Making a Garden Path Bench and Folding Table

Reader Contribution by Nevin Hawlman
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This is the second post from our guest blogger, Nevin Hawlman. –Mother

Most gardeners or home owners have a favorite place where they enjoy sitting to delight in the view, or the antics of natures’ creatures. Mine is a path shaded by towering lilac bushes. I often found myself lingering there to enjoy the mountainous Pennsylvania view and to coax songbirds to eat from my hand.

Often when I went for a bird treat, I returned with a treat for me. Then I got the idea that the 5 gallon bucket should be replaced by a real table. But I didn’t welcome the idea of constantly cleaning bird tracks from the table. So the idea of my garden path folding table was born.

In an upcoming blog, we may provide plans for the garden tool shed in the background of the photo. But this week we’ll build the unobtrusive bench and folding table, which embrace and enhance the path of wood chips.

When the table is lifted up it provides a great place to relax with issues of Mother Earth News and your favorite hot or cold beverage. The white plastic pipe fits in a socket to hold up the table. The table can be leveled quickly by opposing wedges in the hinge mechanism (see diagram), should wind and weather change its position.

Our bench and table are 4 feet long, but you can easily change this to suit your preferences.


  • Your saw of choice
  • Drill with three-eights-inch drill bit
  • 1- or 1 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Adjustable wrench
  • ‘C’ clamps
  • Sander or sanding block
  • Post hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Level (4-foot)

Procedure: Lets make the bench first; then we have a place to rest and contemplate the table plans.

  • Crosscut two of the 2-by-4s to yield four 4-foot bench slats.
  • Cut two 15-inch spreaders from a third eight-foot 2-by-4.
  • Clamp a spreader 10 inches from the end of slat.
  • Center and drill a three-eighths-inch hole through both pieces.
  • Fasten them securely with a three-eighths-inch carriage bolt/washer/nut.
  • Clamp and drill the other spreader on the other end of the slat.
  • Repeat this procedure for the other three slats, being sure to keep the spreaders at right angles to the slats.
  • Sand the edges and top surface to avoid splinters.
  • Locate the chimney blocks parallel to each other, using the assembled spreaders to determine their distance between them. Make them plumb and level with their tops level with each other.

The Table is made the same as the bench, except only three slats are necessary.

  • The table arms are fastened to the spreaders with three screws each.
  • If the arms are cut somewhat shorter than the table height, the table will not hang to the ground.

A 1-inch or 1 1/8-inch pocket is drilled into the center of the Table bottom, to accommodate the plastic pipe. Drill it 1 inch deep. Instead of drilling this hole, a protruding screw would help keep the pipe in place, also.

  • The post is made of two 2-by-4s bolted together using two three-eighths-inch carriage bolts/washers/nuts.
  • Their length is determined by your soil type; sandy soil would require a longer post than clay soil would.
  • One 2-by-4 is kept lower than the other to hold the Spacer, which is bolted to the rear 2-by-4 with a three-eighths-inch carriage bolts/washers/nut. This bolt is the pivot if the optional leveling wedges are used.
  • Backfill the post assembly so it is plumb.
  • Drill the arms and spacer to accommodate the two lag bolts/washers, loose enough to allow the table to move up and down freely.
  • Center, drill and bolt the table spacer to the post.

Sand the table to remove potential splinters. Then get your favorite beverage and a copy of Mother Earth News, and give it the ultimate test. Blessings are many. Life is good.

If you have questions or comments, please post them below.

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