Introduction: Japanese-style Garden Bench From Reclaimed Wood

When I took down an old pool deck, I was left with tons of old scrap pressure treated wood. I love reusing old lumber, so after some thought, I made this "Japanese-style" garden bench. It only took a couple of hours and I really like taking a seat on it and watching the world go by.

Step 1: Materials/tools


Polyurethane glue

1 box 2.5" exterior wood screws

10-20 galvanized finish nails, 10d

Approximately 50' of 2x6 lumber. I used reclaimed pressure treated pine

Approximately 10' of 2x4 lumber

One bag of ready mix concrete (optional)

Small amount of crushed stone (optional)

Exterior stain (optional)


Skill saw or hand saw

Drill with driver head or screw driver



Tape measure


Router with round over bit (optional)

Post hole digger or shovel

Wheelbarrow or bucket to mix concrete

Paint brush or sprayer

Step 2: Cut List

Cut four (4) two by sixes (2x6) as shown above (seat section)

Cut six (6) two by sixes (2x6) as shown above (60") (legs)

Cut two (2) two by fours (2x4) as shown above (43") (crossrail)

***NOTE: Legs are 60" to accommodate being buried beneath the New England frost line (38")***

***Depending on where you live this may not be necessary, adjust as needed***

Step 3: Assembly, Step 1

Lay the first seat piece (the 2x6 cut with the angled edges) flat on the ground.

Use an extra 2x6 on the opposite side to level, then lay the first two legs in place.

Make sure they are square. Mark positions with a pencil.

Glue and screw into position.

Screw from the leg into the front piece so there are no screws visible.

Lay the first crossrail, again checking for squareness. Glue and screw as above.

Step 4: Assembly, Continued

Stack the next two legs, using the first two as a guide. Stack top seat section. Glue and screw. Continue with next layers. Use galvanized finish nails on the final seat and leg sections.

Step 5: Route the Outside Seat Sections (optional)

Round the outside edges of your bench with your router, if desired. You can do this before assembling, if you prefer.

Step 6: Get Digging

I dug below the frost line here in New England, which is why the legs are five feet long. I set my bench so the seat was 20" above the ground, leaving 40" to bury.

Tamp some crushed stone at the bottom of each hole. Level the bench.

Since I used ground contact 2x6's I don't expect problems for a long, long time.

HOWEVER, I also stuck the legs in concrete. Invariably, someone will post in the comments section that I should not have done that. It will make the legs deteriorate faster, but I expect a 20 year lifetime, minimum. We can argue about it in 20 years, I wanted the bench to feel very solid.

Notice the adult beverage, I omitted that from the materials list. :-)

Once you have the bench where you want it, mix the concrete and dump it in each hole. Let cure a couple of days, then cover remainder with soil.

Step 7: Stain and Enjoy!

Clean the bench thoroughly and allow to dry, then apply the stain of your choice. I used an old bucket of Ben Moore stain that you can no longer get, unfortunately. Great stuff, but it has been replaced due to high VOC.

I hope you like your bench and it gives you years of service!

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