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Garden Variety Outdoor Bench Plans

Enhance and enjoy your outdoor spaces with a simple yet sophisticated garden bench you can build yourself.

DIY outdoor bench plan

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • 1 quart Olympic solid color stain, Gibraltar gray, #20264
  • 1 quart Olympic Maximum toner, cedar naturaltone, #7316
  • 4d nails for slat spacers
  • Drill with 1/8" drill bit
  • Random-orbit sander with abrasive disks
  • Carpenter's square
  • Paintbrush and rags


  • 6" TimberLok screws, 50-pack
  • 21/4" stainless-steel bugle-head trim screws
  • Cedar, Douglas fir, or redwood for the legs; redwood, composite decking, or pressure treated for the slats

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


Make the Base

Step 1

From a 10' length of 4"×4" cut caps A and legs B to length using a miter saw (Cutting Diagram). Select the clearest material and cut between knots to get the best-looking stock.

Step 2

Secure caps to the legs using two 6" TimberLok screws at each joint. Note the fastener orientation of the screws at each joint (Bench) to keep from interfering with each other as you proceed.

Step 3

Measure the distance between the legs for the length of the stretchers C. Cut the stretchers and aprons D to length from the remaining 4"×4"s.

Good to Know

The wood used for this project can be left natural or you can apply a stain. If you choose to stain it, we suggest sanding the treated parts as you proceed using a random-orbit sander with 80- and 120-grit sandpaper. For cedar, a light sanding with 120-grit paper will do.

Step 4

step 1

Turn the ends upside down and use two 6" screws to secure the aprons in position so they extend past the leg frames by 3½". With the end frames upside down, drive the 6" screws through the aprons D into the caps A.

Step 5

step 2

With the aprons secured to the caps, roll the bench on its side and fit the stretchers between the legs. Secure the legs to the stretchers and aprons (Photo 2) using two 6" screws at each location. Rotate the bench on its side and drive the fasteners through the legs B into the stretcher C and apron D.

Step 6

step 3

To equally space the slats E on the aprons D, use a 4d nail between each slat (and the caps A).

Finish Up

Step 1

half bench

Cut 15 pieces of 1"×6" cedar for the seat slats E. Select the best 14 to install. (If you prefer, substitute treated boards or composite decking for the slats.)

Step 2

Before installing stainless-steel trim screws, drill a 1?8" pilot hole in the soft cedar (Photo 3). If you use treated or composite boards, countersink the holes.

Step 3

To apply a finish, remove the slats and apply the stain to the parts following the manufacturer's instructions. We used an opaque stain for the treated components and a toned stain for the cedar.

Step 4


When the finish has cured, reinstall the slats and place the bench in your garden to admire the view!


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