Intro: Outdoor Built-in Bench for Our Deck
A wood working tutorial on how to build a corner built-in outdoor bench. This corner has always been a little bit of a “dead man’s land” tucked all the way back behind our home. I had considered a little seating area and even thought about building a tall pub table here but it didn’t feel like that was utilizing the space as well as it could be. A friend of mine has an outdoor bench running literally around her entire deck in place of a railing and the amount of seating offered is just amazing. However, we have way more deck then she does and certainly don’t need that much bench! But this corner spoke to me as being the perfect place for an L-shaped outdoor bench!
I built my smaller bench first by building a rectangle out of 2x4s and adding legs where they were needed. I didn’t see any reason to add legs to my benches where the deck already had posts so I kept that in mind as I was building. I went on to build the much longer bench (over 10 feet!) also with legs only where they were needed. Because of the distance I chose to cut my 8 foot 2x4s so the “seem” would land on one of the posts instead of requiring to add two legs in a weird spot. I flipped my benches “right-side-up” then attached them to each other before screwing them to the main posts.
Next I just needed to cut around eight million 24 inch boards for the seats… I set my miter saw up outside for this (thank you Joe for the awesome Xmas present of a miter saw stand on wheels!!) so I didn’t have to measure every board! Then I just stood there and cut and cut and cut. I used the deck as best I could for a saw horse but in the end it was kind of a pain in the butt because green treated wood is so heavy.
Step 1: Building the Back of the Bench
With the seat complete I moved on to the back of the bench. I wanted to create a little bit of a slant so I screwed a deck board all the way around the back of the bench pressed tight against the deck posts – with it laying down flat it was 5 1/2″ from the back of the bench to the front of the board. Then I duplicated that board where the top of the back rest would land, screwing it to the deck posts all the way around above the benches. Then it was just a case of putting another two million 24″ boards on, lining them up with the bottom seat boards. (Because the slant was not very severe I didn’t feel the need to miter any of them.) SO, pretty much I just stood there and cut 24″ boards for most of the day…
With the majority of the outdoor bench complete I just needed to figure out what I wanted to do in the corner. Using a scrap piece of wood I created a support across the top of the corner and across the base. This gave me a place to put one more board. I considered doing something a lot more complicated in the corner but I didn’t hate this both in looks and in functionality… UPDATE: it has become my favorite spot to sit and read actually!
Step 2: Finished Bench and Completion
I also went ahead and screwed all of the 2×4 legs down to the deck. The spool was a gift from Joe, he was so excited to be bringing me something home from a job site one day but he wouldn’t tell me what it was! And then he pulled in with that awesome spool in his truck bed – that man really does know how to make his wife happy With the bench complete this no-man’s land (that we had all but just given to our current raccoon visitor and the squirrels) has now become our favorite outdoor escape. Eventually we plan on covering the back bottom of the bench (on the outside of the deck) with lattice like we did along the bottom.
(I used green treated wood on this project which is made to be outdoors – it is more expensive then regular pine and considered very toxic. We live in northern MN and I know folks with cedar decks who watched them degrade within only 5 years of having put them in so, honestly, there was no choice but to use green treated wood on this project. Green treated anything requires up to a year to fully out gas and dry out which is why I built them in the late summer to give them the entire fall, winter and next spring to sit and do their thing.)