there is no space for a potting bench I have to live with this, but I certainly wouldn't mind having a nice one!

  16. Hi Tatyana,

    Lovely bench, certainly more attractive than mine - galvenised steel.

    Mine's also packed full with plants in pots rather than space for actual potting! haha, oh well.

  17. That's fantastic and I enjoyed the look back at the original veggie garden tour. xogail

  18. I love your new bench!! I think I'd better show this to my carpenter aka Hubby. I've been without one long enough!

  19. Yes Tatyana, we are so proud of you! And that is a beautiful work, durable and artistic too. I specifically love the tiles as platform of the containers. How i wish i have that shelf too!

  20. I know it's supposed to be functional, but it's a real focal point against that wall! Great joy on the laying the stone, too.

  21. That is one great looking potting bench! I wish I could find space for one, I'm thinking maybe next to my little shed where now my husband just piles things.


  22. Dear Tatyana, Congratulations of finding such a wonderful craftsman. Your potting bench is superb! I know you will enjoy it enormously. P. x

  23. I'm playing catch-up again: three lovely posts! Evocative beach pics, beautiful garden pics and a workbench to die for! I will be posting soon on my new greenhouse and work area, about to be furnished. How envious I am of your workbench. But much more utilitatarian stuff will have to do for me - luckily it is a tucked away corner, even if abutting the house, and so it won't be an eyesore. Enjoy, Tatyana!

  24. Very nicely done. It looked decoratively pleasant and functional at the same time. I am inspired. I should do something like that too. Thanks for sharing.


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