Summer is almost here, and with it comes the fun of outdoor entertaining. Move the whole party outside with this DIY backyard bar! To create ours, we repurposed an old potting bench and gave it a bright, cheery makeover. Put together your own, and you’ll be the host with the most this holiday weekend — and all summer long!

DIY backyard bar complete


  • Potting bench (we used one similar to this)
  • Wood crate (approximately 12.5″ deep x 18″ wide x 9.5″ tall — we used one similar to this)
  • Pencil
  • 10-quart cooler (we used this Rubbermaid version)
  • White spray paint (indoor/outdoor)
  • Power drill
  • Gold spray paint (for metal)
  • One 1/2″ 18″ pipe (available in the plumbing section)
  • Two 1’2″ elbows (available in the plumbing section)
  • Two 1/2″ flanges (available in the plumbing section)
  • Four storage hooks
  • Box of 1″ wood screws
  • Crown bottle opener (we used this version)
  • Door pull
  • One 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ redwood lattice
  • Six 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ raw wood lattice border

DIY backyard bar step 1

Step 1: Repurpose the potting bench’s soil tray by attaching a wood crate underneath the tray slot to house the cooler. First, position the crate on top of the potting bench’s tray slot so the tray is centered under it. Mark each corner of the crate with a pencil. Remove the soil tray and have someone hold the crate under the tray slot so it lines up with the pencil marks. Then, just inside where your corner marks are, drill guide holes into the wood (this will prevent cracking the wood). Attach the crate with wood screws in each corner. Finally, spray-paint the potting bench white.

DIY backyard bar step 2

Step 2: Attach the elbows to the flanges and connect the 18″ pipe in between to make the towel bar (top). Spray-paint the towel bar, hooks, bottle opener, and door pull gold. Let dry for at least an hour.

DIY backyard bar step 3

Step 3: Drill guide holes for the towel bar on the front of the bench as shown. 

DIY backyard bar step 4

Step 4: Next, partially screw in each of the towel bar screws to prevent the metal from shifting. Once the bar placement is correct, fully tighten each screw to attach.

DIY backyard bar step 5

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the door pull and bottle opener.

DIY backyard bar step 6

Step 6: Cut (or have the hardware store cut) your lattice and border to the desired size. (We measured the back of our bar and had our lattice cut 35″ wide and 48″ tall.) Secure the border to the lattice with 1” wood screws and paint all white. Once the lattice is dry, secure it to the back of the potting bench with 1” wood screws, being sure to drill guide holes first to prevent the wood from cracking. 

DIY backyard bar step 7

Step 7: Insert the cooler and fill with ice. Let the summer begin! 

DIY backyard bar tip

TIP: Keep two containers for ice when entertaining outdoors — one to keep bottles or cans cool and the other for mixing drinks. We used an ice-filled 45-quart cooler (such as this one from Rubbermaid) to keep bottled beverages chilled, leaving the 10-quart cooler to house ice specifically for mixing cocktails.  

Invite friends to your own summer soiree with this free Evite invitation, or another from our gallery of Evite invitations!


NEXT: Get more DIY or summer BBQ party ideas!