DIY Outdoor Wood Bench

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Introduction: DIY Outdoor Wood Bench

About: Part MacGyver, part Martha, creator, host and producer of Engineer Your Space, an award winning DIY home design show dedicated to clever, affordable and stylish solutions for common challenges faced by rente...

With summer underway, I set out to transform my small 5 ft x 9 ft balcony into an intimate al fresco dining area able to seat 4 to 5 people. Having that many chairs on such a small balcony would have been cumbersome, so instead I decided to build simple wood benches to make a corner booth. I didn't want anything too complicated to build so I came up with a very simple design that only takes a couple of hours to make using basic tools and materials.

I'll walk you through how to make one of them and then you'll be able to customize the design to work with your outdoor space. You can also watch the video where I show how I made the benches (you can fast forward to 3:28 min)

Bench dimensions: 56" long x 16 1/4" wide x 17 3/4" high

Materials needed: 6 x 1" x 4" x 6 ft pine boards (~ $4.50 each), 1 x 2"x 3"x 6 ft stud (~$2.00), weather proofing stain or paint, decking screws (1 1/4", 2")

Weekend Projects Contest

Second Prize in the
Weekend Projects Contest

Step 1:

Cut the pine boards and stud to size (I had mine cut at the hardware store):

Cut list:

Frame (1"x4"): 2 x 55", 3 x 13 3/4"

Top (1"x4"): 4 x 56"

Legs (2"x3"): 4 x 17"

Step 2: Paint or Stain the Wood

I stained the wood using a semi-transparent weather proofing stain from BEHR (coffee color) and applied 2 coats. For a small project like this, an 8 oz sample is more than enough.

Step 3: Build Frame

Use corner clamps to hold the pieces together (adding wood glue before doing this will make the joints stronger but skipping the glue will allow you to easily disassemble the bench later). Drill two pilot holes and put in screws (use 1 1/4" screws). After the four sides are put together, add the middle piece for extra support.

Step 4: Attach Top

Place one of the top 1" x 4" on top of the frame so that it extends 1/2" past the edge of the frame at the ends and on the sides. Drill pilot holes and screw in place.

Screw in place the remaining pine boards, using a scrap piece of 1" x 4" as a spacer.

Step 5: Attach the Legs

Using clamps, secure one leg to the inside of one corner of the frame. Then drill pilot holes and screw in place (use 2" screws).

Step 6: Completed Corner Booth With DIY Wood Benches

Here is the finished project, after I added cushions and built privacy panels to complete my corner booth DIY outdoor dining area (you can see how I built the privacy panels in this video). I love how my DIY al fresco dining area turned out and it's been a wonderful place to enjoy warm summer evenings with friends and family.

4 People Made This Project!

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38 Comments

built these three other weekend, great instructions. I was able to make them in just under an hour each.

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1 reply

Your benches and balcony look amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing!

I can't wait to build these! Once it warms up a bit, that is. :p Question: what kind of drill do you have? I'm wondering how much drill I'll need for some fun basic projects, and if cordless would be powerful enough, too. This will be my first project! Very excited to use the table saw I got in the fall, too.

1 reply

I use a Dewalt cordless drill (DCD710) and I love it! It's light weight and has more than enough power for all the projects that I do. And the Lithium ion battery lasts a long time. Have fun with the project and I hope you'll share pics when it's done!

gorgeous! i need this for my balcony! btw, what do u think the weight limit on this would be? I come from a family of rather "heavy" gals... i don't want us all to fall over when I have girls night! haha :)

1 reply

Thanks! I'm not sure what the exact weight limit is but I've had 2 average sized adults sit on the benches without any problems. You could always add some more cross-bracing to the top of then bench and more screws to the legs to make the bench extra sturdy!

That is amazingly simple and beautiful. In fact I am going to get supplies for it now.

1 reply

Thank you! Hope you'll share pics of your benches!

I used 8 x 2" screws and 36 x 1 1/4" screws

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest!

1 reply

Thank you!!

Its not clear how those cushions are attached to the walls. But wow, the finished product is so great.

1 reply

I hand sewed 4 velcro straps to the back of the cushion and I simply wrapped the straps around the horizontal metal railing of the balcony to hang the cushion (there is no wood behind the cushion). Easy to put on and take off!