When you add a timeless classic to your yard, you create a high degree of visual interest and enjoyment. And this leads to an outdoor space that can earn the title of ‘favorite’.
We are delighted to bring you this outdoor bench plan that will surely be a beautiful accent in your yard, not to mention all the use you will get from it. And you can save a bunch of money building it yourself. We spent just over $42 on the wood and bought 2 cans of exterior spray paint (one of us already had the primer). We have seen comparable benches in popular catalogues starting at $200 and way, way more than that.
If you can’t cut your own pieces of wood, take your cut list to the home improvement store when you go to buy your wood, and they will cut it for you per your instructions. Before you start building your bench, depending on how you intend to finish it, prime or stain all sides and ends of each piece of the cut wood using an exterior grade paint or stain. Also, when building your bench, be sure to use exterior grade screws.
4 – 4 x 4 cedar posts cut to 16 1/2″ lengths, for the legs. You can use treated posts, if you like.
4 – 2 x 6 cut to 60” lengths, for the seat
2 – 2 x 4 cut to 58” lengths, for the front and back rails of the frame
4 – 2 x 4 cut to 17 3/8” lengths, 2 for the side rails; and 2 for the joists of the frame
16 – 1 5/8” exterior grade wood screws, for the pocket holes to build the frame
16 – 3 1/2″ exterior grade wood screws, to attach legs to frame
24 – 2″ exterior grade wood screws, to attach the seat boards
8 – 3/8” wood plugs
Building the Bench
As a reminder, always check for square as you build.
Build the frame first, using the 58” length 2 x 4’s and all of the 17 3/8” length 2 x 4’s. Piece them all together to make sure they fit properly before fastening them together. We made all the connections using pocket holes with the 1 5/8” screws, two at each corner. Space the 2 x 4 joists as shown in Sketch 1. If you are not familiar with pocket holes, you can read about themhere . They are so easy to create and make very strong connections.
Next, clamp all four legs in position to the frame and check to make sure everything is level. Keeping it clamped, and using pilot holes, connect the legs to the corners of the frame using the 3 1/2″ screws driven from the outside of the 2 x 4 frame (2 screws on each side of the corner for a total of 4 screws per leg). Avoid the pocket hole screws in the corners of the frame.
Now it is ready for the seat. The bench seat will have a 1” overhang on all 4 sides of the bench. We used a 1/8” gap between the 2 x 6’s (using a gap will allow water to drain). Use pocket holes in the 2 x 4’s to connect the seat boards from underneath using 2” screws. See Photo A. Each 2 x 6 board needs to be connected to each 2 x 4 with two screws (total of 8 screws for each 2 x 6). This helps the boards resist cupping and bowing.
At the corners where the legs are, each end of the two outer 2 x 6’s was connected from the top of the seat using 2” screws, because the legs made this connection inaccessible from beneath. Since we did not want the screws visible from the top, we countersunk the 2” screws and used 3/8” wood plugs with wood glue to fill the countersink holes. See Photo B.
Finish the bench by painting or staining with exterior grade products.
A Perfect Bench for Outdoors and Indoors
This bench is generous in its proportions, and its classic design will fit right in with traditional house styles. It is wide enough for the kids to sit cross leg to play a board game, and roomy enough for comfortable conversation or for reclining and soaking up some sun. This bench would make a wonderful accent piece for an entry area or a mudroom, too!
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