Help with new Coffee Table design plans

Just some college student trying to build a coffee table for my new apartment. Little previous experience in constructing furniture.


My real question is -- Is this design sound? -- I don't want to start drilling holes or fastening joints together if this will just fall apart.

Also, wood screws? Dowel & wood glue method? Nails? How do I prevent splitting of wood when drilling/screwing/nailing?

My plans for the surface of the table are:

The center square depicted in the first picture to hold a plant bed or bucket of sorts that I can fill with ice and beer, that can be re-covered.

The left in right (3/2' x 2') portions to be compartments which are covered in glass.
The top and bottom portions (1' x 8") to be some sort of stone or tile.

I know this is pretty Ambitious, but I plan to spend a very good amount of time, and very well expect to make multiple mistakes.

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