DIY Garden Bench Project
Perfect For Your Porch TooUse our DIY garden bench project as a guide to making your own outdoor garden bench. Mary and I constructed ours from cherry but you can use other woods as well.
We know you will enjoy making a garden bench whether for your yard, front porch, or home.
Finished DIY garden benchI made this cherry garden bench for a neighbor's daughter as a wedding gift.
No matter what type of wood you choose to use, the process is basically the same. You need a top and two legs. Most garden benches are between 16 and 20 inches tall; however, you can choose a different height if you wish.
Cherry bench seat and legI cut the legs from the same piece of cherry so our height was determined by that amount of wood I had on hand. Our seat is 44 inches long and the legs are 16 3/4 inches long. The seat's width is approximately 16 inches wide and the height of our bench is 17 inches.
To keep a natural look as feasible I did little to reshape the legs or seat (with one exception) from the original boards. Depending on the wood you choose, you may want (or need) to shape them to satisfy your own needs.
Watch Our DIY Garden Bench Video
Work the WoodOur cherry boards were warped (actually bowed) so the first thing was to square them out. I needed the bottom of the seat square in order to attach the legs securely.
See the gap under the square at end of boardIf they are not out-of-square too much, you may be able to sand them square. In our case it would have taken considerable effort to sand it square so I opted to use a portable planer.
Planing the board square
Squared cherry garden seatNext, I cut the ends (which were square from cutting the legs as shown below ) to give them a softer and more natural appeal.
Preparing to cut the endsSand the board smooth after planing. My first goal was to prepare the bottom of the seat for finishing coats of polyurethane. The seat would then be ready for me to attach the legs, complete the sanding, and then apply the poly.
Preparing Bench LegsAfter the bottom of the seat was prepped for the legs, I then began preparing the legs. I was able to cut the legs from the same board, something you should consider if building your own.
Cutting the parts from the same piece of wood allows you to carry the color and grain across the piece making for a more aesthetically pleasing bench.
I did minimum planing for the legs and used a belt sander to take the bulk of wood off to make them square. Depending on the type of DIY garden bench you want, you may want to keep them as natural as possible as I chose to do also.
Planing Bench Legs
Doweling the LegsYou have several options for attaching the legs to the seat. I used dowels and wood glue which work really well and minimizes screws, nails, or other materials to keep everything as natural as possible.
Doweling bench legsI inserted the dowels into the legs and used the legs to mark the dowel positions on the bottom of the seat.
I then used a vertical drill guide I made to drill the opposing dowel holes in the seat.
Drilling holes in seat for legsI assembled the legs and seat with wood glue and clamped until the glue dried. Note that I did not place the legs at 90 degrees to the seat as is typical.
Angling them gives the bench a more natural appeal and adds lots of interest to a DIY garden bench.
Clamping bench legs
Make the BraceThe next step is attaching a brace between the legs. It is a bit easier if your legs are 90 degrees to the seat; however, in this case they were not which makes it a little more challenging.
Cut your brace a little longer than the distance between the legs. Place your bench with the legs up and position your brace across the legs close to where you want them.
Mark them on each end to get the correct angle and cut accordingly. It is actually easier to fit the brace with angled legs. Just slide the brace into position; it doesn't have to be exact.
Fitting the leg braceThere are several ways to attach the brace. I opted to use pocket screws.
Pocket holes make it easy
Screw covered by dowel
Time for StainI used a natural clear stain to bring out the wood grain on this DIY garden bench. Depending on the wood you choose, you may want to select a different color.
Clear stain appliedI then used several coats of semi-gloss poly and sanded between coats. Mary and I loved the way it turned out; a beautiful DIY garden bench for the yard or your front porch.
Ready for the garden or your porch
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The Charm of a Wood Garden BenchAn outdoor wood garden bench is ideal in the garden, yard, or on your porch, patio, or deck.
In addition to providing additional seating, a garden bench can also be used for decorative purposes as well. Because garden benches can also bring back wonderful memories we show you how to make your own.
Garden benches come in a myriad of designs and can easily be integrated into your garden or with other furniture on your porch or deck. It is an ideal cozy resting place and a focal point no matter its location.
Weathered outdoor wood garden bench with memorial placardA DIY garden bench can be easy to make. We show you how to make a cute L-shaped porch bench below if you are so inclined; it helped to sell our home!
Wood Garden Bench ConsiderationsBefore selecting or making your own wooden garden bench, we recommend you consider the following:
Locate in a Pleasing Place
Peaceful setting for this wood bench
Popular Garden Wooden Bench Materials and StylesThere are several wood materials you can find for outdoor garden benches. We list those we believe will give you the best in durability and appeal and cover most budget considerations.
Garden bench allowed to weather
Beautiful cherry DIY garden bench on front porch
A nice shade spot for relaxing
Treated base posts for diy garden bench
Recycled barn wood for a garden bench
DIY Garden Bench Style Ideas with WoodStyle is very subjective, but as a general rule, benches with very straight lines, geometric in nature, and lacking intricate cuts would work well with more modern architecture.
Oh, the stories it could tell...Conversely, ornamental designs with intricate carvings fit well with both traditional and Victorian style homes.
Simple or classic designs are perfect for country style homes.
For larger formal gardens, a garden bench combined with a table makes for an ideal respite.
Consider an arbor over a bench in the gardens or backyard. You can soften the look by planting trailing foliage to spread over the arbor.
Another nice touch is to create a memorial bench. Placing a placard on the bench will remind family and friends of the love of the departed.
Benches are at home on porches too. Whether for sitting or for a place to hold packages while you unlock the door, garden benches can be quite enchanting on your front porch!
Free Tutorial for You to Make This Corner BenchHere's a corner bench I made for our porch and you can too! Click on the link below the picture and download the tutorial - our bench gift to you!
Make this corner bench with our free tutorial
Reuse MaterialsLike to recycle? Here are a few materials you can use to make wood garden benches.
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