Garden Bench

Submitted by Lady Goats on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 18:51
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This is a great, deep bench to lounge on outside. I built it to the measurements of my love seat. If you're going to paint, it's easier to paint this before assembling.

40" H, 50" W, 27" D


Shopping List

7 - 2x3x8

1 - 2x4x8
1 - 2x6x8
2 - 2x2x8 
Common Materials
2 inch screws
3 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List
4 - 2x2 @ 21'' (seat supports)
1 - 2x2 @ "about" 29 1/2'' - measure YOURS before cutting

8 - 2x3 @ 47'' (7 seat slats and 1 bottom support beam)

4 - 2x3 @ 19'' (2 side aprons and 2 bottom leg supports)
2 - 2x3 @ 27'' (arm rests)
2 - 2x3 @ 40'' (Back Legs)
2 - 2x3 @ 30'' (front legs)
2 - 2x4 @ 47'' (front and back apron)
2 - 2x6 @ 47'' (back beams)
Cutting Instructions

Most cuts are self explanatory, but note that a seat support beam needs to be "worked with".

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Attach supports to front and back aprons, half an inch from the bottom. The two middle supports should be 21'' apart. I didn't measure the other two, but you could put them at the ends. That would probably have been the smartest thing for me to do.
I forgot to measure a half inch up in the diagram above, but the 2x2s need to be half an inch up. I used a 1/2'' square dowel to support it as I drilled in from the front and back apron.

Step 2

Measure the diagonal of YOUR bench and cut the diagonal support beam to fit. Parallel 45 degree angles would have been easier, but I did two 45 angles at each end to fit into the corner.

Step 3

Attach the seat slats from the bottom with 2 inch screws. Space approx 3/4'' apart and then eyeball their spacing from there.

Step 4

I repeated the first part of this step - oops! The aprons are already there, so ignore that part and just attach the legs. Measure 20'' from the bottom of each leg and that is where the top of the seat should go. Use three 2'' screws per leg (two into the seat and one into the apron)

Step 5

Step 6

Attach bottom leg supports by pre-drilling through the front of each leg. Measure 10'' from the bottom, and the top of the beam should sit there.
Use two 3'' screws per leg.

Step 7

Screw the bottom beam to leg supports using 2'' screws. Use 2 screws per side (grab a stray kid to help)

Step 8

Notch out the arm rests as shown above. This should be to the exact dimensions of your 2x3, so measure your board first. Mine happened to fit perfectly into the dimensions shown.
Pre-drill through the side and screw into the back leg using two 2'' screws. Screw from the top into the front leg (2 screws).

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Project Type


Rob (not verified)

Thu, 04/21/2011 - 10:46

Hi Gina,
I am interested it doing this as my second-ever wood project (first was dog house).  I love that it is relatively inexpensive to make.  I am wondering what kind of wood to use?  I assume pressure treated wood is needed?  Not sure if the big box home stores carry all of these sizes?

In reply to by Rob (not verified)

Lady Goats

Thu, 04/21/2011 - 13:35

Rob, I just used fir and pine (studs and furring strips). For protection, you can use 1 part linseed oil and 1 part paint thinner (if you plan to leave natural) or use an exterior paint (provides better UV protection). It's easier to do these before assembling. HTH!

In reply to by Rob (not verified)


Thu, 04/21/2011 - 14:19

After I sealed my deck, I had a lot of deck sealer left over, so both my dad and I have used it to seal all of our outdoor furniture. That way it matches our deck, and it's well protected.

If you don't use exterior grade fasteners, it's a good idea to give it a coat of sealer after assembly as well, to protect the fasteners from rust.  But really, better to use exterior grade (or deck grade) fasteners.


Wed, 04/27/2011 - 20:14

We have a pretty large yard and I'm dying to make little "reading nooks" and spots to sit and pretend all over the place. LOVE LOVE LOVE this bench! So excited to make it! I think it would make a perfect reading spot. :)

Rob (not verified)

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 09:13

Finally bought the wood, just waiting to have some time to put it together.
How did you do the rounded corners on the arm rests? How about the shape of the top back board?
Thanks again,


Mon, 06/06/2011 - 11:09

I don't know how Ms. Goats did it, but a common trick for rounded corners is to use a quarter as a template. You can cut it with a jig saw, although it might be easier to pull off with a rasp. They're cheap and they are a basic tool for anything with curved shapes. You'd also need a wood file (very different from one designed for metal) to clean up the surface. I just picked them up at Lowes for under $10 each, because I have a few rounded corners to put on furniture in the next month or two.

Tim March (not verified)

Sat, 06/11/2011 - 16:04

Maybe I'm missing something here but the materials list calls for 5 - 2"x3"x8' which doesn't seem to be enough...short by over 16 ft?? By my calculations you will need another 194" of 2"x3" so you could get by with another 8 footer plus a 10 footer or some combination to get you there....anyone else find this or am I looking at the plans wrong....Tim


Fri, 06/17/2011 - 21:48

I calculated it just now and it does look like you need 7-2X3X8s. Alecia

Lady Goats

Mon, 06/27/2011 - 12:38

You are absolutely correct - I hadn't accounted for the legs when I had done the shopping list (mentioned in an earlier comment). When I fixed the cut list, I totally forgot to add to the shopping list. I'm so sorry (I have a few extra 2x3s in my garage, if you wannem! ;-)).

The rounded corners were done with 80-grit sandpaper. I used my random orbital sander and went in a continuous motion to round them out. The only "trick" to this is making sure that you don't spend more time on one area than the others, and it'll come put perfect (at least it has for me, every time). Took about 3 minutes per curve (much better than jigging them and then sanding afterward!)

The shape in the back was done with a jig saw. I just measured the middle and an equal spot on both sides and took my level from point to point. Drew it on with a pencil and went to work (that was the worst part of the whole thing!).

(I'm editing the shopping list now - sorry!)


Mon, 06/27/2011 - 15:00

An alternative for curves like that is to use a rasp and a wood file. Lowes and Home Depot sell a combo rasp and file for under $7. Rasps cut these kind of curves really fast, and can even do inside curves. One of the first tools I learned how to use as a kid.