a plank of wood with finish as part of a wood working project for outdoorsTransform your backyard into a tranquil retreat for rest and relaxation with outdoor woodworking projects. The right outdoor projects seamlessly blend nature, functionality and personal style to effortlessly elevate the look and feel of your backyard, creating a comfortable environment that’s ideal for spending time with friends and family. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced woodworking enthusiast, these DIY projects stoke your creativity while helping you breathe life into your outdoor oasis.

Planning Your Woodworking Project

Get a leg up on outdoor woodworking projects by carefully planning the materials you choose and the tools you need. Whether you’re making an easier project, such as an outdoor side table for your patio, or a more advanced build, like an Adirondack chair, careful planning helps you go from raw materials to a completed piece in no time. Let’s look at what goes into a successful project for your outdoor space.

Considerations Before Starting

When planning your outdoor projects, put safety first by equipping yourself with the proper protective gear before you begin. Wear safety glasses to prevent eye damage, use earplugs to reduce hearing risks when operating saws and woodworking equipment, and put on a dust mask to prevent respiratory issues from debris. Also, research best practices for safety and what precautions you should take during woodworking projects.

Look for durable woods when used in outdoor projects and sustainably source them. For instance, hardwoods like cedar, teak and redwood naturally resist decay, rot and insects for minimal maintenance and long-term endurance. Likewise, reclaimed wood and wood sourced from sustainably managed forests help reduce environmental impact and foster responsible forestry practices. This combination of resilience and eco-friendliness provides added peace of mind to your woodworking projects.

Lastly, consider the functionality of the design you select. Balancing aesthetics with usability means taking the specific needs of your outdoor space and personal preferences into account. For example, consider ergonomics to maximize the coziness of seating areas and enhance storage space by adding benches with lift-up seats to keep clutter contained. You can also incorporate decorative elements that add function to your yard, such as a garden arbor to help wrangle your roses.

Tools and Materials Needed

Beginners starting with outdoor projects need some essential tools, several of which are inexpensive. These include a:

  • Tape measure for accurate measurements and layouts
  • Hammer for driving nails and assembling joinery
  • Level for ensuring straight design elements
  • Sanding block or orbital sander for smooth surfaces
  • Power drill for creating holes and driving screws
  • Circular saw for making straight cuts in wood

More advanced projects may require some specialty tools. Some of the most commonly used ones for outdoor woodworking projects include:

  • Clamps for securing pieces during assembly and gluing
  • Chisel sets for fine-tuning joinery and removing excess materials
  • Pocket hole jigs for creating strong yet discreet joinery
  • Miter saw for cutting precision angles on framing and trim
  • Router for crafting decorative joinery, edges and details

Lastly, consider the finish if you’re building a picnic table, plant stand, garden arbor or chairs for outdoor spaces like your front porch, patio or backyard. Choosing eco-friendly options for your wood project helps minimize environmental impact while ensuring your safety during the finishing process.

Finishes such as our Pure Tung Oil works best thanks to an all-natural formulation that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This means the finish has a low odor, and you can even complete the process indoors in areas without much ventilation. Additionally, finishes like tung oil and Hemp Oil offer sustainable sourcing for added peace of mind when you want to protect outdoor woodworking projects for your backyard and the planet.

Outdoor Woodworking Project Ideas

outdoor furniture - tables and chairsOutdoor woodworking projects boost your creativity with ideas for every skill level. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been building woodworking projects for years, you can find something to craft that suits your abilities and jazzes up your outdoor space.

Simple Projects for Beginners

Starting with a simple outdoor project can build your confidence and help you learn new skills. Choose straightforward projects like these if you’re new to woodworking.


This classic woodworking project is a great choice for beginners since it involves very basic cutting and assembly skills. When completed, coat it with vibrant hues of Real Milk Paint to create a bright accent for your yard and a cozy shelter for birds.


Building a planter or plant stand is also an ideal outdoor project for beginners. It’s functional and aesthetically pleasing. You can craft beautiful containers to house your favorite plants using minimal tools and materials.

Intermediate Projects

Once you’ve conquered outdoor woodworking projects for beginners, challenge yourself with an intermediate project. These options offer more room for creativity and will help you expand your skills.

Outdoor Benches

Benches for your outdoor space require more fussiness when it comes to joinery and finishing techniques, but building them is within your grasp once you learn the basics. When completed, outdoor benches enhance your space by adding extra seating to your backyard, patio or garden.

Garden Pathway Markers

Guide friends and family through your garden easily with garden pathway markers as an intermediate woodworking project. Round the edges with a router to give your creations a polished look.

Advanced Projects

When you’ve mastered beginner and intermediate skills, you’re ready to try your hand at a more advanced project. Use these suggestions to showcase your craftsmanship and expertise in your outdoor space.


Building pergolas requires precision construction, including advanced joinery and rafter tail design work. Additionally, beam sizing and placement, as well as roof construction, provide ample challenges for advanced woodworking enthusiasts.

Garden Swing

Focus on joinery and pay attention to detail when you’re building a garden swing for your yard. Once completed, this advanced project lets you relax and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

Finishing Your Project

outdoor wooden cabinet projectProperly finishing your outdoor woodworking projects lets you customize their look to match your outdoor space and ensures they hold up well to inclement weather. Use these tips to showcase your skills in their best light while brightening up your patio, front porch, garden or yard.

Preparing the Surface

First, make sure your wood project’s surface is free from dust, debris, or any residues. If necessary, clean the surface of the wood well with Emerge Cleaner & Degreaser. This all-natural cleaner removes dust and debris from woodcuts, creating a smooth, even surface to add your chosen finish to.

Choosing the Right Finish

The right finish for your picnic table, Adirondack chair, garden arbor or trellis helps preserve hardwoods like cedar while adding custom touches to your outdoor space. For example, if you want vibrant color, choose shades of Real Milk Paint and mix them with our Outdoor Additive. Though this combination still requires finishing with an outdoor-safe finishing oil like Outdoor Defense Oil, it helps prevent tannins from leaching through the paint and improves resistance to mold and mildew when you deploy your DIY weekend projects outside.

If you want a more natural look, go with our Outdoor Defense Oil. Made from all-natural Pure Tung Oil, pine oil and zinc, this finishing oil has a safe formulation that makes it an excellent choice for use in your vegetable gardens. Completing your woodworking project with this finishing oil conveys excellent durability while maintaining the original look of the wood itself. If you want a darker look, Dark Half comes premixed with Dark Tung Oil plus Orange Oil Natural Citrus Solvent for easier absorbency and application, providing water-resistant protection to your piece.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your outdoor woodworking projects well keeps them fashionable and functional, preventing damage from moisture, rot and UV rays. Be sure to inspect them regularly for wear and damage, and clean them frequently to remove dirt, debris and organic matter that may get on them from your gardening endeavors. When you notice wear and tear, sand and refinish surfaces as needed with Pure Tung Oil or the finishing oil you originally used. If you live in an area with big temperature swings, seasonal maintenance that includes reapplication of finishing oils may be in order. Consider bringing portable projects indoors before inclement weather arrives or use furniture covers for bigger projects like a picnic table, Adirondack chair or other outdoor furniture.

Create Stunning Outdoor Woodworking Projects With Real Milk Paint Products

When you want to color and protect the gorgeous outdoor woodworking projects you create, the Real Milk Paint Co. comes to the rescue with a vast array of personalization and protective products. Use Real Milk Paint powder to customize the color of what you constructed, then protect the piece with our high-quality, all-natural finishing oils. No matter what you’re building, the Real Milk Paint Co. has options to keep your yard furniture and decorative elements looking their best in any season.