Want to find out out how to build an outdoor bar to create the perfect drinks station for your garden parties? Then we've got the perfect step-by-step project for you to try.
Outdoor bar ideas are high on everyone's wishlists for the summer, and we can see why. After all, what could be better than having a wall-mounted garden bar as the focal point of your outdoor entertaining space? Fill it with stylish glasses, bar accessories and your favorite drinks so you can serve up delicious cocktails and drinks without having to go back inside the house every time one of your guests needs a top up.
If you're looking for an easy DIY weekend project to try, then learning how to build an outdoor bar is a great one to add to your list. With just a few pieces of timber and some exterior wood paint, you can easily recreate this stylish look in a few simple steps.
This garden bar even has a door that folds down to create a bar worktop, perfect for all that cocktail prep you'll soon be doing. With the door closed, your barware will be protected from the weather too, so there's no need to empty all the contents from it at the end of your garden get together.
Want to find out how to build an outdoor bar? Keep reading for details on how to create it.
How to build an outdoor bar
With thanks to Cuprinol (opens in new tab) for this step-by-step guide on how to build an outdoor bar.
You will need:
- Timber – planks of treated rough-sawn timber (150mm x 22mm, total 8.5m length) and rough-sawn batten to hold the timber together (47mm x 22mm, total 2m length).
- Wood paint in your favorite color - this project uses 5L Cuprinol Ducksback (opens in new tab), available from Amazon (opens in new tab)
- 2-inch paint brush (opens in new tab)
- 45mm wood screws (opens in new tab) (a box of 50 should do)
- Masking tape (opens in new tab)
- Hacksaw or bolt cutter
- Tape measure and pencil
- Hand Saw (opens in new tab)
- Electric drill (opens in new tab), with drill bits
- Small exterior hinges and screws
- Metal chain
- Hooks and eyes
Step 1: measure and cut the wood to size for your outdoor bar
Once you've bought some timber from your local DIY store (lengths detailed above), you'll need to cut it to size.
Treated, rough-sawn timber cutting lengths:
6 x 90cm lengths of 150mm x 22m
2 x 60cm lengths 150mm x 22mm
3 x 55.6cm length 150mm x 22mm
Rough-sawn batten cutting lengths:
3 x 55.6cm lengths of 47mm x 22mm
You'll need four of the 90cm lengths of 150mm x 22m treated rough-sawn planks for the door, and the other two 90cm lengths will be for the vertical sides of the box. The two lengths of 60cm are to go horizontally across the door to hold it together, while the three lengths of 55.6cm are for the top, bottom of the box, and middle shelf.
The first two lengths of batten are for the additional casing that will face outwards from the inside of the box, positioned at the top and bottom. They'll offer the box a bit of extra support, and make sure your bottles, glasses and shakers don't fall off the bottom shelf when the door's open. The final bit will be used as a bracket to fix the whole bar on the wall.
Once you've cut everything to size, you'll have a little bit of each leftover – perfect if you've got one of the best fire pits as you can use it as fuel when you're entertaining in the evenings.
Step 2: fix the pieces together to form a box
Arrange the four lengths of timber you're going to use for the box in a rectangle shape (make sure the top and bottom pieces sit in between the vertical sides, rather than on top of them) and screw them together at 90-degrees with 45mm exterior wood screws - use two or three at each corner.
Top tip: Create some narrow pilot holes in the wood with your drill, so the screws can find some grip on their way in, and preventing the likelihood of the wood splitting.
When you've completed the box shape, fix the third length of 55.6cm timber into the middle of the box, to become a midway shelf. Then fit and fix your two lengths of batten at the top and bottom of the box as above – again, they're in between the vertical sides of the box, just like the shelf.
Step 3: attach the door and hinges to your outdoor bar
For the door, lay four 90cm lengths of 150mm x 22mm side by side, then fix the two 60cm pieces horizontally across to hold everything together. Make sure they're flush with the head and base of the door, and use the same screws you used for the box. One screw per plank will do nicely, so four screws per horizontal plank.
Attach two hinges to the base of the box, line up with the door and fix. You should now have a big, sturdy box with a central shelf and a hinged door.
Step 4: paint your outdoor bar
We're at the painting stage of how to build an outdoor bar now so it's time to grab that paintbrush.
Put some masking tape over your hinges, and apply a coat of the best exterior wood paint to everything else. Use a sturdy 2in brush to get into all the nooks and crannies, painting in the same direction as the grain for the best finish. Allow to dry, then give it a second coat.
Step 5: attach fixings to hold the door in place
To make sure the door stays shut, screw eyes and hooks onto the exterior of the bar.
Top tip: choose exterior hooks and eyes so they don't go rusty in the rain.
Step 6: attach the chain to the door
We're at the final stages of how to build an outdoor bar as there's just the finishing touches to complete.
To keep the door open at a level, 90-degree angle, you'll need to add two supporting chains.
While waiting for your second coat of paint to dry, use bolt cutters to chop two lengths of chain to roughly 127cm each (the exact length will differ slightly depending on where you put the eyes and hooks so measure carefully before cutting). Finish by fixing your bar to securely to a wall.
Step 7: accessorize your finished outdoor bar
Now you've learned how to build an outdoor bar and the finished design is attached to the wall, it's time for the fun part! You can add some essential bar accessories such as glasses and cocktail shakers, and let's not forget about including your favorite drinks too.
With the door open, you've also got a handy prep space for mixing up cocktails at your next garden get together. Cheers!
Beth's first journalism job was working for Real Homes magazine more than 18 years ago. It cemented her love of all things homes- and garden-related and she's never looked back since. She's worked for and contributed to a number of leading magazines in the UK, including Ideal Home magazine, Period Living magazine, Grand Designs magazine and Good Homes magazine amongst others, before returning to Real Homes magazine as editor. Now the editor of Gardeningetc.com, Beth's attention is firmly outdoors, and she's constantly inspired by how people make use of their outdoor space.
Her own garden is a really important part of her family's home, and they were lucky enough to inherit a space with lots of lovely mature planting when they bought their 1930s property.
Since then, they've built several raised beds for a veg patch, increased the size of the flowerbeds to find room for yet more of her favourite David Austin roses and her husband's collection of hostas, created an outdoor living room complete with comfy sofas and festoon lights, and not forgetting the biggest challenge of all – trying to fit in the ever changing assortment of trampolines, climbing frames and outdoor toys that are inevitable when you have two young kids!
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