8 Things to Do Outside with DIY

outdoor dining table with food
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-600

Any time of year is the best time to work on outdoor projects. When the weather is fair, you can construct in the yard. During cold months, build your lawn decor and patio furniture so they're ready when temperatures rise. Have fun!

1. Create a Stump Table

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wood stump

There’s nothing more natural than a wood tree stump and no better place to enjoy a cool beverage than your patio. Combine the two blessings by making a table out of a stump. Start by finding a stump the appropriate size and making sure it's well dried.

Cut the top and bottom so they're level, sanding if necessary to achieve the look you want. Then apply a sealant on the wood to protect it in outdoor weather. For convenience and flexibility, you can add wheels to the bottom.

2. Dress up the Lighting

Cans and jars can be great materials for some easy decorative lighting projects. For a simple project, line an outdoor table with a row of candle-filled jars. For something more elaborate, use cans to modify a strand of hanging lights for string lighting with flair.

Use jute to wrap the candles, glueing it onto the glass in your favorite design. Remember, the more glass you cover, the less light will come through, so it’s best to create a thin web design. Jute is a natural fiber, and it provides a way to hang the lights individually or linked together. Drop-in battery or solar-powered lights to create the glow.

3. Build a Picnic Table

wood picnic table on patio

There may be no place you’d rather enjoy a picnic than in your own backyard. With a table, it’s easy to spread out while getting away from grass-stained shorts and creepy crawlers. For a picnic table, use cedar, redwood, or Douglas fir. Remember to include cross beams for durability and stain, often for long-term protection.

4. Make your Own Potter’s Bench

If you or someone you know loves to spend time in the garden, a potting bench is an essential tool for staying organized and tidy. The process is fairly straightforward for making the basic table. Then include a lower shelf for storage. Also, plan for narrow shelving on top for smaller jars, seeds, and pots. You can also include a pegboard back where you can hang hand tools.

5. Personalize with Stepping Stones

A bag of cement and some creativity can bring an entirely new look to a sitting area, pathway, or garden bed. Making your own stepping stones is easy and fun. You can get the kids involved by pressing their handprints into the wet cement for a lasting souvenir. You can also press in flowers, rocks, shells, or words. Use a 12-16” plastic plant drip pan for your frame. Mix cement following package instructions and press into the frame. Then add your designs and wait for them to dry. These make great gifts for every occasion!

6. Raised Beds and Boxes

elevated garden bed

Once you’ve mastered the craft of building a wood box, you’ve opened up a world of options for your yard. Use the same design basics to make a bench with built-in planters on each end, or make a tabletop option to use as a centerpiece. For the garden, make your boxes square, rectangular, or even triangular for a corner model. Along the deck, make square planters in varying heights and paint or stain them to match each other. On a smaller scale, you can also build window boxes or a mini-planter for gifts.

7. Upcycled Wind Chimes

wooden windchime hanging from a tree

Wind chimes come in various shapes and sizes, each bringing their own sound when the breeze blows in. Depending on your chosen medium, you can make one-of-a-kind wind chimes from metal or wood. The creative part comes with your material selection, and upcycling gives new life to utensils, rusty tools, strips of copper, metal rods, wooden dowels, and endless other options.

8. Create an Outdoor Cooler

There are many ways to keep your cool in summer. Keep your beverages close and cool without the need for an outdoor fridge. If you have a long wooden table, cut out a centerpiece and insert a metal tub into the space. If you have a bar, you can install a discarded sink. You can even use an old washing machine basin to do the trick. When the party starts, simply fill with ice and drinks for refreshment within arm’s reach.

Note: With any of these cooler options, make sure there’s a hole for easy drainage.

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