How to Build an Outdoor Garden Bench

Written by myra smith
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How to Build an Outdoor Garden Bench
Sit on your garden bench and enjoy the beauty of the garden. (spring garden image by Photoeyes from

Garden benches are an inviting place to sit and contemplate the beauty of your garden or enjoy the sounds of nature. A simple design that complements the surrounding flowers and foliage makes it an essential part of the garden. Place the garden bench in an area of your garden that allows you to enjoy a special view or breathe in the fragrance of your favourite flowers. The garden bench is beautiful alone or surrounded by lawn ornaments, perhaps your favourite garden gnomes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 2 5-foot-long 2-inch-by-4-inch boards
  • 1 wooden plank, 4 feet long, 4 inches thick, 14 inches wide
  • Nails
  • Stakes
  • Cement
  • 2 13-inch-square pieces of wire mesh
  • 2 18-inch-long pieces of rebar
  • Mortar
  • 4 half breeze blocks, 7 1/2 inches by 8 inches
  • Trowel
  • Concrete mastic
  • Cobblestones (or large pebbles)
  • 2 6-inch anchor bolts
  • 1 wooden dowel rod, matching the width of the anchor bolts
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • Socket wrench
  • Wood glue
  • Polyurethane or paint
  • Paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Clear the ground in the area where the bench will be located and level it with a shovel and rake. Drive two stakes into the ground to mark the ends of the bench, 4 feet apart.

  2. 2

    Build two 15-inch-square boxes using scrap 2-inch-by-4-inch lumber. Center the boxes against the stakes on the inside of the stakes. Score around the outer edges of the boxes, marking a line in the soil. Set the boxes aside and dig out the interior of the marked area to a depth of 4 inches. Set the boxes into the holes, checking that they are level. Drive stakes around the outer perimeter of the boxes to hold them in place.

  3. 3

    Mix quick-setting concrete according to the directions on the packaging. Pour the cement into the boxes filling them halfway. Cut a hole in the centre of two 13-inch-square pieces of wire mesh. Lay the wire mesh on top of the poured cement and fill the boxes to the top with cement. Cut two pieces of rebar to 18-inches, and bend one end to a 45-degree angle. Push the rebar into the centre of the cement in both boxes. Allow the cement to dry overnight and remove the boxes.

  4. 4

    Mix a small batch of mortar. Build two columns out of 7 1/2-inch-by-8-inch half breeze blocks. Lay the first breeze block on the ground with the hole facing upward. Spread mortar around the top of the first breeze block and press the second block into the mortar. Build the second column using two more half breeze blocks. Clean excess mortar from the joints leaving the exterior edges of the breeze block smooth and clean. Allow to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Coat the outer sides of the breeze block columns with concrete bonding mastic. Apply mortar to the column faces, one at a time. Apply concrete mastic to the backsides of the cobblestones and press into the mortar. Continue the process, working on one face of the breeze block at a time, until you cover all sides with the cobblestones. Allow the columns to dry overnight.

  6. 6

    Set the cobblestone-covered columns onto the concrete pads, with the rebar sticking into the centre holes. Fill the centre cavity of the breeze blocks with quick-setting cement. Push a 6-inch threaded anchor bolt into the centre of the new cement, leaving 3-inches of the bolt exposed above the top. Allow the cement to dry.

  7. 7

    Sand the wooden plank smooth. Drill holes in each end of the plank to match the threaded anchor bolts. Countersink the holes to a depth that will ensure the bolt nuts, and a small wooden "button" to cover the hole, will remain below the surface of the plank. Slide the plank onto the anchor bolts and secure with washers and nuts using a socket wrench. Cut a small section of dowel to make the button to cover the bolt holes. Glue the button into the hole. Apply several coats of exterior polyurethane or paint to the plank.

Tips and warnings

  • Place your bench in an area of the garden that receives shade during the hottest part of the day.

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