The warm summer weather always has a way of beckoning us out, to spend more time on our back patio space, enjoying the evenings as the sun goes down. The more time we spend outside, the more we realized the need for better functioning outdoor living spaces.
We had patio chairs, but lacked an accent table for resting citronella candles, and a refreshing drink while chatting the evenings away. While in search of small patio tables, we couldn’t find anything that got us excited at the big box stores, but loved the look of ceramic garden stools used as accent tables — so we decided to try our hands at making one of our own for use out on the back patio. We ended up using terra cotta planters which not only worked like a charm, but provided concealed storage as an added bonus.
Today we’re going to show you how to make one of these charming accent tables with built-in storage using garden planters and share one of our favorite tips for how to give new terra cotta pots a beautifully aged and weathered finish in a matter of minutes.
- Two 14” round terra cotta pots
- One 16” round terra cotta saucer
- Bristle brush
- Garden lime powder
- Spray bottle
- 150 grit sandpaper
If you already have large weathered planters to work with or prefer the look of fresh terra cotta, skip ahead to start stacking your accent table, otherwise we’ll begin this project by first giving the planters a nice aged finish.
There’s a secret to giving new terra cotta pots that worn look and feel of an aged patina. Simply mix 2 parts water with 1 part garden lime powder to create a paste and brush unevenly over the surface of planters (we used 1 cup lime powder to 2 cups water):
Spray generously with water in a spray bottle to create a “splotchier” look:
Once dry, sand remaining lime powder coating to desired aged-looking finish by applying more pressure in some areas than others:
Instantly, you’ve achieved the look of weathered planters — don’t worry, your secret is safe with us!
Now we’re ready to get stacking. Making this accent table is just that — a simple matter of strategic stacking. We opted to stack the two 14” round planters base to base in order to create an hourglass shape, you could just as easily stack them mouth to mouth for a more rounded shape overall. The weight of the planters will hold the stack together to keep from toppling over. As an extra precaution, you could adhere the two base pots together using an all purpose adhesive that works with ceramic, like gorilla glue.
Complete the table by topping the stacked planters with a 16” saucer. Using a saucer 2 inches wider in diameter provides a nice lid and solid surface for your accent table.
Arrange between two patio chairs to create an instant outdoor gathering space:
Decorate with your favorite citronella candle to offer a little ambiance while keeping the bugs at bay and enjoy your new alfresco seating area.
Need more than one? Vary up the stacking pattern to make multiple shapes and sizes for placement around your outdoor space. Outside of accent tables, use them as plant stands, garden stools or flip the saucer lid-side-up and fill with water or birdseed to make a birdbath or bird feeder.
When not in use, store all of your outdoor entertaining essentials like candles, matches and more inside the storage cavity of your new accent table:
Looking for more ideas to bring new life to your outdoor space? Check out these 11 decorative lighting ideas, see how we transformed a pallet into a decorative garden shelf and learn how to make fragrant votives using nothing more than citrus peels and olive oil.
Mary & Tim
Keep up with Mary and Tim’s adventures in DIY, home and gardening on their collaborative lifestyle blog, 17Apart. Find them on Instagram (@17Apart) and page through delicious recipes on Tim’s food blog, E.A.T.
Photo credits: Mary & Tim Vidra
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