With a summer wedding coming up on his property, Outdoors with the Morgans host, Mike Morgan is looking to add inexpensive outdoor seating to his backyard. Spring is a good time to take on outdoor living space improvement projects like a DIY garden bench build. In this video, Mike is not entirely sure how his bench will turn out, he bought enough lumber—$100 worth—for one bench. Watch the step-by-step assembly to see how the build turns out.
Project Tools and Materials
- (6) 8-foot pressure-treated 1x6s
- (1) 8-foot pressure-treated 2×6
- (5) 8-foot pressure-treated 2x4s
- (1) box of 2-inch wood screws
- (1) box of 3-inch wood screw
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
- Jig saw
- Impact driver
Garden Bench Build Steps
1) Seat Frame
- First, Mike builds the seat frame using 2x4s. Working with a basic rectangle shape, he cuts two 54-inch boards and four 20-inch boards. Two of the 20-inch boards will be used for middle supports.
- Mike fastens his seat frame together with 3-inch wood screws driven into pre-drilled holes to prevent any splitting, and an Irwin Quick Grip clamp to hold the interior short boards in place to facilitate easier fastening.
- With the frame complete, Mike then fastens three 54-inch-long 1×6 seat boards down—each positioned ¼ inch apart to create a one-inch front seat overhang. Again, he pre-drills his holes to prevent splitting, but uses 2-inch wood screws to fasten them.
2) Bench Back Support
- Mike begins building his garden bench back supports by angle cutting each of three 21 ⅜-inch-long 2x6s. This is accomplished by measuring 4 ½ inches up on one corner and 1 inch up on the other corner, then drawing a line between the two points. After one of the boards has been cut, he uses it as a template to cut the other two.
- Ideally, all three back supports would’ve fit snuggly inside the seat frame, but Mike’s measurements are about ⅛ inch off what he thought they’d be. This is to be expected when working with wood, though, since lumber doesn’t generally arrive from the sawmill perfectly identical. To remedy this, Mike simply trims ⅛ inch from each piece to achieve the fit he’s wanting.
- The instructions that Mike’s following recommend attaching the first 1×6 to the three supports before tapping into the seat frame. Thinking it’ll be a tight fit, he opts to attach the first 1×6 with the supports in. Mike will, however, wait until he’s attached the first board before also screwing the three supports into the seat frame using 2-inch wood screws. He leaves a ¼-inch gap between the three 1×6 boards to ensure the back slat’s flush with the top of the back supports.
3) Legs and Hand Rail
- Mike cuts four 23 ½-inch long 2x4s for handrails and legs that he’ll fasten to the bench using 3-inch wood screws.
4) Arm Rest
- Mike finishes his bench build by cutting two 25-inch-long 1x6s to serve as arm rests, rounding out the front-facing sides for a nice smooth finish.
Now that Mike has brought his gardening bench ideas to life, all that’s left to do is sand and stain it. Oh, and the small matter of giving his daughter away, obviously!