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Gorgeous outdoor dining tables you can make

If you haven't yet set up a space for outdoor dining, we have put together a collection of gorgeous outdoor dining that will inspire you to grab your power tools and some wood, or shop around for affordable alternatives. There are plenty of timber merchants around the country that supply soft, medium and hardwoods that can be had at a price that will allow you to make an outdoor dining table at a fraction of the cost to buy a ready-made dining table. 


Making your own wood dining table for outdoors is easy, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when designing a table.

You want to design a table that is strong and sturdy and will not fall apart when in use. Find instructions here for making a Farmhouse Table.

Making benches as an alternative to dining chairs is done is the same way as you would make a table. Bracing the legs is important on benches, especially where these will support more than one person. 

There are several soft to medium woods that can be used to make an outdoor dining table. Pine is the softest material to use, but by using 32mm thick pine you can construct a strong table. However, meranti is harder than pine and you can use 20mm thick planks as an alternative, and you may find that 20mm thick meranti is cheaper than 32mm thick pine.


When buying meranti ask for red meranti. Many timber merchants stock both white and red, and white is softer than red.

Reclaimed wood is definitely an option for building an outdoor dining table. Reclaimed wood has had time to dry out and takes on a patina of age. Before assembling an outdoor table using reclaimed wood make sure to check for signs of infestation and rot, and apply a liquid wax preservative to reduce the chances of cracking or splitting while you work with reclaimed wood.

After assembly you have the option to leave the table without any additional protection and let is age naturally, continue to apply wax preservative, or seal or varnish the table.

This rustic tree outdoor dining table and benches is made entirely from felled trees. It is sad to see large trees species felled to make way for housing developments and if you have the opportunity of obtaining felled trees or tree stumps, these can be re-purposed to make your own outdoor furniture.

Do bear in mind though, that most trees cut down are generally hardwoods, and can be difficult to work with. A chainsaw is the best saw to use for cutting these woods down to size, as DIY power tools will soon blunt. 

What's nice about making your own outdoor dining table is that you can make it to the size that you need, and are not dictated by what is available as a ready-made alternative.

Expect to pay around R2500 for a large-size dining table, which is far less than you would pay for a ready-made outdoor table.

A slatted dining table and benches won't take up a lot of space in a small garden or courtyard, and you can slide the benches under the table when not in use.

A shady tree canopy is the perfect spot for this rustic dining table and collection of mis-matched chairs.

Choose a design  for your outdoor dining table that fits in with your style. A rustic table is obviously the easiest to work with, as it allows for flaws and mistakes. And you can dress a rustic table up or down to suit the occasion. 

Whatever outdoor dining table you decide to make, if it is designed to be sturdy and given plenty of TLC there's no reason why it shouldn't last a lifetime.