Herb Garden in Patio Table

5 Materials
1 Hour

This easy table modification all started because we live in cow country and where you have cows, you have flies. They drive me crazy in the summer so I am always looking for ways to deter them. The other day I was at OSH and the sales lady said that most herbs are a natural fly repellent. That got me thinking  and this project was born. Now the jury is still out if this works on the flies but I love the
herb garden in patio table
This is the table I started with. We got it at Lowes a few years back and I still like it but the metal middle with the bent umbrella hole was a thorn in my side. Besides we have a covered patio so there is no need for an umbrella.

herb garden in patio table
herb garden in patio table
First things first, I had to remove the tiles. They just pop right out and what we are left with is the metal piece that is welded on to the frame.

herb garden in patio table
Out came the router tool with the grinder bit. I was looking forward to making some sparks but the hubs clearly wanted to help out so...

He cut all of the areas that the metal plate was welded to the frame. There were only about 8 places and he was done in a few minutes.

herb garden in patio table
Once the metal top was popped out, this is what we were left with. Now my original thought was a single 36" planter that would span the whole middle which means we would have to do more cutting, but then I started worrying about supporting a large planter and could I even find one that fit right and holy cow my head started spinning. I needed to readjust my plan and to simplify.

herb garden in patio table

Since each square was 12" x 12" why not use three 12" x 12" planters?!?
herb garden in patio table

I even had 1 on hand to test and hot diggity it fit perfectly. So off to my home away from home, Home Depot to pick up 2 more. Since they are only about $6, I grabbed some extras to have on hand.

herb garden in patio table

... and they fit perfectly. I mean they are completely secure and 100% supported. Its like they were made for this... I guess sometimes if you stop to listen the universe will provide.

Not to question the universe but I was still a little concerned about the weight once the soil was added. These planters are deep plus I need to address drainage since there are no holes. I usually add rocks in the bottom to allow for drainage space but clearly that wouldn't help my weight concern. I needed to add a light-weight filling to the bottom of the planters that would take up space without adding weight and address drainage...

herb garden in patio table
herb garden in patio table

...well hello old pool noodles. We always have them around for the pool and after a while they get a little worn and kind of gross so I repurposed their grossness as planter filler.

herb garden in patio table

Last thing was to plant the herbs and pop the tiles back in and ta-da!
herb garden in patio table
Here is the finished piece. What is great is that these planters are completely interchangeable. You can do flowers or succulents or any combination. We also saved the metal piece just in case we need to convert the table back for a party situation. It literally just pops back in.

Ill keep you all posted about whether it works for flies.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 16 questions
  • Angela Swift
    on Jun 10, 2018

    Good idea to plant herbs. I can do this same concept with just regular planters and sit on table or porch etc. But, have you found that they DO keep away the flies? Thx

  • Lori Riedel Karch
    on Jun 11, 2018

    What herb plants did you plant to keep the flies away?

  • Jackie
    on Jun 18, 2018

    Are the herbs safe to eat being grown with pool noodle foam?

    • Carey
      on Jun 24, 2018

      You can also put small flower pots upside down in the bottom of a pot to take up space and provide a water reservoir for your plants. I tried the peanuts for a big pot one time but that was not a preferred method!!!! The peanuts floated up through the soil every time I watered the plants and just created a mess. I later tried putting some ground cloth on top of them. That worked alright but still some of the peanuts managed to migrate up around the edges of it. I think that they would have to be contained within a bag of the Ground cloth in order to keep them in place. The little upside down pots worked much better! I have never tried pool noodles, but would fear that they might pose the same problem as the peanuts. Plastic bottles with filled with water and with lids on would take up space, but wouldn't allow space for water to drain and work as a reservoir to water the flowers as needed.

Join the conversation

2 of 119 comments
  • Barbara
    on Jul 14, 2018

    This can also be a great idea for a tabletop cooler for soft drinks , etc. if bins are sturdy. Great idea. Thanks.

  • Michelle Kirstein
    on Jul 24, 2018

    So many great options. :)

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