How to Build an Easy Garden Bench

A little effort and a few hardworking materials result in a sturdy yet
stunning bench well suited for the organic shapes of the garden.

easy-does-it garden bench

The straight lines of a modern bench make a great foil for a garden's many textures. Visual appeal aside, this simple seat creates a comfortable spot to contemplate the trees and flowers and other garden attractions. Made from the union of standard lumber and concrete paving stones, both readily available materials, this streamlined bench will stand solidly long after the flowers have faded. With this easy step-by-step guide, you'll have a sturdy bench in your garden for years to come!

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What You Need

  • Circular saw
  • Three 5-foot cedar 4 x 4s
  • Two 5-foot cedar 2 x 4s
  • Four 1-foot cedar 2 × 2s
  • Sandpaper
  • 7 x 10 1/2-inch paver stones, need 16
  • Drill
  • 3-inch decking screws
  • Teak oil finish
  • Shovel
  • Pea gravel, about 2 bags
  • Level
  • Two tubes landscape adhesive

Step 1: Cut Cedar

cut the cedar planks

Using a circular saw, cut the 4 x 4s and 2 x 4s so the ends line up. Angle the ends of the 2 x 2s if desired along the other cuts. After cutting, make sure to sand the ends and tops of the wood.

Step 2: Create Bracket

securing bracket with deck screws

Arrange the 4 x 4s and 2 x 4s in an alternating pattern with 1/2 inch of space between them. (Tip: Use a 1/2-inch-wide scrap of wood as a spacer.) To create a bracket for the base, set two pavers on the bottom of the bench, 10 inches from each edge, and place the 2 x 2s on either side of a paver. Remove the pavers and secure the 2 x 2s with deck screws. Apply teak oil to protect all wood surfaces and let dry.

Step 3: Dig Holes

dig holes for pea gravel

Dig two holes with a shovel about 21 inches apart. Make sure to use the bracketed spaces on the bottom of the bench as a guide. The holes should be 4 inches deep and slightly larger than a paver.

Step 4: Fill Hole with Pea Gravel

fill holes with pea gravel

Fill each hole with 3 inches of pea gravel and tamp down firmly. Place the paver on top of the pea gravel. This will give your bench support and prevent it sinking into the ground.

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Step 5: Level It Out

level the stacked pavers

After placing the paver on top of the gravel, level it to ground height. Repeat this step with the second side, checking to make sure they are both level. If they are not level, remove a paver to dig deeper, or add in some extra pea gravel.

Step 6: Stack Pavers and Place Bench

applying adhesive on pavers

Stack the pavers, using adhesive between layers, until you have eight on each side. Set the bench seat over the bases, fitting the brackets snugly on either side of the top paver. Secure the seat to the bases with landscaping adhesive.

Tip: If you buy your lumber at a large home improvement center, a staff person can cut the wood to the size you need.

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