Bookworm: Handmade Garden Projects + BONUS Cocktail Table How-to!

Bookworm: Handmade Garden Projects + BONUS Cocktail Table How-to!

Lorene Edwards Forkner’s book Handmade Garden Projects is filled with  step-by-step instructions for over two dozen projects that will keep you busy for this growing season and beyond. Featherweight planters (made of peat and cement), vinyl wall flowers (made of LPs), a vintage-y outdoor chandelier (made of wire edging), a pergola (made of plumbing pipes) and much more, there’s something for every garden and every DIYer. You can snag it right now at Amazon for about $14.

 With the permission of Ms. Forkner’s publisher, Timber Press, we’re pleased as punch to share two original projects from Handmade Garden Projects. The first is this Gabion-Style Cocktail Table. 

created at: 04/23/2012

“It’s easy to create a swank surface for the evening cocktail hour—garden style—with a ring of wire fencing, a pile of rounded river rocks, and a repurposed glass top. My backyard lounge table, located where it gets afternoon shade and furnished with weathered but well-loved Adirondack chairs, is a wonderful place to sit back, relax, and toast the beauty of a summer sunset.

My table’s wire base is fashioned from a scrap of vintage hairpin fencing that I salvaged from an abandoned garden in my neighborhood. I love the extra detail and character of its crimped and scalloped edge, which is easily seen through the clear glass top. This sort of vintage fencing can often be picked up for a song at garage and tag sales, however any sort of heavy-duty metal fencing may be used and is available by the roll at most hardware stores.

If your garden does not produce an annual harvest of stone, source 10- to 12-inch river rocks at stone yards or landscape materials supply yards. Safety tempered glass is best for outdoor applications. You can purchase ready-made glass tabletops at import stores or custom order through hardware stores and glass suppliers; I found my glass top at a yard sale. I recommend starting with your glass top and adapting the size of your rock base to fit. Directions are for a 24-inch square glass tabletop with rounded corners that sits on a base approximately 20 inches in diameter.


  • Heavy-duty, metal hairpin fencing, 18 x 60 inches
  • 30 to 40 river rocks, 10- to 12-inch diameter
  • Tempered glass tabletop


  • Bolt cutters
  • Pliers 


1. Form wire cylinder. Trim wire fencing to an 18 x 60-inch rectangle. If you are using hairpin fencing the scalloped edge will be the top of the table supporting the piece of glass. The opposite border—the bottom—should be clipped to a finished edge. Connect the vertical sides of the frame to form a cylinder by clipping wires and wrapping them around the opposite side; crimp with pliers to secure.

 2. Position table. Set cylinder in place and fill the wire frame with river rocks. Place flat sides of stones so they sit flush to the walls of the wire frame. Arrange the top tier of stones to provide a level surface so your glass top rests securely on the wire rim of the frame.

 Come back tomorrow to see the second project: Homemade Fireflies!

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