A lawn bench built out of flat rocks adds rustic charm to any garden setting, and can be accomplished relatively easily in one day. Previous experience isn't necessary, although it is a good idea to research the types of stone you like and how to lay stone with mortar. Alternatively, stone walls have been built for centuries without mortar, and with careful selection of flat rocks, it is possible to built a bench simply using stone. This bench has two pillars of stacked flat rocks, and one large flat rock for the seat.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Work gloves
- Hand sledge
- Stone cutting saw (optional)
- Mixing stick
- Sling jack
Select a large rectangular flat rock to be the seat of the bench, as well as a half-dozen square shaped flat rocks or flagstones at least 1 inch thick for each pillar. The two pillars will hold up the bench seat.
If necessary, cut the stones to achieve a similar square shape for each. Trace lines of the same measurements onto each stone, and score them using a tracer and a hand sledge. Use the tracer and hand sledge to chip away the unneeded stone. Hold the tracer at an angle inward toward the stone so the stone is chipped away from the slab. If you find it difficult to chip away the rock, try a stone cutting saw.
Use a trowel to dig about an inch into the earth to create two bases for the pillars. Make them the same length apart as the total length of the large slab you will use as the bench seat. Pour sand into the holes.
Place your first two stones on top of the sand bases. Use a level and a ruler to ensure they are placed at the same height and are level. Mix mortar in a bucket, and layer mortar onto the top of each base using a trowel.
Lay your first pillar stones on top of the layer of mortar and check that they are level. Use the trowel to scrape away excess mortar that may seep from the edges of the stone. Layer more mortar on these stones and add another two slabs to the pillars. Continue this process until you reach the desired height of your garden bench.
Add a final layer of mortar to each pillar and lay the final, large slab of rock to complete your bench. Use a sling jack if the slab is too heavy to lift, or enlist the help of friends.
Tips and warnings
- Practice with the tracer and sledge hammer on a small rock or slab if you have never used one before.
- Select rocks that are fairly flat; although any inconsistencies can be levelled out using mortar to compensate for thinner areas of a flat rock.
- Rocks are inconsistently sized--check each after it is applied atop the mortar to ensure it is level. Add or take out mortar between the rocks until you achieve a level measurement.
- Use caution when lifting heavy rock; wear closed-toe boots and bend your knees. Use the laws of physics to find the fulcrum point and leverage the rock to lift it.
- If you use a stone saw, read the instruction manual and do a few practice runs before you attempt a final cut on your rock.
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