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How to build an Outdoor Bench seat

Updated on September 27, 2011

This is a bench seat and a storage box for any nick nack's you want to keep in the same area as your seat.

Please note - this seat is not totally waterproof.

This would be a great seat to put out by your children’s sand pit as it would also act as a toy box.

To find out how to make a sand pit click here

Okay to build an outdoor bench seat you will need the following -

Exterior wood glue, About 38mm screws, exterior varnish or an oil - this stops bora and depending on the stain you choose will make the bench look darker or lighter wood and bring out the grain in the wood making it look like it is store brought.

NOTE - choose screws that wont rust. Also choose a varnish or oil that will help your bench to be waterproof.


Two pieces of 1630 x 340 x 12mm exterior plywood. These are for the sides of your bench.

Two pieces of 500 x 340 x 12mm exterior plywood. This will make the two ends of your bench.

One piece of 1630 x 524 x 12mm exterior plywood. This is for the bottom of your bench.

One piece of 1635 x 530 x 12mm exterior plywood. This is for the Lid of your bench.

Six pieces of 31 x 31 x 340mm blocks.


Six pieces of 90 x 19 x 1668mm wood. This is for the sides.

Six pieces of 90 x 19 x 524mm wood. This is for the ends.

Ten pieces of 90 x 19 x 90mm wood. This is for the feet.


Two pieces of 90 x 19 x 530mm wood. This is for the end of your lid. So it doesn't fall off.

Two pieces of 90 x 19 x 1673mm wood. For the side of your lid. So it doesn't slide off.

Six pieces of 90 x 19 x 1800mm wood. This is for the top of your bench.


If you ask your hardware store nicely they will probably cut all these to the lengths you require which will save you heaps of time and effort.

How do you put it together?

Alright I'm going to put this in layman’s terms. It really is basically easy you need to attach a block at each end of your side plywood with glue and one in the centre for strength. You may wish to drill some holes top middle and bottom at this time. You will use these holes to attach the wood to your plywood and blocks once your box has been created and is ready to be made to look amazing. You may wish to place the holes in the side and middle blocks evenly so it is easier later on and looks good once you have finished. Do the same to the other side piece of plywood.

Next join the end pieces of your plywood with glue to the end blocks to create your box shape. Again you may wish to drill some holes at this time for your screws.

Now it's time to put the bottom onto your box. Glue your plywood to the four end blocks and two centre blocks. Again you may want to drill the holes for your screws. The feet will be screwed into these areas.

Sounds easy so far right? Now it becomes slightly trickier but still reasonably easy as it is time to start putting the wood onto the plywood and you will need to get the holes you drill in the same place as your already prepared ones so you may need to do some measuring. So three pieces of wood go on each side making the sides look more like the picture. This is when you need to drill the holes in your wood to match the holes you already have made. Once you have done this screw your wood onto the plywood and into the blocks. I would suggest doing the two ends and then the final side at this time as it will be easier to do it this way.

At this stage I the four pieces of wood for your lid surrounds onto the lid. Don’t forget to make your holes for your screws. Attach the wood to the roof of your box the same way you did the sides.

The last thing to do is to turn your box upside down and screw your feet onto the bottom of your box. You need to join two pieces of wood together to get the height to keep your box nicely off the ground.

Once everything is completed grab the oil or stain you have chosen and paint the outside of your box.

NOTE - You will want to put your lid onto a few blocks to paint it as you don’t want to paint it while it is on your seat. You don’t want to seal the lid to the box.

You will need to let your box sit and dry for about two days before adding a second coat. Again let the box dry for at least two days. Personally I would let it sit and dry for a week.

Take your box outside pop the lid on it and you have yourself a wonderful looking seat box which you can use to put things in as well as sitting on.

NOTE - Your box may not be completely waterproof however it should be pretty close to it.

You could choose to create your lid so the back of it is flush with your box and add a seating back to the design making your bench even more comfortable. I personally like it the way it looks but with some imagination you can change this up to suit your own needs or desires.

You could use this as seating for your fish pond if it suits the area.

To find out how to build a fish pond or water feature click here

What to do with an old Bench seat

Yep I’m not for throwing many things out so if you don’t have the space to create a pond in the ground or you can't because you’re renting and not allowed to then this could be a great answer to your problem.

Place thick polythene into it to make it watertight then fill it with water. Please place this where it will get nearly all day shade as because it isn't very large the water in it will heat up very quickly. Pop in a water lily and a grassy plant. Wait for a couple of days then pop in 4-5 goldfish. Don’t overpopulate the tub and remember to add a bit of fresh water every week.

You can also use a large pot or if you’re lucky enough to find one a wine barrel.

Another idea is to use it as a great place to grow mint.

Something different

You can always get a couple of concrete pillars. You will be able to find these as squares shapes or circles. Cover them with concrete then add some nice stones to it to make the legs for a bench seat. Or you could put bricks around your stone columns. Creating a different look. You could even put pretty bits of glass stones around it

Note - If you use stone columns you need to cover one side at a time and wait for each side to dry before doing the next side. Also you may want to put concrete in the centre of the column and then put part of a 6 inch threaded anchor bolt into the centre of it leaving enough sticking upwards to go through your slab of wood. Otherwise you could concrete the wood to the column.

You could simply create a baby seat out of bricks if you have lots of them lying around. Then concrete on a slab of wood or create the look in the picture by gluing and nailing little bits of wood between each plank. I would personally make the bench longer than this one pictured as I like to have space without feeling squashed next to someone. I would also make the legs a lot sturdier than those in the picture. You can achieve this by either using thicker blocks or by using one solid chunk of wood for each end.

Back to Nature

You could always create a bench or chair out of a tree trunk or tree stump.

I rather like the look of these though you need the right environment to put them into. You would also need to be very handy with a chainsaw.

I would use an electric sander on these. Yes I know I'm lazy however I still believe power tools would be the only way to get the best out of these designs.

Most eople that I know would instinctively wander over and want to sit in thesetree trunk seats. They tend to make us feel connected to Mother Nature and they truly are the most relaxing and centering place to sit.

So instead of having to dig out that tree stump after the tree fell down or had to be taken down due to disease or death, use it to make a seat and plant a replacement tree nearby. Once the replacement tree has grown for a few years it will shade you while you sit and enjoy your stump seat.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      well stevo it took me ages to find it this is the site

      and details,check out there great prices ,tell them martin netsims put you on

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Hi sassyabby1 ... thanks for your comments ... Give it a go as they are reasonably easy to put together especially if you get everything cut to size when you buy it like I do.All I really have to do is put the jigsaw together at the end so to speak then varnish it.

    • sassyabby1 profile image


      9 years ago from ATL

      I honestly have always wanted to build something like this! This is a great hub!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Sadly I'm not living in a appartment so I dont have the space to build these any more. I should have taken photos at the time I did this. Same with the pond creating as I have made a few ponds and different benches.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      9 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Storage benches can be very useful. If you have the opportunity, it would be good to photograph some of the incremental steps of producing it and include those photos in this hub.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Hi carcro thanks for stopping by. I have to admitt that my favs are the stump seats as well. There is something energising about sitting in one of them.

      At least I always feel more calm, centered and peaceful after spending time in one of these. (but I've been told Im weird and eccentric lol).

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      9 years ago from Winnipeg

      Great hub, I always like to learn how things are made, so I can build the myself. I really like the seat made from a tree stump, super duper! Thanks for sharing...

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you Ben for your kind words. I think it is more that I don't have that much spare money to pay for these things to be made for me so I need to do them myself with the lowest cost possible.

      I am glad you liked my how to it is reasonably easy to do especially if you get the wood cut to size free which I try to get done for me when I buy it.

    • profile image

      Ben McDonald 

      9 years ago

      I have just seen your creative sandpit making page and now this amazing seat, you must be very creative, adding something like this to any garden is amazing. and it looks so nice and natural. thank you for another great hub


    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you Wendy I agree with you ... The varnish or oil would help to both protect the seat from rain and mold but it may need either to have that repeated each year or a paint as you stated ... you could use house paint as well which is another idea ...I do personally like the look of natural wood.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      One of the main problem of building a wooden outdoor bench seat is the growth of molds and fungus due to the exposure of the sunlight and raining. I think constant painting of non-porous protective paint will protect the seat from acid rain and bacteria.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Im glad to know it will be put to such good use ...let me know how it goes please

    • dearabbysmom profile image


      9 years ago from Indiana

      This bench box looks like something I would like next to my garden...would be great to store seedling starter pots and the like. This may be a summer project for me, thank you!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Let me know what you think or if you built one of these design's using my hub as a starting point.


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