I was recently contacted on behalf of MKM Building Supplies to see if I was interested in taking part in their ‘Renovate Your Garden’ challenge. The challenge would involve renovating a sleeper bench and I would be given £50 to buy supplies to do it. It sounded like fun so I signed up!
The bench that we were asked to renovate was this one (I had to take the photo from their website, as I completely forgot to take one before I started doing it up!). It’s a really nice size and would work well in a large or a small garden. When planning what to do with it, I had a smaller space in mind. I wanted to come up with something that was flexible and would add some all year round colour to a garden or yard space. Something like this would work really well in a rented flat, as you can easily change and move it around. I had the idea to create some sort of living bench, so that you could grow plants on it in some way, but I also wanted to keep it functioning as a bench. By adding some baskets on to the bench, I could have the living element of my plan and by just having them at one end it means that you can still sit on it.
You will need
A sleeper bench (plus a drill and a mallet to be able to put it together)
Some garden paint and a paintbrush
Spray paint (and acrylic sealer if you wish) and a lot of newspaper!
Some screw-in hooks
The first thing I did (before putting the bench together) was to paint the bench. After much deliberation, I decided to paint the seat in sage and the legs in forest green (we already had this dark green as we have painted our shed this colour). The wood of the bench is quite light, so it took three coats to get the coverage that I wanted. Once the paint had dried we put the bench together – it did take a while to get the legs in securely but we did it in the end!
It took me a while to get around to step 2, because it was so windy here at the weekend! I had wanted to spray paint the baskets on Saturday but it was just too windy. On Sunday morning it seemed like it had calmed down a bit, so I gathered everything I needed and went outside to get started. As soon as I started, the wind picked up again – argh! So our patio is a little bit blue in places now…oops! Make sure you have a lot of newspaper down underneath the baskets when you paint them. I used this paint, which came out a little more baby blue than teal which I expected, but I still like the contrast of it with the bench colours.
You can fix the colour with some clear acrylic paint once it has dried, if you wish. I got this from B&Q but they don’t seem to have it on their website so I can’t link up to it – sorry!
When the baskets are dry, you can work out where to position them on the bench and then just screw them in by hand. I put two hooks on the front and two on the top – the ones on the top will help to keep the basket in position. I can tell you that this has worked really well, even on a windy day! 🙂 Then you can fill it with your plants. We have herbs in the top basket and flowers in the side one.
Ta-dah! That’s it – the bench makeover is complete. You just need to wait for the sun to come out and then you can enjoy sitting there with a cuppa!
I’m happy with the bench to plant ratio here – and I’m pleased that this will work out in terms of flexibility. The baskets can be easily removed in winter, or if you need more space for sitting on the bench (just watch out for the hooks when you sit on that end!). The possibilities are endless in terms of colour as well, and it would be easy to repaint the bench or the baskets in future. So if you need me, I’ll be sitting on my bench with a cuppa, tending to my new plants…
***This post is written in collaboration with MKM Building Supplies, for which I received the bench and £50 for supplies.***