Far Out Flora

DIY Succulent Table


Matti's Succulent Table

Matti's Succulent Table

Mission DIY succulent table complete.  I’ve wanted to make this baby for months.  It’s a dissected old shipping crate and some other random scraps of wood lying around the house turned into a patio side table with a planting strip down the middle.

Old shipping crate deconstructed.

Old shipping crate deconstructed.

The next couple of pics show a bit of the process.  The was a shipping container for artwork which I nabbed from work before they tossed it into the dumpster.  Love the 3 Rs…reduce, reuse, recycle.  I like these shallow crates…this guy was about 20 x 28 x 5 inches.  Lots of screws on the opening end, but the other side had a ton of nails.  Nothing a make shift crowbar couldn’t handle (aka a big screw driver).

Center planting box layed out.

Center planting box layed out.

The outside walls were about the same shape as I wanted the table, and I started to build everything around that size.  Basically, I was making it up the design plans the whole time I was constructing this table.  In the middle, the lighter colored wood (scrap), is the place where I am going to plant the succulent garden strip.

Table tops getting set in.

Table tops getting set in.

Randomly walking around looking at gardens in the hood, I spotted a big pile of old scrap lumber.  I don’t know what these old scrap pieces of wood were used for originally…they were all in different lengths ranging 12-18 inches.  But I thought they would make a nice rustic look for the table top.  Score!  Great thing was they were all the same thickness.  I took the smallest one, and cut the rest down to match.  In case you missed it, look up on images, you can see that I fasten all these small boards for the table top from the bottom side with some thin piece of wood.

Fastening it together.

Fastening it together.

I really tried to screw everything in so that the screws were hidden from sight.  However, I figure the legs needed extra attention, aka 3 inch screws, they are visible.  Those red legs by the way are from our old picnic table that once lived in the middle of our yard.

Matti's test of strength.

Matti's test of strength.

…and it passes the Matti’s strength test.  Although, my buddy Jim pointed out that Max the Border Collie wasn’t so certain it would succeed.

Nearly finished.

Nearly finished.

DIY magic.  But wait, the fun part.  Planting in succulents.  We drilled a couple holes in the bottom, covered them with screen, and put a layer of pea gravel in the bottom for drainage.  Megan and I took a bunch of little succulent cuttings to plant.  We tried to stay with those that grow on the shorter side.  BTW, you can see more of the table and garden pics (that weekend) on our Flickr.

...and filled with succulents.

...and filled with succulents.

Yeah, another project to check off the list.  Before we get going, here’s another shipping container that I transformed.  Man, I swear I completed that project more recent than March 2010.  Seriously need to make these DIY projects more frequent.

Hey, you can stay up-to-date with us on Facebook, or place an ad on our blog.  We have super low intro pricing right now.

— Far Out Flora


  1. Good god you guys are amazing! I love the size of the wood pieces you used for the table top, and that you reused a bit of your old table as the legs. Nice work!

  2. Love the look of the scrap wood with the succulents. Nice job.

  3. LOVE IT!
    pretty sure it wouldn’t survive a wisconsin winter though, maybe indoors?

    • Hey Molly, yeah…I suspect that if I were back in WI…I would over engineer it to survive. It reminds me back to a project I did on Willy St where I retooled a dumpster find water bed framed and turned it into a plant stand. Matti

  4. This project = made of win.

  5. That is beautiful. I’d love a dining table like that :)

  6. OMG! love it! It’s beautiful!! I have to try this!

  7. Wow this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen! You are the man!

  8. I’d like to make a bigger one and maybe line the trough with pond liner to protect the wood. Very nice, I like it!

  9. Brilliant piece of DIY – looks better than “store bought”

  10. Great job. Looks like Max the helper might need his own little tool belt.

  11. great re-purpose!! i bet you could make something similar out of an old palette, too! very inspiring!!

  12. Holy cow. LOVE IT. Question: How long until the wood supporting the planter rots? I feel like negative Nancy, but I just gotta ask.

    • If I had to guess looking at stuff we’ve had sitting outside here in SF…I would say about 2-5 years..maybe longer. You could always go out and get some cedar or redwood (something a little more water / weather resistant), but for these experimental projects…scrap wood will last long enough. Matti

  13. This one is really really nice !!! I’m going to share it on my blog !
    By the way, thank you Matti for your comment last week about my vintage suitcase planter :)

  14. Totally brilliant. When does the Megan and Matti Outerlands Succulent Nursery and Garden Shop open??

  15. This is lovely, and a great project. I like the way you show it step-by-step. Those sempervivums won’t need much water, so it’s unlikely the wood will rot. There’s more of a concern that the roots of the plants will rot if they sit in water. But you know to water them very sparingly. I have some haworthias that have been in a nondraining container for several years—I just spit at them once a month or so, ha. I like the pebble topdressing, too. Especially since a table is a functional item, sometimes use for food, you don’t bare dirt showing.

    • You are correct, you gotta watch the water on some of these plants. I always say, people kill more plants from over watering than under watering.

      Hey, I think we didn’t mention in the post, but we also drilled five half inch drainage holes, covered them with screen, and poured a layer of pea size gravel in the bottom…so it should drain well during our winter rains.

  16. ok, this is a definite weekend project i’m planning on doing for/with my mom! thanks. r

  17. Sweet! Using re-purposed wood gives this such a great already-established look as well as being beautiful. Nice job!

  18. Easy, inexpensive, but very cool! My to-do list just got longer!

  19. This is great! Instead of a little mosaic bistro table in the backyard I may have to make one of these! Thank you!

  20. That is one cool table. I like the way you recycled it, and I stumbled it.~~Dee

  21. great jobs , keep it up friend and make new things ……

  22. Nicely done!

    My son and I did a similar project…we reused old scrap wood from various construction sites and some we had lying about and made a “redneck” deck. with some stain and paint it looks quite rustic and quaint…will post some photos.

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  24. fantastic table! great idea

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  26. Love love love this! So cool. I love succulents. I want to make one of these now!

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  32. This is great and when I first found it over on Pinterest, I thought it was bigger than this. My honey and I have wanted to make a small sushi table and this would be perfect. I pinned you over at http://pinterest.com/cheyannesexton/great-ideas-i-can-even-do/
    peace n abundance,

    • It’s a coffee sized table for our back yard which was made base on what we had available laying around the house. We are working on a table that will be shown at a test garden for a weekend celebration that is happening in about a month from now just south of here. We are excited to see how scaling up looks. Super cool about pinning it up. We stumble, but we have not done the pinerest yet. We’ll have to check that out. Matti

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  35. So going to do this. Love it!

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  41. Hi! Wow, I LOVE this table! I just got my *very first plant* – a succulent, and found your blog looking up ways to plant it! Is it okay If I blog one of your photos? I will of course link back to your site. If this is a problem let me know and I can remove it! Paisley http://www.paisleysmithblog.blogspot.com

  42. Hi there, I am not sure if I am posting this a second time (sorry if it is!) I just came across your blog looking for ways to plant my new Succulent (my first plant!) I was hoping it would be okay for me to use the first photo of your table on my blog. I will of course link back to your site and give credit! If it is a problem just let me know and I will take it down. If its okay, thanks so much! It’s beautiful. Best, Paisley

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  51. hey love the coffee table and the upscaled model too brilliant use of what other people would chuck out i am currently making a three foot high table with a mid way shelf all done from pallet wood and some scrap wood i got from a building site, any ideas how i can advertise my creations here in england wouldnt mind selling a few things as im running out of space lol great page hope to see more amazing creations

  52. This is awesome I actually just made one myself. I had left over cedar closet panels and used the for the top. It came out great. Awesome idea thanks for sharing!!!

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  56. while surfing the Internet we came across your great site our eyes are getting bigger by seeing this great table (my daughter and I) went into the garage and packed everything we needed ,it was so fun to make this table thank you for sharing this!!

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  59. I’ve seen a lot of diy tables but this is by far the most creative of the lot. Good post.. Good design!

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