My Gardening Journey – Part One: Building the Greenhouse & Potting Table Upcycle

Jun 26, 2021

I’ve been waiting patiently to own a greenhouse for many years so it’s fair to say that I have had plenty of time to visualise how I wanted it to look.

I have already filled it choc-a-bloc with many seed trays and plants in their various stages of growth and going forward I want to factor in spending time some time in here every day. Because I'm all about the aesthetic it has to be somewhere that reflects my personality & ties in with the rest of the house & garden visually. So for ages I had visualised that it was going to be dark with flashes of gold & a few “quirky” pieces.  Spoiler - I’m not painting it dark! I love the natural wood too much. But I have shopped the house for a few cool pieces to make It undeniably “my space”.

When I ordered the greenhouse it came with a staging shelf as standard but I asked the company not to include it as I was going to source a huge vintage potting bench to take up the whole length of one side.

I’d been looking for the right table for a while. I don’t know about you but if I see an old piece of furniture that I know will work perfectly in a space I tend to just trust that “it will all be fine” much to my husband’s absolute joy!

I bought this ex-shop counter months ago & put it in the garage to use as a workbench/potting table when the greenhouse arrived.

Apparently, it had been stored for many years in a farm out-building about 10 miles from where we live and had pretty much been forgotten about. I think it’s safe to say that animals had definitely lived in that barn too over the years (there were clues attached to the table).

I contacted the eBay seller to ask if he would be able to deliver it - which amazingly he agreed to. You should have seen my family’s faces when it was delivered strapped rather precariously on the back of an old trailer.

I had bought it unseen (apart from the eBay photo) & even I’ve got to admit it was absolutely disgustingly filthy but I knew with a bit (lot) of TLC it would look perfect in my greenhouse.

The first thing I did was clean it with wire wool & bleach.

Then I painted it dark (I colour matched it to my favourite colour - Railings, which I’ve used throughout the house & Verandah).

So now it was already looking & smelling much better.

There was still yet more family eye rolling to come .... partly because it weighs so much (& let’s face it it wasn’t the easiest thing to carry through the house & down the garden).

But,  also, I have form when it comes to furniture not quite fitting. But I assured them yes, I’ve checked the measurements (which I had).

I knew it would be a really snug fit (we are talking maybe only 1cm to spare) but I’m very much in the “yeah it’ll be fine” camp & felt it would be all ok as long we built the greenhouse around it as there was no way we could have manoeuvred it through the greenhouse door once it had been built.

So we set to building the greenhouse. The table actually proved to be quite useful as we used it to prop the sides up against while we were sealing & screwing the panels together.

So we had fixed the back & the two side panels together & were about to fit the front panel when it became clear something wasn’t quite right. Yikes!

Oh how we laughed (we didn’t). Although the greenhouse measured 8ft on the outside I hadn’t taken into account the depth of the window casings! OMG! Turns out It was nothing a saw & a wood plane & a few hours hard work couldn’t sort out on one of the hottest days of the year (I have THE MOST PATIENT husband).

So with the table in situ (finally) I fixed a piece of zinc to the top to act as a waterproof work surface.

The zinc was from who can supply various metals cut to your exact measurements (and yes, this time I did check my measurements many, many times!)  They also kindly supplied me with the correct adhesive to fix it to the wood (for info it was HB-40).

The zinc is already looking quite weathered after just a few weeks with a lovely patina developing where water has splashed which is exactly how I wanted it to look and it will just get better & better over the years because, let’s face it, this table’s going nowhere!

I also bought a pack of hooks from the Pound Shop and spray painted them gold before screwing then onto the side of the bench.

I’m thrilled with it - it just goes to show that with a bit of vision & a lot of elbow grease most old furniture can be transformed.

Marking as Ad as the zinc was a pr product from 


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