Build an Outdoor Cedar Table with Recessed Planter

A patio table is made from cedar and has a rectangular planter sunken into the middle.

Coffee Table Backyard

Tools and Materials:

1/4” sheet of medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
three 2x8 western red cedar planks 72” long
two 2x6 western red cedar planks 72” long
four 4x4 western red cedar for the legs, 28” long
two 2x2 western red cedar for the center brace, 25” long
two 2x4 western red cedar for the skirt, 25” long
two 2x4 western red cedar for the skirt, 64” long
two 2x4 western red cedar for the cross braces, 70-1/4” long
plastic planter box
screw gun with 3-1/4” wood screws
pocket-hole jig and pocket-hole screws
finish nailer with 2-1/2” finish nails
wood glue
sander and sandpaper
wood putty
outdoor sealant
pipe clamps
jig saw, table saw and miter saw
level, tape measure, drywall square and a speed square
stain, paintbrushes and rags

Steps:

1. The table consists of five planks of cedar for the top, a skirt, four legs and a cross brace that goes between the legs and sits five inches from the ground. Use the sheet of MDF as a template to get the correct angles and measurements for all of your pieces.

2. Lay out the planks to create the most even tabletop. Choose the sides of the planks that have the smoothest surface. Flip the planks over so the tabletop is facing down.

3. Apply wood glue to the sides of the planks that are being attached together. Clamp the planks together with pipe clamps (keeping topside down). Place the planter upside down in the center of the planks. Secure two pieces of a 2x2 to the center brace on either side of the planter. Secure the brace with 3-1/4” wood screws. Remove the planter for now.

4. Attach the four sides of the skirting frame together with wood glue and nails to create a rectangle.

5. Center the skirting frame on the underside of the tabletop and then secure it to the bottom of the tabletop with pocket screws. This will be the main support for the table.

6. Place the legs into the four corners of the skirting, secure them with pocket screws.

Coffee Table Built In Planter

7. Create a half-lap with the two-cross brace pieces and place them in the center of the table. Trim the pieces so that the ends of the cross brace sit flush against the legs of the table.

8. Raise the cross brace so that it sits five inches from the ground. Secure it to the legs with pocket screws.

9. Flip the table so it is standing upright and place the planter upside down in the center of the table. Trace around the planter with a pencil. Measure 1/4” inside the tracing and cut a hole to that size using a jig saw. Place the planter in the center of the table.

10. Fill any joints or holes on the table with wood putty and sand rough edges. Stain the table and finish with an outdoor sealant.

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