After Startle Garden was published I was ready to get outside to build; this became possible because temperatures were in the 70’s last week. The idea of a new dual purpose garden table sounded perfect because I have small seeds to germinate before spring and I wanted to keep it out of the house.
This garden table was designed as I was building which is something I don’t recommend but that’s how my brain works when creativity takes over. Through the process I discovered the table could be modified in many different ways and prior to completion more ideas surfaced.
As I walk you through the process understand these DIY instructions are basic building steps which means this is an easy project anyone can build, all you need is the desire and if power tools are not your friend well get someone to help out.
Note: The base frame measurements can be adjusted to make this project meet your own needs.
Supplies and Tools
- Power Saw any kind will work
- 5 eight ft. 2 x 4’s
- 4 six ft cedar fence boards (5.5 in. width)
- 2 six ft cedar fence boards (3.5 in width)
- Hardware: 2 Hinges, Box of 2.5 Deckmate Screws, 1 box smaller screws
- Chicken Wire, staple gun and wire cutters
- Duroplex for Lid and front + cutter
- Stain or Paint with brush
- Stencils for details
Before diving into this project read this post on Pilot Holes. I reference the importance of pilot holes all the time when building any type of project and I finally wrote a post explaining why you should never skip this step. Read that here.
Cut Those 2 x 4’s
- 2 at 5 ft. – Back frame and legs
- 6 at 3 ft. – Front Legs and width connections
- 6 at 1.4 ft. – Sides holding everything together
Building the Framework
- Take the smallest 1.4 cuts and drill two pilot holes on each end, a total of 4 holes on each board.
- Connect the end side first – this includes one 5 ft, one 3 ft and three 1.4 ft..
- Repeat the process for the second side making sure the small 2 x 4’s are on the outside.
- Once you have two walls lay them flat on the ground so they’re even.
- Lay down two 3 ft. 2 x 4’s and connect the frame.
I used two screws per connection on each corner; if the frame feels week it’s fine to add a third from the inside of the 5 ft. boards. This additional screw will define a stronger connection if necessary.
- Once the frame is connected stand it up and add another 3 ft board to the top.
- Add the last 3 ft. to the front of the bottom from the inside.
- Sand the entire frame in preparation of stain or painting.
Staining the frame now will make finishing the project much easier when it comes time to add details. It may need to dry overnight which is a good thing because making a project like this in one day can be overwhelming.
Adding Chicken Wire and a Shelf
Use chicken wire on the bottom shelf attached from the bottom. I plan to use this space for seed starts in the summer and fall. Cut the wire to size and apply from one end to the next using a staple gun and make sure you stretch it prior to connecting so it’s nice and tight.
When finished flip it over and cut fence boards as you go. Start with 2 at 3 ft (5.5 in. width) for the top shelf and backboard. The shelf board will be drilled in place and follow up with the other.
I used the Potting Shed stencil from Old Sign Stencils to incorporate flair; it was easier to stencil before connecting to the table. That stencil can be purchased here and how to stencil can be found here.
After this was completed it was time to close in the seed box part of the project.
The Seed Box and Additional Shelves
This is a two part process and the outside shelves were an afterthought which means we’re connecting from the bottom again to close the base. If you don’t want outside shelves then skip the overhang.
- Cut and add two 3.3 ft. (5.5 in. width) from each side.
- There will be a gap in the middle, this was intentional.
- Center one 4.2 ft. (5.5 in. width) over the gap and connect.
After you turn the table cut a 3 ft (3.5 wide) to fill in the back wall and cut two 1.8 ft boards for the shelves on each side and connect in place.
We’re cutting the sheet of Duroplex next. This is an acrylic type product and will allow the light to shine through the box and help germinate seeds. I found the best options and prices at Lowes.
Cut the front piece using a box cutter after measuring correctly. Once you have it cut then drill in place and remember to use pilot holes and don’t drill close to the edge.
I connected to the 2 x 4’s first then added a 3 ft (5.5 wide) board to the front where it was connected from the inside with small screws. The board was stenciled before connecting with letter stencils and additional Potting Shed flower accents.
Stenciling isn’t necessary but it was a fun way to personalize the table. I have a chapter in Startle Garden that goes into detail about the importance of garden flair. It’s such a fun thing to incorporate to any outdoor space.
Build the Lid and Connect
Finally it’s time for the lid and this is simple. We’re cutting 3.5 wide boards to the following measurements.
- Cut two at 3.3 ft. and two at .9ish in. – I say ish because you may want a lid that overhangs.
- Cut your Duroplex to fit the frame.
- Connect with small screws from one side.
- Add hinges from the same side, flip and connect to the top of the box.
Can you believe it we’re done! Now you have a garden table that is ready for starting seeds that can be stored outside in a nice sunny spot. For additional insulation you can line the inside with foam or plastic which would also keep the wood projected.
My plan is to start seeds with peet pods placed on cookie sheets. On really nice days I can open the lid and let the sun shine through. You can do this by adding a hook connection or support the lid with sticks.
It’s my hope you enjoyed this project and find this to be the ultimate dual purpose garden table. It’s a perfect compliment to the Startle Garden project and if you like that garden caddy toolbox on the bottom shelf you can get those building plans for a limited time by subscribing to Garden Up Green here.