"Cellar? What cellar? We don't have a cellar... Oh, you mean the new sand box! Here, let me get some shade too."
I'm not sure why, but I can never seem to follow plans exactly. I guess that's not entirely true. I CAN follow plans exactly, but I almost never do. Maybe it's some sort of passive rebellion or something, but I usually have to put my own spin on the things that I build. Sometimes it works out in my favor. Sometimes not. This build was a little of both.
I decided to only build one bench in our sand box. This cut down on a lot of supplies. By making it longer a single bench and making it longer, it covers about the same amount of square feet, just in a rectangle instead of a square. When pricing lumber, I noticed that 2x8's were cheaper than 1x8's. So I went with those instead. It can't hurt to beef up the sides a little, right? This required some easy calculations on the cut list. I also decided to use 1x6 fence planks instead of 1x4 whitewood or pine. The fence planks were cheap, and I figured they would look nice in the back yard. They are also naturally pest and rot resistant. They required extra sanding to take the rough off. However, this is one place that I'm thinking the modification didn't work in my favor. The fence planks are not as thick as the whitewood. This combined with the increased length makes the the top pieces feel pretty weak. I put a little support piece under the bench. I'm quite sure the bench would not have held up well without the support.
Because this is an outdoor piece, I dry fit everything, and then stained everything before assembling it, to make sure all of the edges were well protected.
Cost breakdown (not including canopy)
Fence planks $14