Destinations Magazine

Garden Refresh: Potting Bench & Garden Tool Makeovers

By Francoisetmoi
Get your potting bench and garden tools ready for planting with these easy garden refresh projects. Click for loads of inspiration and step-by-step tutorials!

Winter is officially BEHIND us. Do you know how long I've been waiting to say those words?! I've been scheming on this backyard potting bench project since the beginning of February, if that's any indication.

I crossed paths with this garage work table while thrifting back in February. It's a pretty simplistic table made entirely of 2×4's and 2×6's-nothing fancy with a 'nothing fancy' price tag too. But it's a great height for standing + planting, the shelf below has lots of space for pots, tools, bulbs, etc. and the front apron (the horizontal board supporting the table top) is perfect-and I mean perfect for adding hooks for garden tool storage.

We live in the city, so our yard isn't sprawling, but we do have a great patio off the back with a trellis and open real estate below it just begging for a potting bench. With the raised garden beds just around the corner of the house, and the dining table/grill on the patio as well, the potting bench will come in handy not only for planting, but also as a food and drink buffet when we can all get together again.

Being that this garage table is turning over a new leaf as potting bench, ( pun intended, thank you very much) a hard-working, weather resistant paint finish was an absolute must. I've been using Rust-Oleum on projects for decades now, and I knew they'd have a good all-weather paint in a good range of colors. I landed on Rust-Oleum Stops Rust in color Sage for its nature-inspired hue, weather-resistance, and durable finish. As well, I really love the way it plays on our warm white house color and collection of terra cotta pots.

If it so happens you're not in the market for a potting bench project, but still plan to get your garden-on this month, check out the refresh I've given our old, rusty tools at the bottom of this post. It's a quick project that makes for some beautiful, dirt-ready tools!

Let's talk specifics on the potting bench makeover:


1. With 220 grit sandpaper, sand down any rough spots the table may have. Our bench was made with rough cut lumber, so it required some minor sanding.

2. Wipe down table with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.

3. Apply Rust-Oleum Universal Bonding Primer to the table. Note: If your table has been previously painted or sealed in some way, skip this step. Allow to dry for 2-4 hours, or until completely dry.

4. Next, apply Rust-Oleum's Stops Rust Spray Paint to the entire piece. Allow to dry for 2-4 hours, or until completely dry.

5. While the table is drying, seal the wood dowel pegs with Rust-Oleum's Stops Rust Clear Enamel. Use a pliers to hold the wood pegs while you spray on all sides. Allow to dry for 2-4 hours, or until completely dry.

6. Mark wood dowel locations across the front apron of the table. Here I've spaced 5 dowels, 6" apart.

7. Drill holes for the dowel pegs using an electric drill fitted with a ½" drill bit.

8. Apply wood glue to the recessed portion on the pegs and place in drilled holes.

Garden Tool Refresh

Give tired garden tools a fresh look and corrosion-resistant finish with this quick makeover!


1. Lightly sand rusted areas of tools.

2. Rinse and dry tools to remove dust.

3. Spray paint tools with Rust-Oleum's Rust Reformer to stop current rust from spreading and future rust from forming. Allow to dry for 2-4 hours, or until completely dry.

Note: Because the handles of a few of the tools were bare wood that would otherwise need to be primed before painting, I also coated them with Rust Reformer to act as the primer, saving an extra step. Alternately, use Rust-Oleum's Universal Bonding Primer to prime the bare wood.

4. If painting your tools with multiple colors, use painter's tape and a small plastic bag to prepare the tool for the first color of spray paint. Leave exposed only the areas that are to receive the first paint color.

5. Apply first spray paint color. Allow to dry 2-4 hours, or until completely dry. Remove painter's tape.

6. Tape off remaining areas of garden tools leaving exposed only the areas that are to receive the 2 nd spray paint color.

7. Apply second spray paint color. Allow to dry 2-4 hours or until completely dry. Remove painter's tape.

8. Thread leather cording into tools that have a hole in the handle for easy hanging storage.

And that's a wrap ladies and gents! I hope you find inspiration with these two garden-forward projects as we kick off planting season!

This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum. Thank you for supporting brands I truly love and personally use.

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