How to make a wooden D.I.Y. garden bench

Gary, Team member
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How to make a wooden DIY garden bench

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Project Overview

Hard-wearing with a great natural timber look, this garden bench made from hardwood decking is easy to make and the perfect place to relax and enjoy your outdoors.

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Protect blades on a planer

To keep the blades on your planer sharp, always rest your tool so the blades aren’t touching anything. One simple way you can do this is to sit your plane on an angle, with one end leaning up against a wall.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the timber
2 Assemble the legs
3 Attach the bottom rail
4 Attach the rails
5 Attach the central support
6 Attach the two support rails
7 Mitre the back supports
8 Attach the back supports
9 Attach the first decking board
10 Attach the second decking board
11 Measure and mark for the first piece of decking for the backrest
12 Attach the backrest
13 Putty up any holes
14 Sand the garden bench
15 Oil the bench
16 Time to relax
  • Step 1. Cut the timber

    To make this project easier we’ve had our timber pre-cut at Bunnings. Here’s the cut list we used for this project.

    90mm x 19mm merbau decking:

    • 1300mm x 8

    35mm x 70mm treated pine:

    • 430mm x 4 (legs)
    • 340mm x 4 (top and rail)
    • 1190mm x 1 (frame support)
    • 410mm x 2 (seat frame supports)
    •  485mm x 4 (back supports)
  • Step 2. Assemble the legs

    Get the four pieces of 430mm treated pine for the sides of the legs. Take a piece of 340mm pine for the top rail and clamp into place. Pre-drill with a 5.5mm drill and countersink bit before screwing into place with 2 x 100mm batten screws. Galvanised screws are good because they won’t rust in the weather.

  • Step 3. Attach the bottom rail

    Measure and mark 100mm up from the bottom of the legs. Pre-drill with the 5.5mm drill and countersink bit. Secure the bottom rail with 2 x 100mm batten screws on each side. Repeat the previous two steps to make the other leg.

  • Step 4. Attach the rails

    Once you’ve made the legs you need to attach rails at what will become the front and back of the seat. Clamp the timber to the leg, before pre-drilling with a 5.5 mm drill and countersink bit and secure the rail with 65mm batten screws. Attach to both legs. Use one screw on each rail.

  • Step 5. Attach the central support

    Measure and mark the centre point between the bottom rail on both legs. Clamp and fix the centre rail with 65mm batten screws. 

  • Step 6. Attach the two support rails

    Turn over the bench frame so the top of the frame is on the workbench, then measure and mark the position for the two supports, which fit between the two longer sides. Ours were placed 435mm in from both ends. Pre-drill using the 5.5mm drill and countersink bit before screwing into place with 65mm batten screws. Use one screw on each support.

  • Step 7. Mitre the back supports

    Make the first cut and then measure 485mm from longest to shortest edge to make the mitre cut.  Set the drop saw for a 10-degree mitre cut. These mitre cuts are parallel to each other at each end. Repeat this process for the three other back supports.

  • Step 8. Attach the back supports

    Once you’ve cut the back supports, you need to attach them to the frame. Clamp the first one in place so it sits flush to the underside of the supports on each leg and in the top of the seat frame. This will ensure the supports sit at the correct angle. Pre-drill with the 5.5mm countersink bit before screwing into place with 50mm batten screws. Repeat this for the other three back supports.

  • Step 9. Attach the first decking board

    To attach the decking boards, start at the back of the bench seat with the first board.  There will be some overhang of the board at each end, over the legs and a little at the front. Make sure the board is straight against the back.  Mark the position of the screws, two for each decking board, pre drill with the 3mm drill bit and countersink. Use the 50mm decking screws to attach the decking to the frame.

  • Step 10. Attach the second decking board

    Place spacers between the first and second decking board. Pre-drill with the 3mm drill bit and countersink. Use the 50mm decking screws to attach the decking to the frame. Repeat this process to attach the rest of the decking boards to make the seat of the garden bench.

  • Step 11. Measure and mark for the first piece of decking for the backrest

    Place spacers on top of the seat and flush to the back support. Place a piece of decking on top of the spacers. Measure and mark for the screw holes. These holes will follow a straight line from where the screws are in the seat. 

  • Step 12. Attach the backrest

    Use the drill and 3mm drill bit and countersink to drill the holes in the decking. Use the 50mm decking screws to fix the board into place. Repeat the previous two steps to attach the rest of the backrest.

  • Step 13. Putty up any holes

    Use the putty and putty knife to fill in the holes left by the screws. Leave the putty to dry.

  • Step 14. Sand the garden bench

    Once the putty has dried use the orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper to sand all of the bench. Wipe away any dust.

  • Step 15. Oil the bench

    Apply timber oil to the decking boards. This will not only protect the boards but bring out the warm colour of the timber. You may need to apply more than one coat. You can also paint the timber frame if you like, depending on the look you want. Use masking tape to protect any parts of the bench you don’t want oil or paint to go on to. Let the paint and oil dry.

  • Step 16. Time to relax

    Once the paint and oil has dried, it’s time to put your garden bench into place. All you need is now is to sit back, relax and enjoy your good work.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint Test.
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