Lush greenery and blossoms are setting a gorgeous scene in your garden. It’s great to breathe in the pleasant fragrance and relax in this beautiful landscape. And what could be better to do so by building your own garden bench? Though you could purchase it from the nearest IKEA store, a DIY project for your home or garden can be rewarding for both expert woodworkers or beginners. With a few simple supplies, tools, materials, and a perfect idea, you would create a perfect seating area in your outdoor space and enjoy nature. Keep reading my guide to learn more about how to build a garden bench.
Which type of wood to build your garden bench?
While there is a wide range of materials to make garden benches, nothing can beat natural wood in terms of beauty and warmth. For outdoor furniture, it is essential to select a weather-resistant and durable wood.
For those who concern about eco-friendly living and sustainability, acacia can be a good option. It is durable, dense, and can endure weather components. Cedar is another tough choice as it can withstand weather and resist rot and insects well. Also, this type of wood is lightweight, making it great when you plan to rearrange or move your garden bench. If you want a nice-looking surface, then opt for oak.
Required tools to prepare
To save your time and avoid frustration, prepare the following tools before starting the project:
- Drill and driver
- Tape measure
- Table saw
- Biscuit joiner
- Drill bit set
- Speed square
Step 1: Cut out the components
Start with examining the boards and measuring the cuts to make use of all knot-free parts. Rip the width of these boards with a table saw. Ideally, you should rip around 0.25 inch from the edge of each board before ripping it to the final width. This will ensure clean and crisp edges.
To work around the knots, you might need to rough-cut a few boards to rough length right before ripping. Once you have done this task, cut the components to the length. In this project, I use a 0.25-inch round-over router and bit to ease the edge of the seat boards.
Next, measure to mark the centre of the screw holes. Drill holes of 0.375 inches in depth for the 0.5-inch wood plugs. Make sure to create flat-bottom and clean holes.
Step 2: Cut biscuit slots
The next final step to prepare the component for assembly is to cut biscuit slots. Firstly, you need to mark the centre of the biscuit slot on masking tape. Cut slots in the leg’s narrow sides with facing-up plug recesses. Keep the leg and plate joiner tight to the bench top while cutting. To monitor the orientation and avoid marks on the surface, consider using tape.
Position the leg to ensure the cut slot faces up. Then, cut a slot at the opposite side of the plug holes. Place the slot with a spacer to ensure the long rail is on the middle of the leg once it is set up.
Next, you need to cut slots in rail ends by marking middle points of the long rails and curved seat rails on masking tape. Let the masking tape face down and place long rails. Cut biscuit slots with the guide of a speed square.
Step 3: Assemble with screws and biscuits
Start this step by joining the legs and rails with biscuits, which helps enhance the strength of your garden bench. Place a biscuit carefully in the slot, then dry-fit the rail and leg. Make sure that the rail is properly aligned. This part should be in the middle of the leg. After that, apply exterior glue on the biscuits and around the slots. Press the rail and leg together until the glue dries.
Complete assembling the leg by supporting the lower rails with a spacer. After that, drive and put screws to assemble the legs and the rails. Combine 2 intermediate rails with 2 long rails with glue and biscuits. Fasten them with a clamp in around 30 minutes until you see the glue sets.
Connect the seat assembly and leg assemblies together with biscuits. After that, clamp them and combine the braces and the legs with 2.5-inch deck screws. If you do not use self-drilling screws, then create pilot holes so that you won’t split the components.
Lastly, screw the seat slats. Start with attaching 2 outside slats. After that, centre the middle one and attach with screws. Place the remaining ones and make sure there is an even space between them, around 2 biscuits wide. Align slat ends with a board.
Step 4: Complete your garden bench
To complete, you should complete the screw holes with 0.5-inch flat-top birch plug. However, you would create your cedar plugs if you have a drill press. Just use a 0.5-inch plug cutter.
Next, finish your garden bench with a timber oil product. You can find a variety of options available in many home improvement stores. These penetrating oil finishes would leave the wood surfaces looking more natural. However, you have to reapply them on an annual basis. For a more permanent and glossier finish, consider applying a layer of spar varnish.
Lastly, you should hide screws by glueing flat-top wooden plus to the plug recesses. Pound these units flush with a small wooden block or a cutoff dowel. This will help improve the look of your garden bench.
The bottom line
Whether you are looking for seating for a garden, a patio, or a porch, an outdoor bench can be a classic and beautiful piece of furniture. With this guide, we hope everything will be simpler for you to create your own one.
This short clip will show you more ideas to build a beautiful garden bench for your living space: