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Deck and Patio Serving Table

Store drinks on ice and the glasses for serving them with this outdoor entertainment center for your deck or patio. It’s so easy, you can build it in a weekend.

Cedar outdoor serving table.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw or miter box and handsaw
  • Clamps
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Cordless drill and driver bit
  • 3/32-in drill bit for pilot holes


  • See Project Diagrams for lumber required
  • 2-in deck screws
  • 4d galvanized finish nails
  • 18-in Gatco satin-nickel towel bar, #322224
  • Garden Treasures 6-in x 23.75-in x 7.875-in window box, #127622
  • Olympic Maximum clear exterior stain

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


With this combination potting bench and patio party table, you can keep potting soil and garden tools handy or ice down drinks and store your wineglasses in style.

Build the Bench Frame

Step 1

Cut the legs (A) and stretchers (B), (C), (D), (E) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram) from cedar boards. Lightly sand the parts with 120-grit sandpaper to remove any splinters.

Step 2

use spacers to help build the four leg assemblies

To assemble a leg, apply glue to the edge of one leg part (A). Prop another leg board on scraps to help ease the assembly and nail the second leg part in place to form an L shape (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Repeat for the remaining three legs. 

Good to Know

Most of this project is assembled with waterproof glue and galvanized-finish nails. You can use equal-length fasteners in a brad nailer or exterior screws in pilot holes.

Step 3

A square helps align the parts when you are building the side assemblies

Lay two leg assemblies on a flat surface with the legs supported by the scraps you used earlier. Starting at the top, glue and nail the top side stretchers (B) and two side stretchers (C) to the leg assemblies, spacing them as shown with the ends and edges even (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Repeat for the second server side.

Good to Know

When adding fasteners to a project, place the fasteners in an orderly pattern for a professional look.

Step 4

Add the stretchers to the front and back of the server to make the base

Stand the side assemblies upside down on your workbench. Glue and nail the top front/back stretchers (D) and front/back stretchers (E) to both the front and back of the side assemblies (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).

Step 5

Cut the lower rails (F), top rail (G), and planter supports (H) to length (Cutting List, Cutting Diagram). Secure the lower rails to legs using glue and 2-inch deck screws. The top surface of the lower rail should be even with the top edges of the side stretchers (C) and the front/back stretchers (E) (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).

Step 6

Position the top rail (G) between the side stretchers (B), (C) with the top edges flush (Project Diagram, Drawing 3). Drill 3/32-inch pilot holes through the side rails and drive 2-inch deck screws.

Step 7

Install the upper rail and the planter supports with screws

Mark the location for the planter supports (H) on the top rail (G) and back stretchers (D), (E). Clamp the planter supports in position, drill pilot holes, and secure the planter supports with 2-inch deck screws.

Build the Top

Step 1

Cut the end slat (I), back slat (J), and long slats (K) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram). Starting at the right-hand side and aligning the ends and back edges, glue and nail the end slat to the stretchers (B, D) and top rail (G) with 4d galvanized finish nails (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).

Step 2

Glue and nail the back slat (J) in place (Project Diagram, Drawing 4) with the back edge of the slat aligned with the outside face of the top back stretcher (D).

Step 3

Mark the top edge of the front stretcher (D) 23-1/2 inches from the end slat (I). Position the first long slat (K) against the end of the back slat (J) and align it with the mark on the front stretcher. With the slat end and outside edge of the back stretcher (D) flush, nail the slat in place.

Step 4

Glue and nail the second long slat (K) to the left side of the table aligning the ends and back edges with the side and back of the server. Evenly space the remaining top slats between the first two, and secure with glue and nails.

Step 5

Lay out and add the top slats to the serving table

Cut the wide front slats (L), middle front slats (M), and narrow front slat (N) to length. Evenly space the slats to fill in the front of the table (parts should have a 1/2-inch gap). Secure with glue and nails (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).

Good to Know

A spacer made from a 1/2-inch-wide scrap can speed the assembly.

Add the shelf

Step 1

Cut the long shelf slats (O) and end shelf slats (P) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram). Position the two end shelf slats between the front and back legs (A) at each side with a 1/2-inch space between them (Project Diagram, Drawing 4). Glue and nail the slats to the lower support rails (F).

Step 2

Starting at one end, position the long shelf slats (O) on the front and back stretchers and support rails, spacing them 1/2 inch apart. (Adjust the spacing for an even pattern to fill the space.) Nail the slats to the lower support rails with 4d galvanized finish nails (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).

Finishing up

Step 1

Apply clear wood preservative, following the directions on the container. Apply several coats to all exposed end grain.

Step 2

Fasten the towel bar to one wide side stretcher (C). Place the planter in the top. Now you are ready to plant or serve.

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