Outdoor Furniture Inspired by Nature

Let the great outdoors inspire you to construct this table and benches made with poles – perfect for tranquil lunches in the garden. The rugged lines of this table and benches blend seamlessly with the natural environment and set the stage for relaxed outdoor dining – always lots of fun and sure to draw smiles all around. The design and construction process is simple – for a splash of color add a few comfortable cushions. 

Project notes 

Constructing furniture from these poles is complicated by the fact that the poles aren’t entirely straight and taper toward the end. This means you will have to carefully select the straightest poles and alternate them so the outer edges (of the tabletop or bench seats) run roughly parallel to each other. 

We used more uprights for our table legs to achieve a certain ‘look’ and to have a footrest for our table – but it is probably easier to apply the same construction method to the table as that which is used for the benches. The ends of our tabletop have been ‘feathered’ by alternating shorter and longer lengths. This won’t be necessary if you intend to construct the table in the same manner as the benches. 

The steps and measurements outlined here are intended as a guide. Bluegum poles may vary in thickness from one supplier to the next and the project will, therefore, require a degree of interpretation or adaptation according to the available materials

Shopping list 

  • 60 x 3400mm bluegum poles and chose the straightest ones. For the table – fourteen 720mm (uprights/legs), eight 2200mm (long for tabletop), seven 1800mm (short for tabletop), six 2200mm (long supports and diagonals), sixteen 40mm sections (spacers). 
  • Twelve 1500mm (long for seat), eight 450mm (legs), four 400mm (crossbars), two ±350mm (braces), four 750mm (diagonals).
  •  Other items ± forty 8mm dome nuts, ± forty 8mm washers, ± twelve 60mm cut screws, six 1000mm x 8mm thread rod.
  • Cuprinol shades 
  • Outdoor furniture paint 
  • Pencil 
  • Measuring tape 
  • Cordless drill and 10mm drill bit handsaw hacksaw metal file 
  • 8mm spanner hammer or rubber mallet paintbrush or Cuprinol Deck Sprayer 

Process

The rugged lines of this table and benches blend seamlessly with the natural environment and set the stage for relaxed outdoor dining – always lots of fun and sure to draw smiles all around. The design and construction process is simple – for a splash of color add a few comfortable cushions. 

Cuprinol Garden Shades is a water-based outdoor paint available in 16 shades – we used Pale Jasmine to finish our table and benches. The paint can be applied by brush or with the Cuprinol Deck Sprayer; in this case, spraying was the easiest way to get paint in between the poles. This paint will protect all types of planned or treated garden wood and is also ideal for pots, decking, trellis, and fencing. 

Constructing the table 

  1. Lay the seven 1800mm lengths, centered between the eight 2200mm lengths, leaving 200mm at each end. Measure 300mm from the ends of the 2200m lengths (100mm from the ends of the 1800mm lengths). This will be the position of the threaded rod. Draw a line across the poles at this point. 
  1. Use the cordless drill and 10mm drill bit to drill through each pole using this line as a reference. Thread the rod through each consecutive hole as you work. Use the hammer or rubber mallet to tap the rod. 
  1. Leaving about 10mm of the thread sticking out at the other end, cut the threaded rod using the hacksaw. 
  1. Construct the first upright section of the table by positioning 8 x 40mm spacers and 4 x 2200mm long supports between seven of the 720mm uprights in the order shown here. This will ensure that the ‘feathered’ edges of the tabletop rest securely between the uprights. 
  1. Now fold the supports so that the other end can be constructed in the same manner. Make the structure sturdy by tightening the nuts at each end of the thread rod sections, using the spanner. 
  1. Ensure that the ends are upright before adding the two 2200mm diagonal sections. These will add lateral support to the table structure. Fix these in place to the supports using the 60mm cut screws. 

Ensure that the leg framework is upright before fixing the two diagonal sections in place. these will add lateral support to the bench structure. 

Tip 1: Place a washer and dome nut onto the end of the threaded rod before hitting it with a hammer, as this will damage the thread.

Tip 2: Orientate or rotate the poles so that the best possible ‘surface’ is obtained for your tabletop. When drilling the holes keep the orientation of each pole in mind as you work. 

Tip 3: Use a metal file to remove any burs and to create a slightly rounded end, so you will be able to easily thread the nut.