How to Build a Garden Bench

Add seating to your deck, patio, or garden with a DIY bench made from an old paneled door. Not only does this project boost seating, it has planters build right in for shrubs or other container-friendly plants.

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DIY Garden Bench


Created from salvage finds, this DIY project will make a smart addition to your outdoor spaces. Not only is the bench a place to perch, but it also has pretty planters built right in.

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What You'll Need


• Solid wood door with horizontal paneled sections

• Sawhorses or workbench

• Drill with a 3/4-inch spade bit

• Saber saw

• Pliers

• Wood glue

• Wood strips

• 1×3-inch wood boards for edging (we used poplar)

• 2-inch stainless-steel screws

• Sandpaper

• Exterior primer and paint

• Two planter boxes (select planters that can bear the weight of a person on the bench and are sized to fit inside the panel openings)

• Potting soil

• Two shrubs or other container-loving plants

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Step 1


Place the door on sawhorses or a workbench. Position the drill bit about 3/4 inch inside the edge of one of the door’s end panels. Drill a hole into the panel.

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Step 2


Insert the blade of the saber saw into the hole and cut out the panel. Be sure to hold the panel securely as you complete your cut to ensure the wood does not splinter.

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Step 3


Use pliers to remove any excess wood from the door.

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Step 4


To fill any gaps or visible channels in the door, use wood glue to adhere strips of wood cut to fit.

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Step 5


Insert wood strips into visible channels. If needed, pound in with a hammer. Repeat the preceding steps on the panel on the other end of the door.

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Step 6


To reinforce the door, cut 1×3-inch wood boards with the saber saw to the door’s measurements, allowing extra to butt at the corners. Screw the boards to the door and to each other. If you don’t want the screw holes to show, fill them with wood putty.

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Step 7


Sand the door and apply one coat of an exterior primer; let dry. Paint the entire piece with a high-quality exterior paint; let dry. Place the door so openings align with planters positioned underneath. Fill the planters with soil and shrubs. Enjoy your new bench!

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