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Garden Trug plans

Andy Standing makes an attractive wooden basket for the garden

Garden TrugHere's a simple project which takes very little timber and can probably be made from offcuts. As it's intended for outside use, try to find some good pieces of hardwood - I used oak. The suggested sizes can be easily altered to suit your needs. Why not make a range of sizes to suit all the members of the family? When gluing up, remember to use waterproof glue.


  1. Cut the sides to shapeMark out the sides and cut them to shape. To make sure that they're identical, fix them together with double-sided tape or clamps and plane the edges smooth.

  2. Drill the slats using a simple jigCut all the slats to length, then drill 4mm pilot holes for the screws. It's worth making a simple jig with two pieces of timber clamped to a drill press to hold the slats in place while the holes are bored.

  3. Fix the first slat in placeFix the first slat at one end of the flat section using brass screws which won't react with the tannic acid in the oak when it gets wet.

  4. Use a spacer block to achieve the correct spacing and a square to check alignmentFit the other slats using a square to ensure that they're accurately aligned. To make the spacing between the slats even, you can make up a pair of spacer blocks, though on such a small project it's just as easy to align them by eye. It'll help to keep the base rigid if a few of the slats are glued in place, though you don't need to glue them all.

  5. Space all thirteen slats evenlyIf you've spaced the slats correctly, there should be five across the base and four at each angled end.

  6. Shape the top of the handle supports on the disc sanderThe handle is made from two supports with a piece of 12mm dowel glued between them. Cut the pieces square and then mark the position of the hole for the dowel. Use a drill press if possible to make the hole. The top of each handle support can then be rounded over on a disc sander.

  7. Fix the handle with screws from the inside, using a clamp to hold it in placeFinally, the handle is fitted to the base with screws inserted from the inside of the base. Mark the position of the handle carefully to ensure that it's central and vertical, otherwise the trug won't balance properly when carried. Use a clamp to hold it in place while the screws are driven home.


You can simply leave the wood untreated and allow it to weather naturally, or there's a wide range of coloured finishes that are available for exterior use which can look attractive. Alternatively, a coating of Danish oil will give some protection. Avoid using any surface treatment such as paint because it will soon get chipped and flake off.

Cutting List

Item Quantity Description



470 x 75 x 15



250 x 30 x 8

Handle supports


290 x 40 x 15



270 x 12 dia. dowel