How to Make an English Garden Bench

Written by melanie raine
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How to Make an English Garden Bench
Time to relax. (The Bench image by lynnmohd2 from Fotolia.com)

English gardens are known for their rolling hills, expansive green lawns and beautiful flowers of infinite colours, textures and sizes. English gardens bring to mind a sense of peace, contentment and well-being. The English garden concept has spread around the world to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Some gardens are large, some are small, but every English garden includes a bench on which to sit and relax. Here's how you can make an English garden bench for yourself.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Bench materials according to pattern (wood, hardware, stain, varnish)
  • Power tools (saws, drills, sander, router)
  • Hand tools (clamps, square, paint brush, paint tray)
  • Miscellaneous supplies (safety glasses, sandpaper, tape measure, empty containers, glue)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Choose the pattern. The first step in making your own garden bench is to choose the pattern. The Internet offers many free patterns. You can also find patterns and practical advice at your local lumber yard.

    Several free patterns for various styles of benches are found on the Backyard Plans and the Shopsmith Hands-On websites (see References).

    How to Make an English Garden Bench
    Garden bench. (The Bench image by bonjo from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Buy supplies. After you have decided on the type of bench to make, buy the materials listed in the pattern. Your biggest decision is in the type of wood to use. An excellent article on choosing and caring for the best wood for your outdoor furniture project is included on the Plow and Hearth website (see Resources).

    Prepare your work area by gathering the necessary tools and miscellaneous supplies.

    How to Make an English Garden Bench
    Reuse wood when possible. (park bench image by david harding from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Make the bench. Follow the directions in the pattern for making your bench. Always measure each piece carefully, making sure the pieces fit together correctly as you cut each one. Patterns offer step-by-step instructions and usually include additional hints and tips for working with wood for a successful completion of the project.

    Sand each piece until smooth, and then assemble your bench. Smaller pieces are screwed or glued together, then attached to the larger pieces. Patterns provide the proper sequence for assembly.

    If you prefer a polished look to your bench, router the board edges before assembling the pieces together.

    How to Make an English Garden Bench
    Sand belt. (Schleifmaschine image by Volker Gerstenberg from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Finish the bench. After the bench is assembled, give it a final sanding, then apply a protective coating. Thompson's has great water seal products that come in clear or wood-tinted tones (see References).

    How to Make an English Garden Bench
    Varnished wood. (planches de bois image by Nath Photos from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • Tip 1: As you decide on a pattern for your bench, think about where it will be placed. Will it be exposed to the outdoor elements? Will it be protected from rain and snow? These decisions help in deciding the wood products to buy; some woods are more durable outdoors than others.
  • Tip 2: If your bench is intended for outdoor use and exposure to moisture, don't use carpenter's glue to hold the bench together. This glue dissolves when wet. A resorcinol glue should be used instead. This type of glue is part liquid and part powder and is intended for outdoor use.
  • Make sure you have proper ventilation when working with wood dust or varnishes.
  • Keep children and pets away from power tools.

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