Introduction: Lawn Chair

Picture of Lawn Chair

Sitting on the lawn is a great way to get outside, catch some sun, and say 'hi' to the neighbors. I recently moved into an apartment that doesn't have a lawn and I really miss sitting outside and reading. I built the lawn chair so that I could enjoy my favorite parts about my old lawn inside or on the sidewalk.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

For this project you will need materials and tools for building the chair and for planting the grass.

For the chair:

Plywood, Glue, Wood Screws, Paper, Printer, JIg Saw, Drill

For the grass:

Thick Plastic, Duct tape, Staple gun, Potting Soil, Hardware cloth, Fertilizer, Sod

Step 2: The Design

Picture of The Design

I designed the Lawn Chair in Fusion 360 and used Illustrator to extract the profiles for printing. After I had a digital file of the chair's profile I used a large format printer to make a giant sticker with the chair's shape on it. I used a technique perfected by Jon-A-Tron to avoid using a CNC machine for this project. For more details about digital fabrication by hand see this link. The chair's design is based on the geometry of some lounge chairs that I found particularly comfortable.

Step 3: Cutting the Profile

Picture of Cutting the Profile

After printing out the chair's profile I laid down the giant sticker on a piece of plywood. I followed the line on the paper with a jig saw to cut out the shape of the chair in wood. It is important to be careful when cutting out profiles to pay attention to which side of the line you are cutting on. Make sure the saw blade stays in the off-cut section to avoid making cuts into your work piece. If you are like me and cut a bit too far outside the line in a few places, don't worry, you can easily sand off the excess with a sander. To cut out internal shapes you will need to drill a hole larger than the jigsaw blade to start your cut.

Step 4: Duplicating the Pattern

Picture of Duplicating the Pattern

You'll need four identical pieces for the frame of the chair, but don't worry, you don't have to cut them all with a jig saw. Using a router and a duplication bit is an easy way to make perfect copies of plywood pieces fairly quickly.

You will need to roughly cut out each of the remaining 3 pieces, but be generous, leave some extra space around the edges. The router will take care of making it perfect. Stack the precisely cut prattern on top of the rough cut piece and clamp the two together. Find a straight router bit with a bearing on the end and set it to cut the top sheet using the bottom as the bearing surface. Now simply run the router around the edge of the chair profile until the entire piece is duplicated. Repeat these steps three times so that you have four identical pattern pieces.

Step 5: More Cutting

Picture of More Cutting

Two of the pieces from the last step need to be altered slightly to make room for the grass to grow and for reinforcement members. For this step you'll need to go back to the jig saw. Use a straight edge or piece of precisely cut plywood to make a line on one of your chair profiles that follows the top edge about 2 1/2 inches down. Also make five evenly spaced notches that are 3 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch deep along the rocker edge. See the red lines in the image above for clarification.

Step 6: Gluing

Picture of Gluing

It's time to do a bit of gluing.

The pieces you trimmed in the last step will become the inner supporting profiles for the chair and the ones that you did not trim are the outside profiles. Spread glue on one of the inner pieces lay it on top of the outer piece so that they line up on all the edges. Repeat this with the other set. It is important that the stacks are mirror images of each other so that the inside parts are both facing in.

Step 7: Cutting Slats

Picture of Cutting Slats

After the two sides of the chair are complete it is time to cut the pieces that space them apart and give you a place to sit.

First, cut a sheet of plywood down to the desired width of the chair. I used 30 inches, but if you don't mind it being a bit narrower, I'd suggest 24 inches because that is the most common width for grass sod.

Once your stock is cut to width you can make cut it into pieces for the ribs. I kept the sheets as long as possible for the straight sections of the chair, but if you want to cut them all to two or three inches that will work too.

Step 8: Screw It Together

Picture of Screw It Together

In this step the chair will really start to take shape.

Start by standing the sides up on edge upside down. I used clamps on the ends to keep the pieces upright while laying on the reinforcement pieces. Before driving in a screw it is a good idea to drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting. Once you have pilot holes drilled at each of the intersections you can go ahead and screw on the reinforcements.

With the reinforcement pieces on you can now flip the chair over onto the rockers and screw on the slats and boards in the same way.

Step 9: Rounding and Sanding

Picture of Rounding and Sanding

Use a router with a radius bit to round over all the edges on the chair. This is an important step for two reasons. First of all the wood will look nicer, and feel better with rounded edges. Secondly, rounded edges are less likely to get damaged. After rounding over all the edges you can hit the whole chair with a few grades of sand paper. It is up to you how much time you want to spend on this. I ended up sanding with 120 grit and 220 grit sand paper.

Admittedly, it would have portably been a good idea to do this step before putting the slats on, but I did it after, and that's fine too.

Step 10: Sealing the Wood

Picture of Sealing the Wood

Sealing the plywood is particularly important in this project since there will be soil and water involved. Chose a wood finish that is rated for outdoor use. Polyurethane is probably a good choice. General Finishes makes a nice Outdoor Oil that would be a good choice.

Step 11: Plastic Lining

Picture of Plastic Lining

Even with a quality wood finish on the chair there is no guarantee that it will be completely water tight. Adding a layer of thick plastic sheet helps with the waterproofing of the chair. I used a staple gun to attach the plastic sheet and then covered the staples with duct tape for just a little extra waterproofing.

Step 12: Dirt and Wire Mesh

Picture of Dirt and Wire Mesh

Sod comes with a layer of soil, but it isn't really enough for the grass to live on. The chair will need an extra layer of soil and some fertilizer if you want it to last. To keep the soil in place I used a layer of wire mesh offset from the bottom by about an inch. After bending the edges of the wire mesh up and trimming it to size I used the staple gun again to keep it in place. These staples are harder to cover with duct tape, so we just have to hope that not too much water gets through the holes.

Getting the soil in behind the wire mesh is a bit of a challenge. I found that the best way to do this was to leave an opening at the top of the back rest and pour in the soil before putting in the last few staples.

I was a bit concerned about the sod sliding down at the top of the back rest. To prevent this from happening I cut a small sheet of plywood and put some long wood screws in it. I slid this piece in behind the wire mesh with the screws protruding out to stick into the sod and keep it in place.

Step 13: Laying the Grass

Picture of Laying the Grass

I hope you are ready to get your hands really dirty.

Laying on the sod is really pretty easy. All you really need to do is unroll the sod, place it on the chair and trim the edges with a trowel or large knife.

Step 14: Extras

Picture of Extras

The flowers, flamingos and flag are fun ways to make the chair uniquely your own but are totally optional additions.

I recommend cutting out a piece of the sod and the wire mesh below it before planting the flowers.

I found a 3D model of a flamingo on Thingiverse and printed it on a Makerbot in a flexible pink material. The STLs are included in this step.

Step 15: Water and Enjoy

Picture of Water and Enjoy

Like any other lawn this one will require some maintenance in if you expect it to remain green and beautiful. Since the back rest is inclined at a steep angle it will dry out faster than the rest of the chair and will require more watering to keep it green and happy.

If kept properly watered and fertilized the lawn chair should be able to grow naturally and last quite a long time. It is not recommended however to sit in the chair directly after watering as it will likely result in an uncomfortably wet behind.


Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-16

You might want to add in the last step that it isn't recommended to sit on the chair after fertilizing it, The plant fertilizer is probably poisonous to (us) humans

Suggestion: If you're not sure of what you speak, be silent.

I must be confused. Sure my comment might not be the most important one here, but I don't see what you're adding to the discussion. Thanks.

CobyUnger (author)Yonatan242015-12-27

Good point.

Timothee Gillier (author)2017-05-21

Cool chair, I would love to make one!

Go for it. Let me know if you need any advice.

Thanks for your help, I think I will make it with turf so that it will last me longer!

Scumm7 (author)2017-04-19

How's this chair doing these days?

CobyUnger (author)Scumm72017-04-20

A good question. I replaced the grass with artificial turf when I moved away from San Francisco. To be honest, I don't know if it is even still around. The key is good watering and the right amount of sun. Also, probably a tiny lawn mower.

DaveH127 (author)2016-11-19

Coby, you should get the award for the best named project. I have a few lawn chairs, but yours is a lawn chair. Well done.

CobyUnger (author)DaveH1272016-11-20

Thanks Dave,
Glad you liked it.

Jairster (author)2016-08-05

I really like the chair. How comfortable is it? Did you measure your own body in order to make a custom fit?

ChrisO103 (author)2016-07-02

For the back area that dries out a bit faster if you mix in ground up diaper absorbent with potting soil it retains water a lot better once the roots anchor into the potting soil.

buck2217 (author)2015-06-25

I like this, does it take long to dry after a rain shower?

Yonatan24 (author)buck22172015-12-16

Depends on the temp/humidity, Probably a couple hours

mrandle (author)2015-04-07

now I need to make my grass hammock 2.0 with sod. I used fake grass last summer. How heavy is this?

CobyUnger (author)mrandle2015-04-22

Heck yeah! I love your grass hammock. It is pretty heavy. Maybe around 80 or 100 pounds.

mrandle (author)CobyUnger2015-04-23

Thanks! I need to get better with my wood working to pull it off succesfully!

hackstr13 (author)2015-04-08

OK first this is really cool ... anyway i can get a list of wood needed , cut list ?

CobyUnger (author)hackstr132015-04-22

The chair parts were all cut out of two sheets of plywood. The file with the cut pattern is attached above.

ccronkhite (author)2015-04-07

Thats pretty awesome.

You could use silicone caulk to seal the staples for the wire mesh.

CobyUnger (author)ccronkhite2015-04-22

Good idea. I probably should have done that.

kayakdiver (author)2015-04-07

I LIKE IT! Fun & creative!

CobyUnger (author)kayakdiver2015-04-22


the lego guy 14 (author)2015-04-07

Awesome. Great Idea!

Thanks. Glad you like it.

Devenger (author)2015-04-07

Great concept and awesome execution! You mentioned how the grass on the back rest will dry out faster than the rest of the chair and so I have a few ideas for your next attept at this build:

1.) Create an adjustable backrest.
-I know that you wanted to make the chair all one piece, but If the backrest was attached to the rest of the chair with a couple of 1/2 inch bolts and a support brace, you could lower the backrest to a horizontal position when not in use. It would make both watering and "mowing" easier and allow some adjustment for the person sitting in the chair as well.

2.) Cut the backrest sod into sections and place into slightly angled horizontal wooden planters.
-If keeping the chair's original design is crucial, then cutting up the sod into seperate sections and placing them in angled planters all the way down the backrest would also help with the irrigation. So long as each wooden section was sealed, each sod compartment would prevent the water from draining down the chair and pooling at the bottom. So long as the sod was thick enough and you mow/trip the grass at the same angle as the chair, you'd never notice the difference sitting on it.

CobyUnger (author)Devenger2015-04-22

Intersting idea. You should try it out.

egam (author)2015-04-07

Great! No CNC and no Laser needed.


CobyUnger (author)egam2015-04-22

No problem. A CNC would make it way easier, but I decided to do it with hand tools this time.

shantinath1000 (author)2015-04-07

Very cool- when I saw lawn chair I was thinking like an Adirondack chair but this is way cooler.

CobyUnger (author)shantinath10002015-04-22

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

thundrepance (author)2015-04-07

hysterical, coby; i LOVE it! x^D .... reminds me of that car that someone covered with sod [once featured on "b.n., the science guy"].

i laughed out loud when i saw the photo of you pushing the girl wearing roller skates, as she casually waved to people! hahahahahahahahahahaha-a-a-a!!

CobyUnger (author)thundrepance2015-04-22

I totally remember that car. It was amazing. Glad you like the chair.

dmwatkins (author)2015-04-06

Lol awesome idea! do you mow the grass?

CobyUnger (author)dmwatkins2015-04-06

Haven't needed to mow yet. Might need to make a tiny lawn mower soon though.

dmwatkins (author)CobyUnger2015-04-07

That's the spirit! Another Instructable, I hope :P

GideonH (author)2015-04-06


dackermans84 (author)2015-04-06

It is a beautiful idea! Thinking about making it, because we have a small yard, but only tiles. My girlfriend want some fake grass but I don't want to remove the tiles for a small piece of grass. Do you have any dimensions, I don't have a large printer to print out the outline...

CobyUnger (author)dackermans842015-04-06

The illustrator file in step two is to scale. You can pull dimensions off of that. It is approximately seven feet from head to foot.

WildOne1985 (author)2015-04-06

This is by far one of the silliest things I've seen on this site! Giggle factor >10. Absolutely a showpiece in the garden, but for functionality - not so much. A for effort!! :D

(The above is my personal opinion - results may vary)

CobyUnger (author)WildOne19852015-04-06


The Rambler (author)2015-04-06

This is awesome. Hilariously awesome.

CobyUnger (author)The Rambler2015-04-06

Glad you like it.

NathanSellers (author)2015-04-06

He he. Gotta love a good pun. Great design too. It looks really comfortable.

CobyUnger (author)NathanSellers2015-04-06

Thanks. I do love puns.

ClenseYourPallet (author)2015-04-06

Love it... Every part of this project is awesome! Thanks for the great ible

Thanks. I'm glad you like it.

starforest (author)2015-04-06

Is there anthing to keep the sod from slideing off the chair?

CobyUnger (author)starforest2015-04-06

I stuck in a board behind the wire mesh at the top with some short screws sticking into the sod (see the final picture in step #13). That has worked pretty well to keep the sod from sliding. If you have any better ideas I am open to suggestions.

About This Instructable




Bio: I build, I teach, I learn. Happiest when covered in saw dust, sweat and machine grease. Visit for more projects and info.
More by CobyUnger:Log BookMaker AutoDisco Hammer
Add instructable to: