In this upcycling project, indoor furniture is repurposed into an ingenious solution for storing pots, planters, and equipment with style.

By Alexandra Churchill
June 29, 2020
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Aaron Dyer

If you're like most gardeners, your tools and equipment inevitably pile up—your pots stacked in the hallway closet, that missing pair of gloves stashed in the junk drawer, the wheelbarrow buried under bags of pea gravel, blocking the rake. Nothing's more likely to dampen your spirits for an afternoon outside. But there's a clever answer for storing it all to suit your needs whether you live in the sprawling suburbs, a rural farmhouse, or an urban apartment: build a planting command center.

Craft hutches are perfect for the task. Constructed for the back of a guesthouse or a garage, this three-foot-long white desk and hutch set ($1,100, wayfair.com) makes use of what was once an overlooked pass-through. The multipurpose workstation is designed to stow both trowels and tapers behind closed doors and to keep attractive pots, saucers, and vases in an artistic open display.

Screwing small hooks and tension clips into the back panel lets you store tools of all shapes and sizes. A slide-out drawer attached to the bottom of the hutch can ease the burden when transporting heavy items such as potting soil and fertilizers—it can also store unwieldy supplies such as bamboo stakes, burlap, hardware cloth, and chicken wire.

A 20-inch-deep overhang protects items on the open shelves and the countertop—whether freshly potted plants or a tray of propagated succulents—from inclement weather or direct sunlight. Open shelves store and display an array of pots, vases, plates, and platters. A watering can, beautiful and durable, is equally handy for gardening. Twin underside drawers on the desk let you dedicate storage space to the smallest odds and ends.

It's never too cold to sow the first seed of an idea when it comes to the garden, so here's another idea for taking advantage of dormant months: Designate a bulletin board ($6, ikea.com) for mapping out what will go where. On the lefthand side of the hutch, use cutouts—inspirational images and packets of seeds—to design your garden's layout; collect color swatches to find inspiration as well. Use tacks, pins, glassine sleeves, and binder clips to keep everything organized. On the righthand side of the hutch, a chalkboard outlines tasks right in front of you: "divide hostas," "prune the boxwoods," "turn compost," and so on. Secure a board using removable command strips or simply cover the door's interior in one to two coats of Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Chalkboard Acrylic Paint ($2.39, michaels.com).

This organizational project is a good opportunity to take stock of—and even improve—what you already have. Gardeners are always searching for new ways to get a better grip on their tools and we've devised a streamlined approach using adhesive bike tape, such as S-Wrap Roubaix ($30, specialized.com). Starting at the bottom of any wooden handle, tightly wrap it with tape, overlapping a bit as you go toward the other end. Finish by wrapping the tape around itself; trim, then press firmly to secure. It's an easy-to-handle fix.

Lastly, corral your favorite gardening books on the built-in shelves and catalogs in the drawers—and let the season begin.

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