Make the most of your outdoor space with an outdoor bar serving area or potting bench station. Either way you can make this beautiful cedar build using my free plans down below. Imagine the entertaining possibilities if you had this cedar work surface?
A DIY tutorial to build an outdoor bar or potting bench station. Free plans to create an exterior work surface for entertaining or as a potting bench.
This large outdoor bar piece (or potting bench) is one of my favorite builds ever but it has a bit of a sad story. Today I am sharing the free plans to build this piece complete with display shelves and a cooler compartment down below. But first a little explanation.
My friend Stefanie over at Brooklyn Limestone sent me a sketch asking if I would be interested in building this outdoor bar potting bench piece for under her back steps.
Yes of course I’m always happy to build custom furniture for friends. We settled on the plan details and I got to work. You can see from her sketch I had to lop off the left top corner at an angle to fit under her stairs but the plans below have the shelves going straight across.
This is a large piece measuring 60″ wide by 36″ deep with a big cooler space or hidden storage. My 9 year old son had plenty of space to wiggle around when he decided to jump in the cooler compartment as you can see above.
Outdoor Cedar Table:
- serving bar for entertaining with cooler space
- work surface with shelf storage
- potting bench with concealed storage
I used almost all cedar for this piece being that it will live outside in the elements. Long story short I got the whole piece built only to realize we wouldn’t be able to fit it through Stefanie’s back door (and there is no ‘going around to the backyard’ option in Brooklyn). So I disassembled it for transport and then we had rainy weather. It was as if the gods were against us and I couldn’t spend a whole day rebuilding on site so ultimately I stopped the project.
This would explain why I don’t have any beautiful styled pictures of the final installation because it never happened. 🙁 Thankfully I have these phone pictures to share and now I also have a lot of cedar boards and posts to use up so you can expect a few new outdoor pieces coming soon!
At any rate I still wanted to share to plans for Stefanie and anyone else looking to build a large outdoor bar or potting bench.
Please read through all steps prior to making any cuts. Always follow all safety precautions when operating power tools.
- miter saw
- drill & drill bits
- pocket hole jig
- exterior pocket hole screws
- exterior wood screws
- wood glue
- jig saw
My actual build didn’t quite follow the plan steps as I was figuring it all out as I went along. Just be sure to follow the plans but I thought I would include my process pictures so you can see the frame and building details.
When adding the slats for the shelves and top surface I suggest starting with the ends and middle piece and then lay out the remaining boards to determine equal spacing. I have about 3/8″ spacing between each slat.
The cooler compartment top is completely removable and you could add a finger hole cut out for easy lifting or hinges if you want it attached.
Below is the cooler compartment lid upside down. You can see the first and last board are stationary and only the middle portion is removable:
I hope you enjoy these plans and please be sure to share your builds, we all like to see your projects! Please follow me on social media for sneak peeks and more project inspiration:
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Our Pinteresting Family says
What a great project!
Julie Spear says
This an awesome build that could totally be customizable for various uses! I love it! I could see using a plastic tub in the cooler space and you could even use a hose with the tub for watering while planting! Great idea! Sorry to hear the final installation plans didnt work out, I'm sure your friend is sorrier though….maybe it can still happen in the future.
Lisa C. Dorsey says
Any idea of the cost of materials? Also, how what are the dimensions of the cooler/how many gallons does it fit? I am needing something to store my custom mixed soil.
Hi Lisa, Cost varies greatly depending on where you live and lumber source. I’d take the supply list and price out from your lumber source. In regards to the cooler area it is approximately 27″ x 26″ x 14″ deep. Hope that helps.