And then, one day, I saw this. Smith and Hawken was closing its doors for good, and yours truly just happened to have $75 worth of gift cards from her last birthday that needed spending pronto. The next day I headed over to my local S&H, which was absolutely mobbed with like-minded deal seekers. Hidden in the Clearance section, underneath a few layers of orphaned garden gloves and chipped pots, was a small potting bench. It was perfect (especially for the low price of $99, minus my gift cards - $33 including tax)! Turns out it's from S&H's children's furniture line, Sprouts, which is why it's the perfect height for a little side table. Made of sustainably-harvested eucalyptus wood (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council), it's weather-resistant and green. Bonus!
Add in a few hanging plant pots (also from S&H), some succulents from my favorite local nursery, a watering can and a storage bin, and a hanging utensil rack for the BBQ tools, and...
Plenty of work space on top and storage space underneath, and pretty plants to look at while I grill. I had considered putting casters on the bottoms of the legs, to raise it up a couple more inches and make it more portable, but it didn't turn out to be necessary. Long term, I would like to replace the little plastic basin with a deeper, stainless steel one that we could fill with ice and use to chill drinks when we (finally) have friends over for a cookout, and also replace the doormat with something a bit more stylish. But until then, it's pretty darn cute the way it is, if I do say so myself. Grand total: $157. Not too shabby.
And not to worry, the old storage bin won't be tossed in the trash. I'll use it for storage in the garage, where the golf ball-sized hole in the lid won't matter quite so much.