After you learn how and when to plant a garden, the next step is to learn how to build a garden bench! It only takes 5 easy steps to make a lovely wooden slat bench. And when you create a garden bench from scratch, it gives you the possibility to make something truly unique.
There is everything to love about a garden bench. When placed correctly, a garden bench can provide a resting place for passing bystanders, a comforting spot to sit and view the landscape, and a rustic appeal to a garden.
Garden benches come in all different shapes and sizes, but the best garden benches are the ones created by the gardener. Build your garden bench following these simple instructions and make as many changes as you want to make a garden bench that will match your garden perfectly.
How to Build a Garden Bench
If you feel as though not enough time is available in your schedule to complete this type of project, there is always the option to buy a garden bench.
Otherwise, continue to the instructions below.
Source for These Instructions
Jennifer Stimpson at This Old House gives a great tutorial on how to build an indispensable garden slat bench. These instructions are a standard method for building garden benches, and they have the advantage of allowing you to use recycled materials to make it.
5 Steps to Build a Garden Bench
(Illustration – Gregory Nemec)
Estimated time to complete this project: 4 hours
Use the image above to see the overall dimensions and a better visual of how the materials go together. This tutorial is very customizable, and most gardeners prefer to build from recycled pieces of wood; and so, numerous changes can happen.
But for these instructions, you should gather the following materials.
- About 17 Seat slats – dimensions: 1”x3”, length: 36”
- 2 Seat supports – dimensions: 2”x6”, length: 24”, with a curved edge as shown in Figure 1
- 3 Cross braces – dimensions: 1”x3”, length: 25”
- 2 Back supports – dimensions: 2”x4”, length: 30”
- 2 Spacers – dimensions: 1”x3”, length: 15”, one straight edge and one angled 15-degree miter cut (see Figure 1)
- Use 2”x4” lumber to make bench legs at the desired height
- (x46) 1 5/8 screws – OR 12 screws plus the number of slats times 2. For 17 slats, that would be 46 screws, 48 screws for 18 slats, 50 screws for 19 slats, or 52 screws for 20 slats.
- (x8) 3/8-inch carriage bolts
- Circular saw
- Electric hand drill
Step One – Gather Materials
Gather all materials before putting anything together.
Put the screws and bolts in reachable containers and cut the wood accordingly.
You should keep the lumber dimensions unchanged but cut the curve of the seat supports in whatever shape seems the most comfortable. You also have the option to leave the seat flat, without a curve. Remember to leave at least two inches at the shallowest part of the curve.
Step Two – Plan
Determine the height of the garden bench. Do you want a smaller bench for design purposes, or a more functional, taller garden bench? Cut the bench legs to the desired height according to what you want.
Step Three – Assemble Base
Assemble the base of the garden bench. The seat slats will attach in the very last assembly step.
Use 1 5/8 screws to attach the back supports to the inside of the seat supports (Fig. 2).
Then, take the bench legs you made and use two carriage bolts on each end to connect the legs to the seat supports (Fig. 3).
Now, attach the two spacers between each front leg and angled back support with 1 5/8-inch screw. Screw the long 1×3-inch cross braces to the very outer edges on the front and back (Figure 4).
If this part of garden bench construction is too complicated to understand, take a look at the original instructions.
Otherwise, use the image of the garden bench. Visuals can help you grasp just how all the pieces are supposed to go together, so use them to your advantage.
Step Four – Attach the Slats
To attach the wooden slats that lay over the base structure, screw them directly into all points of contact. The slats, if cut correctly, should overlap the base by 4 inches on each end.
Make sure the first slat you lay horizontally on the base is perfectly parallel to the ground.
The level of this first slat will determine all the other slats. Leave about 1-inch gaps in-between the slats or whatever size gap you think is appropriate.
Step Five – Finishing Touches
Once finished, the garden bench should look something like this.
Double-check the bench by sliding your hand over each slat to see if there are any protruding screws. Tighten screws when necessary.
Now, you can add decorative touches. Some people prefer raw wood, but you can also stain or paint the surface. Remember to use weather-resistant paint and protective enamel to prevent paint chipping.
Other Backyard Landscaping Ideas
A garden bench is just one of the many elements you can include in a garden landscape.
Unfortunately, many landscaping ideas get to be a little pricey, and people often halt construction halfway through because of the cost.
There is no need for this. The garden may take longer to complete by using DIY methods, but it saves an incredible amount of money in the long run.
Check out these 20 Amazing Backyard Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank.
Garden Bench Summary
This slatted garden bench is simple-looking and not too complicated to make. Most beginners should have little to no trouble with building it.
More complicated DIY garden bench tutorials are available online, but sometimes less is more. It all depends on what looks best with your landscape.
Try placing this garden bench near shrubbery or to the side of a stone walking path.