Make a timber outdoor table with a cutout top to grow flowers or herbs.
At 1700mm long and about 980mm wide this table is a solid piece of furniture for the deck, courtyard or pergola.
It’s designed to double as a garden feature and is built with waterfall sides instead of legs to complement the two bench seats, measuring 1500mm long.
The three-piece outdoor setting is made from 140 x 45mm treated pine boards joined with mitred corners.
For the living centrepiece, the tabletop has a cutout sized to fit two 600mm long plastic garden troughs.
The lip of the planters fit neatly over the edge of the cutout so you can lift them out to change the display.
Use the planters to green the scene in areas where floorspace is limited, such as on a deck, or grow herbs in them for cooking alfresco.
Cut the parts
Use a mitresaw to cut the top and side boards for the table and benches with mitred ends.
Stabilise the table and benches by securing braces to the side rails, adding extra diagonal bracing from the ends of the cross braces to the underside of the top boards if needed.
For the planter hole, cut two 250mm infills, leaving a 1200mm long space in the centre of the table.
To finish, create a limewash effect by sanding back a coat of thin white paint and sealing it with varnish.
You can also use semi-transparent decking finish in a pale shade such as Feast Watson Decking Oil in Snow Gum, about $54 for two litres.
Clamp the top boards for the table and benches to a level work surface, using a sliding compound mitresaw to cut them with their ends at opposing 45º mitres. Mitre one end of the side boards and the infill pieces for the tabletop.
Position the top boards edge to edge with the infill pieces in the centre of the six boards, using 2mm spacers and aligning the mitred ends. Drill 4mm pilot holes in the top rails then clamp them across the ends of the top boards, securing with screws.
Position the upper side rails flush with the edge of the top rails, securing with screws. Apply adhesive to the mitres then secure the side boards with screws, using 2mm spacers. Attach the side rails and the brace rail using screws.
Position the two top boards for each bench seat edge to edge with a 2mm spacer in between, aligning the mitred ends. Position the corner blocks flush with the mitred ends and secure to the top boards with four screws.
Apply PVA adhesive to the mitres then clamp each side board to the bench top and corner, securing through the block into the side board with screws. Attach the side rails 200mm up from the base then add
a brace rail on top of the side rails.
Sand all surfaces and wipe off the dust, then thin down white exterior acrylic and apply it with a paintbrush. Leave to dry and sand back lightly, then apply clear polyurethane. TIP You could also use a traditional limewash to finish the timber.