8 Ways to use a Tree Stump

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When a tree is lost due to a storm, landscaping or disease, homeowners are frequently left with an unsightly stump. Don’t dismay, there are lots of opportunities to turn that tree stump into something useful for the outdoors or inside the home.

Tree stump side tables for the living room

Cut and sand a tree stump into a side table. After sanding it down, stain the stump to match your current furniture color. Finish it off with a coat of polyurethane to seal, and your stump table is ready to use. Check out the full instructions here.

Yard planter

If all that is left of the tree is a short stump of 12 to 18-inches, all is not lost. Hollow out the center portion of the stump and use it for a planter. Plant vertical growing plants and other plants that will cascade down to the lawn for a more interesting planter. Otherwise, colorful flowers or herbs look great!

Outdoor dining table

Like the side table, stumps can be turned into usable outdoor dining tables. Be sure to seal them against weather, just as you would a deck.

Stepping stones

Cut slabs from the tree stump to 2-inches thick. These can make great looking stepping-stones or a pathway through the garden. The path will be more interesting with stepping-stones of various diameters. Fill the spaces between the slabs with pea gravel, sand or plant with creeping thyme.


Use the stump in your yard as the base for a teeter totter. It won’t take long to make, and you’ll only need a few supplies from the hardware store. Check out the full instructions here.

Outdoors seating

Turning a tree stump into outdoors seating is another fun project for the yard. Most chairs are 18-inches high. Layout where the seat will be with a carpenter’s pencil or black marker. Large tree stump can accommodate several seats spaced around the circumference of the stump. Once the major lines are marked, cut out the major shapes with a chain saw. Finish the chair by sanding with a heavy-duty sander.

Table lamp from log or stump

Smaller lengths of stumps, logs or limbs can make a unique table lamp for the living room or den. Cut the length to 16-inches and remove the bark. Stain, or seal the wood as desired with several coats of polyurethane sealer. Drill a hole through the length of the log with a bell installer’s bit. These are available in 5/16, 3/8 and ½-inch sizes that are 18-inches long. Install a threaded lamp pipe in the hole and attach the lamp socket, lampshade holder and bushings to hold everything in place. Add the electrical wire and the lamp is done.

Last Updated: February 26, 2013
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About Bill Washburn William "Bill" Washburn has a BA in advertising from the Art Center College of Design and has taught at the University of Southern California and Northrup University. Writing from a well-connected studio in the rural foothills of the west coast, he is a frequent speaker at local art associations and has published numerous articles discussing periods of art history and the fundamentals of drawing and painting. William is a master gardener who grows his own culinary herbs, organic heirloom vegetables and a variety of fruits. He writes frequently about his gardening experiences on his website Pioneer Dad. He is an accomplished advertising writer, fine art painter, and art director with more than 20 years' experience. 

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