Our little townhouse has a nice-sized patio. However, after building large planter boxes for herbs and blueberry bushes, there’s not a ton of space for patio furniture.
We really wanted a patio table that would be trim enough to fit on our patio, yet large enough to comfortably seat 6, with seating for 8 if necessary.
All commercial patio furniture either came in very tiny bistro sets for two or large sets with tables that were too wide for our space. After five years, we finally decided to design and build our own patio-sized picnic table.
Why a picnic table?
I really, really liked the idea of a round patio table, mostly because it is so patio-like. However, we settled on a patio-sized picnic table for several reasons:
- It was easy to build out of cheap construction lumber. All together the table and benches cost us about $80 to make and the most expensive part of that was the stain.
- The rectangular shape meant that we could make a long, narrow table to seat more people than a similarly wide circular table.
- Bench seating allowed a lot of people to squeeze around the table all at once.
- It was also easy to make matching benches out of construction lumber.
Patio-sized picnic table
I’m not going to go into detail about how to put it all together, beyond giving a cut list and a few broad pieces of advice. However, Brad’s really gotten into using sketch-up to design everything we’re going to build. So, I’ve attached a few construction visuals.
If this is your first project and you need a bit more hand-holding, then I suggest going over to Ana White’s website. She’s really good at her detailed construction plans. Whereas this is my first time writing up a project like this.
We used this plan for the bench. We made the first bench 8 ft long as it’s nice to have the extra length on the side that sits against the house. The second bench was shortened to 56″ long to match the length of the table.
The table is 56″ x 27″. However, you could easily turn it into an 8 ft long and narrow table.
- 3 x 8′ pieces of 2″ x 4″ lumber: At least 1 of the boards needs to have a nice flat side, as it will be part of the tabletop.
- 2 x 10′ piece of 2″ x 6″ lumber: These are both for the tabletop, so it’s important to find wood that has one nice side.
- Outdoor screws: We used 2-inch pocket screws for most of the construction and the table and bench tops were attached with 2 1/2 inch deck screws.
- Stain: Staining the boards not only gives it a bit of style, but it also helps to protect the wood from the elements. We used a colour called Fresh Brew in a semi-transparent stain from Benjamin Moore.
- Varnish: We used a glossy outdoor varnish to further protect the table and make it easy to wipe up spilled juice and smears of ketchup.
Here is the cut list for the table. Hopefully you have enough information from it and the diagram to figure out how to build your own patio-sized picnic table.
- 4 at 2×6 by 4′ 8″ for the tabletop
- 1 at 2×4 by 4′ 8″ for the centre piece on the tabletop
- 4 at 2×4 by 23 1/2″ for the feet and the top brace
- 4 at 2×4 by 24 1/2″ for the table legs
- 1 at 2×4 by 3′ for the bottom brace
Like I mentioned above, I’m not going to go into detail about how to put the table together. Hopefully, the construction plans are clear enough.
Here are a few pieces of advice that will help with getting a nice finish on the table.
- Put together the base of the table together before staining and varnishing. However, stain and varnish each of the boards for the tabletop before attaching them to the base. It makes it easier to get a nice even finish in the narrow spaces between the boards.
- We used two applications of stain on all pieces. Brad and I worked together. I applied the stain and Brad wiped it off. Then we did 3 coats of varnish on every side, lightly sanding the tabletop between coats for a deliciously soft finish.