Outdoor living: One busy bench

This potting bench houses a collection of birdhouses
Sharon Cohoon

A few years ago, Cathy Wochner purchased a teak potting bench for her garden in Tempe, Arizona. Ever since she got it, the bench has rarely been idle. Not only does it serve as an active workstation when transplanting, it doubles as a permanent gallery for her collection of birdhouses. Displaying them this way, rather than hanging them on walls or trees, makes it easy for guests to pick up the birdhouses and examine their miniature architecture in detail.

When Wochner has outdoor parties, she hoses off the bench, scrubs it down, and puts it to another use ― as a buffet table. "I love seeing the contrast of good silver and crystal against that rough wood," she says.

"I guess you can tell this bench is my favorite part of the garden."