Our DIY Patio Table, Part I

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We’ve come so far on our back patio this summer, but it was still missing one of the most important things – a table! From the very beginning, when we thought about how we want our backyard to function, we get all smiley imagining our friends gathered around a large table late into the evening. No one cares about the time, and the fireplace is roaring. (The fireplace update is coming soon!) Actually, every aspect of our backyard has always been about the cozy joys of our neighborhood gatherings – from the wide, stadium-seating staircase to the built-in bench to our table-to-be. The flow from our kitchen to the yard has been a dream (as proven by a handful of successful barbecues!), and every single time our home has been the hub for a summer hangout, I get all misty thinking about how far this space has come! It hasn’t been quick, but it’s been worth every minute of our weekends spent whipping it into shape.

When the time came to finally build our table, we had to be mindful about the size of our yard versus the wish for a big, grand 12-seater. Sadly, that wasn’t going to happen, but we did lay out wood scraps to determine that an 8′ table would comfortably seat 8, and we’d still have plenty of space by the fireplace to add deeper lounge seats down the road (I see you, Chunk!):

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During the pinning phase of our backyard project, I stumbled upon these Design Confidential plans for a DIY version of a much (much!) fancier Restoration Hardware table. I showed Scott, and he immediately agreed that it was The One. The lumber and supplies list was surprisingly short, and after gathering all of our materials, we walked out of the hardware store for $100. After a lot of thought, we decided to use regular 2 x lumber, and we’ll be sealing/painting the table with exterior-grade paint. Note: Although we debated using pressure treated lumber, ‘green’ lumber is more susceptible to warping/twisting over time. Okay for planter boxes, but not for furniture! By using high quality exterior paint and covering the table in the winter months, we should be good to go. 

We followed the plans almost to a T (with just one exception – more in a minute), so if you love the look, too, you can find them right here! We did subtract 2′ from all of the lengths, as the plans are for a 10′ table, and we went with an 8′ table. Despite the table’s hefty size and weight, it was relatively simple to make, and we did so over the course of two afternoons. Even still, it was definitely a two person job, especially when it came to fasten the center braces and table trusses.

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While Scott worked on the cut list, I sanded any raw edges and burrs (I used this kit, and it has been a sandpaper game changer), and I Kreg jigged the tabletop support pieces. We’ve been using this mini Kreg kit for years, and it’s the perfect price and size for any of our DIY projects that have called for it.

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Essentially, the table is made by first building the two ends, adding the center brace and trusses, and finally, attaching the longer tabletop boards. If you’ve ever been intimidated by building your own table, this one looks much more complicated that it actually is. (In other words, trick all your friends into thinking you’re a master carpenter!)

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Now, here’s the only part that we changed: Because we’ll be using this table for outdoor use, we needed to leave a 1/4″ – 1/2″ space between the top boards for water drainage. There are 4 boards on the top, but underneath those boards are 5 support pieces, as seen below. The center support wouldn’t allow for water to run through, so we ran our circular saw down the middle of this piece:

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It’s a small pass through, but it should still allow water to run off, which will prevent the wood from rotting or disintegrating in a rainstorm.

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As another rainy day preventative measure, we added rubber feet to the bottom of each of the legs. At 1/4″ thick, they’re essentially elevating the table from ever touching wet ground:

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And here’s how it all came together! You’ll notice two clothing changes for the two afternoons we worked on the table (also, who can spot the Jack?):

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The tabletop is made up of four 2″ x 10″ boards, and just as we’ve done with every lumber project in the yard so far, we ripped 1/8″ off each side to give them squared edges. Because wood is rarely – if ever – perfectly square (there’s usually a slight twist or small warp), we used small shims underneath some of the boards so that they would align nicely.

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The original plans suggest a triangle pattern when attaching the lag bolts, and I’m here to tell you, don’t ignore this advice! Originally, we thought we could get away by using two lag bolts on each end of every 4 x 4, but that third bolt really made this table solid. The plans don’t specify which size bolt to use, but we used 1/4″ lag bolts with great success. A pack of 25 bolts + washers should do it!

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The hardest part is yet to come; what color do we paint it? We couldn’t be more torn, and we’ve discussed everything from bright white (too blinding?) to steel grey (too hot?) to pretty shades of sage-y green, mint or sky blue. If we went with white, we could add, say, red chairs, or if we went with mint, we would stick with white.

It’s a toughie, but I think we’re narrowing in on a few winners. Painting will happen this coming weekend!

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  • Ellen from Ask Away - September 20, 2016 - 7:22 AM

    That’s really nice! I also love the lounging pooch in all these photos lol!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - September 20, 2016 - 8:10 AM

    This is SO GOOD! I love it! Definitely giving me inspiration to build something similar for our patio area that we’re hoping to re-vamp this fall, while the weather is cooler. I vote that you slap a clear coat on the base and let it be natural, while painting the top something moody.ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - September 20, 2016 - 8:29 AM

    That last picture warmed my heart and made me laugh and I can’t wait to come see you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 20, 2016 - 9:30 AM

      Counting down already!ReplyCancel

  • abby - September 20, 2016 - 9:10 AM

    wow, the table looks great! just out of curiosity, why don’t you want to stain the wood instead of paint it? i think a stain would look great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 20, 2016 - 9:29 AM

      We considered stain, but with our dark wood planters, cedar fence and gray stain we use on our stairs (which we hope to do before it gets too chilly), we thought a subtle hint of color would be nice to break that all up. And outdoors, I think you can get away with being a little more risky! I do think that this would be a beautiful stained table in a dining room though!ReplyCancel

  • Sammy - September 20, 2016 - 9:12 AM

    I LOVE THIS!
    I can’t wait to try this in the future. We heard about the kreg jig on the YHL podcast yesterday. what is the tool that holds it down that you use?ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - September 20, 2016 - 9:46 AM

    I’m thinking a light sage green would be so pretty with your red brick and dark wood. You could add in some bright cobalt blue accent pillows and that would still look great with the Sage. Either way…I love this!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 20, 2016 - 9:50 AM

      We fell down a green-paint-chip-rabbit-hole last night, so you’re not far off! I put the paint decks away so we wouldn’t overthink things, but they’re taunting me from behind the cabinet doors… decisions, decisions.ReplyCancel

      • Janet - September 20, 2016 - 11:14 AM

        I agree with the sage!ReplyCancel

  • Erika @ EP - art.food.home - September 20, 2016 - 11:05 AM

    Was looking for a discounted table for outdoor since it’s the end of the season and usually it’s on sale this time of the year… Everything was either STILL so expensive or nor what I wanted/ugly AF.
    And then you post this. I guess my problem is solved and I’m building this next spring ! Ah!
    Thanks :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 20, 2016 - 11:10 AM

      Right!? It’s hard to find a handsome table for under a thousand (or so it seems!). You can do this, Erika!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - September 20, 2016 - 5:01 PM

    The table looks fantastic! Can’t wait to see what color you decide on :)ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - September 20, 2016 - 5:09 PM

    Colored opaque stain for the table might be a happier choice in the long run. Eventually the paint will start cracking and chipping and you’ll have to scrape and paint again and you’ll see all the chipped spots and be sad…

    From what I hear, the colored stains will give you the pop of color but won’t be so high maintenance.

    And the table looks way fancy and hard to build but when watching your progress photos I could see that it’s totally doable. I might need one, or maybe my sister needs one (after we build her a patio).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 20, 2016 - 5:14 PM

      We considered opaque stain (like what we use on our deck!), but in the end, we sort of can’t wait until the paint gets a little chipped and worn-in. I love the idea of it looking well-used over time.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole M - September 29, 2016 - 5:41 PM

    I’m wondering where you purchased the rubber feet for the table legs. I built a table very similar to this for out outdoor patio last summer, and have been stumped on what to put on the bottom of the 4×4’s, since moving the benches around is scraping up the edges. Your post was perfectly timed, since I’m just now staining it! Procrastinator. Or, I just really didn’t know what to use. Until I saw that you guys used Cabot on your planter boxes! I just finished staining today and I love it! So thank you for helping me out!! I have looked in a couple of hardware stores for the feet, and googled them, with no luck. All that I have found are indoor felt pads.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 30, 2016 - 9:13 AM

      Happy to hear about the Cabot! What color did you choose?

      Those little feet were picked up at Home Depot. I couldn’t find them after searching online, but they had a LOT of options in the store (more than Lowe’s, if that’s where you initially went – we went to Lowe’s last week to get more for a different project, and they weren’t carried there).ReplyCancel

      • Nicole M - September 30, 2016 - 12:14 PM

        Thanks for replying so quickly! I went with Cabot Gold in Sunlit Walnut. It has a little more orange than I was hoping for, but I still love it.

        I checked out our local Ace Hardware and there they were! And yes, Lowe’s did not have them. Thanks for sharing all the updates and projects that you do. Reading your blog inspires me to keep moving along on all my projects at our home. :)ReplyCancel

  • Penny B - November 16, 2016 - 2:00 PM

    Kim, I spy a Zip Sander! Thank you for the love and Im so glad you think our sandpaper is GAME CHANGER. Please let me know if there is a certain something you love, Im happy to send you some more and thanks again for giving Gatorgrit Sandpaper a shout out.ReplyCancel

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