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40 Outdoor Woodworking Projects for Beginners

You don't have to be an expert woodworker or own specialty tools to take on one of these 40 outdoor woodworking projects for beginners. Every one of the simple projects included here features step-by-step plans and tips for success.

Easy Timber Bench

If you have some experience with power tools, you’ll have this timber bench built in just a few hours, though staining it may add a couple hours more. All materials are readily available at home centers.

Modern-Style Birdhouse

Make this minimalist birdhouse on a Saturday morning, and learn some tricks to matching tough angles in the process. Plus, there’s a video tutorial to take you through the project, step-by-step!

Raised Planter

This sturdy, easy-to-build planter is perfect for a vegetable garden or flower bed, and it can go anywhere around your home—in the backyard, on the patio or deck, on the front porch, you name it! Get the full, simple plans here.

Mixed-Medium Garden Trellis

Climbing plants like vines and roses lend a lot of charm to an ordinary garden, especially when they're winding up a trellis as stunning as this one. And its character just grows richer as the wood turns gray and the copper develops a beautiful green patina. Click here to get the plans.

Garden Closet

If you don’t have room in your yard for a large, freestanding shed, you can still create plenty of space for garden tools with a shed attached to the back or side of the house. This garden closet project is easy to build, even for a beginner. If you’re an experienced builder, you can build this shed in a couple of weekends.

Patio Garden Pond and Planter

This patio pond in a wooden container holds both water plants and regular plants. With a paint-on rubber lining that's ultra-stretchy and UV resistant, it'll last years with little maintenance. Get the full details on how to build this patio garden pond planter here.

Cornhole Boards

This classic backyard game is easy and inexpensive to make yourself. And with legs that fold up, it’s easy to tote along for tailgating, camping and more. Plus, watch the video tutorial for a quick how-to!

Pedestal Picnic Table

If you'd like a more refined picnic table, one that will fit right in at a dinner party for adults as well as at an afternoon barbecue with the kids, here's the design for you. The Craftsman style is timeless and no one has to sit with a table leg in their way. Learn how to make this table yourself with no nails or screws visible in the top.

Stripped-Down Window Planter

This window box planter is so easy to make—it's all curves and circles. The ingenious design, besides being easy-to-build, also means it resists rot far better than traditional window boxes. Learn how to build this wooden planter box alternative here.

Planter Trellis Combo

Create a living privacy screen. These plans feature a simple planter and trellis made with bamboo. You can do it in a weekend for about $100.

Stone-Top Patio Table

Fitting neatly into the smallest of backyards, this little DIY outdoor furniture patio table will hold your drinks, your latest vacation reading or even a delicious snack. And aking a mere three hours from start to finish, you only need basic tools and a miter saw to get the job done. Your choice of tile top will dictate the price. The table shown cost less than $30, but you've a wide variety to choose from for the top, including slate, granite, limestone, marble or decorative tile. Prices range from $5 to $20+. Good skills with driving screws are required for this project, including using a counter-sink.

Classic Wooden Cart

If you enjoy gardening but not making multiple trips to collect tools, fertilizer, flats of plants, mulch, a garden hose and a weed bucket, you’ll love this simple cart. It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver, but it works like a heavyweight. It’s easy to build with these step-by-step plans.

Tiered Plant Stand

Show off your gardening skills with this simple multi-level plant stand. It's easy to build from seven 8-ft.-long 1x2s. In just a morning, you can build this handsome, durable plant stand, perfect for indoor use or outside on a deck or patio. Get the plans for this tiered plant stand here.

Add Interest with a Garden Arbor

This timber garden arbor can be your place to get away for a quiet retreat or a nook to chat with friends. Get the plans here.

Perfect Patio Chairs

If you're looking for lightweight chairs that can be moved around easily, then look no further than these perfect patio chairs. These smartly cushioned chairs are extremely comfortable, and the arms are designed to be wide enough to rest your drink or a small snack plate. And if you choose pine, this project will cost around $60, while cedar will increase the cost to $90. Suitable for a beginner, this DIY outdoor furniture project only requires a little experience and basic tools. The instructions are detailed and include skills such as how to use a speed square to ensure that the legs are plumb.  

Butterfly House

Butterflies like the protection of dark, sheltered areas—whether it’s for months at a time (during long, cold winters), or for just a few moments (when dodging hungry predators). Here’s a simple refuge you can build for them for under $20.

Island Deck

The simplicity of this ground level deck makes it fast to build. With a helper and all the materials ready to go first thing in the morning, you can have a completed ground level deck before sundown. Get the complete plans for this project here.

Create a Porch Trellis

Aside from the privacy it offers, a latticework porch trellis is a perfect way to add major curb appeal to your home for $100 or less. The trellis shown here is made of cedar, but any decay-resistant wood like redwood, cypress or treated pine would also be a good option. Constructed with lap joints for a flat surface and an oval cutout for elegance, it's a far upgrade from traditional premade garden lattice. As long as you have experience working a router, this project's complexity lies mostly in the time it takes to cut and assemble. Get the instructions complete with detailed illustrations here.

Backyard Boardwalk

Paths built with concrete, stone or pavers are expensive and labor intensive. They require a lot of digging, hauling of tons of materials and the disposal of tons of soil. If you’re looking for an easier path, consider a wooden walkway, especially for wet or sloped sites.

Adirondack Chair and Love Seat

With its classic design and sleek lines, this Adirondack chair and love seat project not only looks gorgeous but is completely customizable to your own dimensions. And the curves are designed to cradle your back. But because the slope is gentler than the traditional Adirondack style, you won't have to struggle to get up out of this chair. This chair and love seat set is made from pressure-treated pine, and you can paint or stain it afterwards to customize this DIY outdoor furniture even further. Also, you can vary the back design, choosing from curved, gable or round styling. You'll only need basic tools and it costs around $20 to $100 to make.

Umbrella table

Sipping a cool drink in the shade of a patio umbrella is the ideal way to spend a hot afternoon. And this stylish umbrella table will set your umbrella off beautifully and provide a stable base to avoid accidents when the wind picks up. The base is made from plywood and No. 2 cedar, with the top made from knot-free cedar or pressure-treated deck boards. And the cost varies depending on your materials. You'll need moderate skills to complete this project. For example, using pocket screws and operating a miter saw, but you should be able to finish it over a weekend.  

Wooden Bench for Less

Need some extra seating for an upcoming outdoor get-together? You can build this super-simple bench in just a few hours!

Arbor With Built-In Benches and Planters

Combining comfort, privacy and practicality, this arbor with built-in benches is small enough to fit onto almost any deck or patio. And the corner design features integral seating, built-in planters so you can enjoy your fragrant blooms. Also a trellis screening is there to protect you from prying eyes or the sun's rays. This arbor is built from pressure-treated wood, and you can customize it with your choice of paint or stain to finish it off. It's a multi-day process, but can be done over one weekend if you decide not to stain it. This DIY outdoor furniture project is simple to build, (although you will need to know how to drive toe screws perfectly), and will cost around $250 to make.

DIY Garden Cart

Wheelbarrows are great for hauling stuff around the yard—unless you’re working on a hill, or trying to negotiate steps and rough terrain, or moving a lot of bulky material like leaves and branch trimmings, you get the idea. This beefed up two-wheel garden cart is a must for your yard chores. Follow these simple plans to build it yourself.

Garden Bench

With simple design and elegant lines, this beautiful garden bench is the perfect place to sit and enjoy your backyard. And the design is strong and stable, and the curved seat adds a touch of originality to the look. This DIY outdoor furniture project requires moderate skills, for example making biscuit joints with a biscuit joiner, although a router makes a good alternative if you don't have a biscuit joiner. This bench can be completed in a weekend, and costs between $100 and $500 to build, depending on your choice of wood.

Backyard Privacy Screen

We’ll show you a foolproof technique for laying out this privacy fence to ensure you get perfect post positioning. Get the full step-by-step plans for building this privacy screen in your backyard.

Simple Folding Chair

This foldable outdoor chair is the perfect project for a complete beginner. And it boasts a very simple design, with a carrying handle cutout in the back for easy portability. Also it has an interlocking design where the seat fits into the back. This project require mainly basic woodwork tools, although you'll need a table saw and a belt sander for best results. It costs $20 to $100 to make, depending on the wood you choose. The chair shown is made from cedar, but you could also use Cypress fir or pressure-treated wood. You can make this easily in a day.

Elegant Outdoor Table

Build this attractive, durable stone look-alike table in a day, using inexpensive concrete products available at many home centers. You simply mold and pour the top, then assemble the wooden legs. When sealed, it's stain-resistant and can be used indoors or outside.

Garden Arbor

This combination arbor and swing may look like a challenging, weeks-long project, but it’s not. If you can drive screws and handle a saw, you can build it in a weekend.

Polished Stone-Top Table

If you bought this superb polished table in a store, it would cost you a fortune, but our detailed instructions will help you make one for less than $100. And it looks like highly polished stone, but no-one would know it's actually made from concrete with a wooden base. Also, you can embellish the top with leaf prints, like the table shown here, or personalize it with glass or mosaic tiles or imprints of seashells. Although it looks tricky, this project is suitable for a beginner, but you'll need to allow several days to complete each stage of the concrete process.

Self-Watering Planter

If you love the taste of fresh veggies and have ever lost a crop because you forgot to water, this DIY solution is for you. Add a self-watering planter to your list of outdoor projects this summer and never worry about forgetting to water the plants again. It's great for flowers too! Plus: Tips for Easier Gardening

Patio Combo With Built-In End Table

Relax and enjoy your outdoor space with this smart patio combo consisting of a sofa and chair. You can adjust the size completely to make it fit perfectly onto your patio or deck, and both the sofa and chair have arms that double as trays for al fresco dining. And you can make your own cushions to fit, or use shop-bought ones and add your own ties, if necessary. Deceptively simple to build, this DIY furniture project is made from pressure-treated wood, so remember to lay your timber flat while it dries thoroughly, to avoid warping. This project can be completed over a weekend and will cost between $100 and $500.

3-Season Planter Box

This 3-season planter box uses plastic containers or liners to keep moisture and dirt away from the wooden parts, meaning it will survive the outdoors a lot longer than other planters. Learn how to build the 3-season planter box here.

Campfire Bench

This simple, sturdy campfire bench is perfect for the backyard or cabin. Build it with your kids this weekend and park it next to your fire pit or under a shade tree.

Cedar Potting Bench

This super-simple potting bench will make your gardening projects much more enjoyable—and it'll help you stay organized, too! Get the plans here.

Garden Hutch

Wouldn't it be nice to have all your gardening tools and supplies in one handy location? This pine hutch holds long-handled tools like shovels, rakes and hoes on one side, and smaller tools and supplies on shelves on the other side. Follow these simple project plans to build this good-looking garden hutch.

Classic Adirondack Chair

Plop down in one of these solid wood chairs and you’ll appreciate the comfort of this traditional design. You don’t have to be an expert to build it either. All the parts of this solid, great-looking Adirondack chair can be cut with a circular saw and jigsaw, then assembled with a drill, a few clamps and glue.

Pond in a Box

Build this simple, above-ground pond with trellis in a weekend. It features a fountain and a trellis, The advantages of an above-ground pond are:
  • NO-DIGGING!: With this design, there's practically none of the worst part of pond building—gut-busting digging. And that also means there's no huge pile of dirt to get rid of.
  • FAST: Talk about instant gratification! Build the walls and trellis in the morning and assemble the pond in the afternoon. Add the trim the next day and go buy goldfish!
  • SAFER: Traditional in-ground ponds can be a drowning hazard for toddlers and pets. With this above-ground design, the risk is reduced.
Get the complete how-to instructions here.

Garden Tool Storage Cubby

This build-it-yourself storage cubby keeps your gardening tools right where you need them. The complete how-to instructions and photos are available here.

Patio Planter

This planter is designed to make your patio or deck gardening much easier. Instead of filling it with dirt and planting each flower or plant individually, you simply set prepotted plants right into the planter. Build one for your outdoor space with these plans.