How To Make A Garden Bench Without Spending A Lot Of Money
Like many people I love to garden. And like many people, my responsibilities make it difficult to spend money on my garden when life demands I spend my hard earned money on other more important priorities. Because of this, I have over the years learned to design gardens without spending a fortune on plants and materials.
My methods will not work for everyone. You need imagination and a strong back, or at least access to someone with strong arms and a strong back. I always start by visualizing the garden I want to create in my mind. I know there are many elements I will change along the way, but I believe it is a good idea to see your garden then build it.
One of the elements for a nice garden is a good, strong wooden bench to sit upon. Perhaps you will need several. Because solid wood benches that will last many, many years are quite expensive, you may have thought you could not afford them. Let me show you how you can have benches that are beautiful, strong, and will last as long as you want to keep them, all of this, for very little money.
Please look at the accompanying photos on the right. These are benches I made for my garden this summer. Call any tree trimming company and ask them for two cut stomp pieces 20-26 inches high and at least one foot in diameter. Try to get oak or other hard woods. Most tree trimmers will not charge you for the stomps. They need not be the same height or width. They do need to be flat on the top.
Next, go to your local lumber yard and ask them for a 4-6 foot long x 16-18” wide, 2 inch thick piece of treated wood. They will charge about $20-40 depending on where you live and how long a piece you desire for your bench. Always try to find scraps as these are usually less expensive or sometimes free. In addition, buy or beg for a 2x4”, four foot long board that also has been treated.
Next on the list are 6 pcs., 3-4” long steel “L” brackets and enough 3” long brass wood screws to fill all the holes of the brackets and another 6-8 to screw in the 2x4 onto the bottom of the stomps. Last on the list is a 3” wide paint brush, some sandpaper as fine as the amount of time you want to spend sanding, enough stain to do two coats, and enough polyurethane to do two to three coats.
Your total cost will be $20-50 for the materials.( If you look, you can often find these wood pieces in the trash at lumber yards and stores). Thoroughly clean the stomps with a hose and let dry completely. Once dry, stain the stumps and again let dry, then repeat. Attach the 2x4 inch boards to the bottom of the stumps. They will jut out from the bottom. The 2x4 inch boards are lying perpendicular to the seat once assembled. Do not sand or stain.
You are now ready to attach the seat to the stumps. Put the good side of the 4-6 foot board face down on a clean surface. Place the stumps with the 2x4 inch boards on top and attach the stomps to the seat board with the “L” brackets. I put one bracket on each side and the other at the back. The stumps should be about 6” towards the center from the end of the board.
Now that you have your seat attached turn the bench upright and sand, stain and polyurethane to the desired quality. You will most likely have to do two coats of each.
When the bench is dry, dig a hole about 3” deep and a few inches longer than the 2x4 boards. Adjust your hole depth to take into consideration any variation in the level of the land and any difference in the height of the two stumps. Place bench in hole and cover the ground with the dirt you removed and tramp down the dirt. This will keep the bench from flipping forward or backward.
That is all there is to it. Enjoy your bench!
To View Other Articles I have written: Dirt To Dollars