Outdoor End Table With Built in Cooler or Flower Planter




There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would h...

An outdooor end table build project tutorial with built in cooler or flower planter. When I built my sun loungers it was only natural to build a table to sit between them because, seriously, sun lounging is thirsty work! I was going to build the most basic of little tables with little regard for anything except a sturdy surface for my beer. But then I remembered seeing the most fabulous end table with a cooler built right in on Pinterst… Well, yeah, I’m definitely going to have to do something like that lol! So, I got to work!

Using the same green treated deck boards that I built the outdoor sun loungersand my outdoor bench out of, I built a little basic table base using the same principle I used to build our outdoor barn door table base. With a glass beer bottle in mind I wanted this little guy to be extra sturdy!

I purchased a plastic planter insert choosing a dark green simply because there were no other colors to choose from Thank goodness for Ace hardware! I guess I was already a couple of weeks too late for these to be in stock at Walmart! I expected the planter insert to hang on all four sides but the majority of the weight to sit down on a hidden board for some real support. (You’ll notice in the following pictures that I was, in fact, not building one outdoor end table but three!)

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Finishing the Tops and Adding Legs

It all started with a rectangle. (It seems all of my projects these days start with a rectangle…) The long boards on the rectangle I cut at 24″ and the short boards I cut at 13″ giving my top boards a chance to hang over on all of the edges by over 2″.

With the rectangle finished I cut the two boards on the sides at 28″ and then dropped the planter in place and added a small board on either end that I cut at 5 1/4″. I am aware that these small boards are not going to support much of anything as they are but they don’t need to: next I added a board across the bottom of the planter to support its weight.

With the top part of the outdoor end table done I really struggled deciding on “legs” it just seemed way too small of a table to add four 1×6 deck boards so I decided to just add two, one in the front, one in the back. These legs also then added a second support for the small board I cut for each end of the planter.

With the legs done and the end tables standing there looking complete I tested them for sturdiness and was just not happy with the result. Would they have stayed upright on their own? For sure, but what if they were bumped? They would topple. I had images of my beer going flying… I cut feet at the same length as the end boards (13″) but they just looked weird and huge. Yes, they provided sturdiness but it just wasn’t right yet so I took them to my miter saw. I cut both corners off of each of my 13″ feet and viola! Much better!

Step 2: Completion and Enjoy It!

(There were two ready-to-be-knocked-out holes in the bottoms of the planters, I had not yet knocked them out in these pictures but I did later, so they provide great drainage either for melting ice or for plants!) They work great both for setting a glass and for ice! I’m really looking forward to next spring though and filling them with flowers!

Outdoor Structures

Participated in the
Outdoor Structures

Furniture Contest 2017

Participated in the
Furniture Contest 2017

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Furniture Contest

    Furniture Contest
  • Reuse Contest

    Reuse Contest
  • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    Hot Glue Speed Challenge

4 Discussions


1 year ago

Very neat. Can I make a small recommendation? You should use the finished product as the cover image. It generally makes an Instructable more appealing if you can see the finished product when viewing thumbnails. Again, great job!

3 replies

In order to change the cover image, click on the edit button on the first page of the Instructable. Add another image to the first step (if you only have one). Click the save button after that and you will be on the publish page. There is a drop down tab that says "change cover image". Click the save button again and you are done.