Garden Thyme, Summer

Vintage Sink Potting Bench and New Backyard Cottage Garden Part 1

Vintage cottage junk garden with DIY repurposed vintage sink potting bench



After five weeks of hard work I am finally ready to share my first real “reveal post” of  my vintage sink potting bench and our new backyard cottage garden! Sometimes it only takes that one junkin’ find to completely transform your home or garden. That’s exactly what happened when I scored this vintage drainboard sink for $32 at an antiques shop and decided to upcycle it into a beautiful and useful potting bench.



I had the sink for over a year before I actually got around to using it. In early spring I asked my husband to make a temporary base out of some ugly extra 2×4’s in the garage so I could use it to plant seeds.  It was set up right in the middle of our patio where it was taking up too much room, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it at the time.


In April I decided to thin out some very old daylilies around the side of our garage. For the entire six years that we have lived here this area has been completely useless and really an eyesore. Earlier this spring we were thinking about putting a small deck here, basically just to hide the side of the garage and to have an extra place to put potted vegetables and herbs since the backyard gets full sunlight. We also decided to replace the 100 year-old window. It was chippy, but not in a good way.


As we were dividing the lilies in April to make room for the new deck, I had a “eureka” moment! If we put the potting bench in the center of the garage it could be a focal point for a cottage style flower garden. My husband and I talked it over and decided that a new deck over our existing patio area would be better suited for our needs than building one at the side of the garage, which meant that I could create a pretty cottage style garden along the garage.


First my husband painted the 2×4’s using a green porch and deck paint we had in our stash. Then he built a pad out of patio pavers. He built the potting bench and paver pad so fast that I didn’t get many in-progress photos. By the time I took this picture you can see that we already had put down landscaping fabric, planted a few plants and added pea gravel. The back yard is very sloped with the worst slope along the garage, so my husband put in quite a bit of time and muscle leveling out the center section and building it up so that the potting bench would sit as level as possible (he’s a keeper!)


Here I had just started dragging out all of my favorite vintagey-Frenchy-farmhouse-cottage garden pots and garden trinkets to start playing around with “decorating” my new garden area. I loved the potting bench in it’s new home, but the blank spot above it was screaming for something unique. I had just the piece stored away in the garage for the past six years waiting for the perfect place to hang it.



This  beautiful tin crown molding piece is around 100 years old. It was salvaged from an ornate hotel in Portsmouth, Ohio. My husband and I lucked into it at the flea market almost 10 years ago and it is one of my all-time favorite finds. He turned it into a planter for me and it hung on the front porch at our previous cottage before we moved to the yellow brick home. 


Well, I think it does look perfect hanging above the potting bench! Here is how everything was coming together about a month ago. The old fashioned “ditch lilies” were just starting to bloom.



Here is a view of the potting bench area as of a few days ago with the lilies in all their glory (before the deer discovered them!)



I really do use this potting bench daily so I wanted it to be functional and beautiful. I mounted an old broken rake on the side of the potting bench to hold my collection of vintage gardening tools to keep them within easy reach.


I figured it would take months to even years to fill in the new bed with plants, so pretty and whimsical junk garden items could fill in the space in the meantime. When we were cleaning out the garage for our recent yard sale I found my rusty old leaf rake and another old piece of  tin salvage that was perfect for filling in a blank space to the right side of the potting bench.



The sink top truly is perfect for potting up plants, but it is also a great place for displaying some of my favorite garden junk. I am so happy to finally have a spot for my vintage collection of McCoy pots. I think they look so cute potted up with hen and chicks!



It was getting a little dark when I took these two photos, but I thought I would go ahead and share them since they show more of the potting bench. 




Sneak Peeks from Upcoming Posts

Over my next few gardening posts I will be sharing more of  plants, garden ornaments and junky treasures in more detail. Watch for a post on my French bottle drying rack with DIY painted pots and this adorable FREE vintage fountain that just needed some TLC.





Even Shabby Tabby has found a favorite spot among the herbs!



It’s so hard to believe that with the exception of the old lilies and hydrangeas, all that you see here is new.  The flower bed if filling in so quickly that it looks like it has been here for years, which is the look I was going for. Lots of old fashioned perennials, a variety of herbs, cute vintage cottage garden junk, a stone border and stone path have all come together to create my new (old-fashioned) happy place!  (More about the stone path in an upcoming post.)




Vintage cottage junk garden with DIY repurposed vintage sink potting bench

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this first look at how we transformed the area along our garage in less than 6 weeks. This week the plants have put on unbelievable growth and everything is filling in so much faster than I anticipated which is so exciting!  Don’t forget to check back soon or subscribe by email to follow along as I share more of the potting bench, flowers, garden junkin’ finds and landscaping as everything evolves from now through late fall. 
Thanks for visiting today and happy gardening!

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  • Reply Kathy A

    I want to do a cottage garden in part of my front yard so I especially enjoyed seeing yours and the potting bench. I have an old gutted gas grill that serves as my potting bench. I have been known to put flower petals under the hood to keeep them dry as they dry (as I forget they’re out there!). I love dividing up my daylilies to fill in another naked area! I wish I had your collection of garden treasures; they add so much charm to your yard!

    July 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Katie Mansfield

    I think you and I are soul sisters. Bill and I were out junking a few weeks ago. I had my eye out looking for a vintage sink. We didn’t find one but I have not given up the search. $35.00 is amazing price for that sink. They are crazy high in my area. I just love how you styled this. I can’t wait to see more. Your husband did a great job. I love that green.

    July 6, 2020 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Debra Oliver

    oh my gosh Amber, I’m so in love with this Potting Bench area. You’ve used so many fun vintage pieces. You guys did a super job with this!

    July 6, 2020 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Beverly

    I just love that potting bench. Everything looks so lovely. I would be there all of the time.
    Congratulations, you are being feature at over The Moon party. I hope you stop by.

    July 12, 2020 at 4:17 pm
  • Reply Cecilia

    Such a lovely cottage garden, Amber! I have moved my potting stand closer to my back door and have been wanting to take a break from storm damage restoration to add some summer color to it, but I refuse to buy any new plants with temps over 100–hopefully this extreme heatwave won’t last!

    July 14, 2020 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    Oh fantastic. Lots of amazing pictures. Jealous of the sink…..
    I love your blog. Good kuck teaching.

    October 19, 2020 at 3:28 pm
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Thank you so much Jenny!

      October 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm

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