We turned our attention to the garden this year, as it had looked very neglected after all the internal renovation works and we wanted to make it look less like a dumping ground. There is a sun trap in the corner of the garden and Mr S decided that he wanted to build outdoor bench seating there. We wanted to create a space that we could relax in and, since many of us have only been able to entertain in our gardens over the past couple of months, we wanted to have a space for friends and family to enjoy also.
This is a great DIY project to attempt and I’m sure the principles of the construction can be applied to whatever size of garden you have. Mr S came up with the idea of the outdoor bench seating area following along the back wall in an ‘L-shape’.
Earlier on in lockdown, because of finances and the shortage of materials, I decided to revamp our garden on a budget (read more about how I did this, here). Mr S then decided to buy himself a new tool (any excuse really!) and so the outdoor bench seating project was full steam ahead. If you’re looking to keep to a budget, make the most of your garden space and take on a DIY project then read on to see how Mr S did it.
Here you can see my incredibly detailed and clear calculations! If you can understand them, then you’re doing better than me. There was just a couple of weeks gap between planning and starting the project, and even I struggled to understand!
I measured the wall in the garden that we wanted the seating against. I had to allow for an outdoor plug and some space for an existing plant pot (the plant is currently making it’s way along the trellis at the back and I didn’t want to disturb it!).
I used an indoor chair as a guide for the height of the seating and wanted it to be deeper than a normal chair so that it was more comfortable. A lot of these calculations involved me sitting down, which I can’t complain about!
When we could (there has been a delay on materials in the UK) we ordered the following from Wickes:
- Wickes Treated Sawn Timber – 47mm X 47mm X 3m (for the frame)
- Wickes Treated Sawn Timber – 19mm X 100mm X 2.4m (to clad the outside)
We tried to order sizes that would minimise wastage, but that wasn’t possible so we have got some offcuts. Better to be on the safe side though, because we weren’t sure when it would all be in stock again!
A lot of the outdoor bench seating construction was taking place while I was still sanding and painting the dining room, so I had to pop outside and take pictures of the progress during breaks.
Mr S made the frame first, and clad the sides before fixing it to the outside wall so that it was level. We just have gravel over concrete in our back garden and we were working with what we already had, so we didn’t change this. You may decide to lay a concrete base first, build into a wall as it is constructed or convert part of a raised flower bed.
Once the frame was built, secured and level, Mr S then added the cladding on top to create the seating.
As is often the way with British weather and British summertime, as soon as the outdoor bench seating was completed it poured it down with rain!
Thankfully, we had used treated timber in the construction so we weren’t too concerned about damage, but I did need to protect it as soon as I could.
I did some research and found Protek Wood Stain to be reasonably priced and well reviewed. I ordered Timber Eco Shield in Weathered Wood and got to work protecting the outdoor bench seating.
I love the colour after two coats and I have been so impressed with the quality too. Thankfully I have some left so I’ll be using it to protect further projects that we have planned for the garden.
We already had outdoor lighting from Creative Cables (AD – you can use the code LIGHTTHEDARKNESS10 for 15% off an order) and had ordered a fire pit too. It has been lovely to have friends over and be able to sit outside in our garden around the fire pit, on bench seating that Mr S made. I have since made outdoor cushion covers (read about how I did this, here) to make it that little bit more comfortable.
The outdoor bench seating could also be used for storage, if we had created the top to be removable, or with a space for a wood store underneath. These are both options we would consider in the future, but I didn’t trust anything near the gravel underneath our bench seating!
Now that Mr S has completed the DIY outdoor bench seating project, he wants to take on more outdoor projects! I’m certainly not going to stop him! It cost around £100, and took about a day to do (give or take the times that we were affected by the weather!), so I’d say that’s a successful DIY project completed!
I hope that this tutorial is helpful and inspires you to take on a DIY outdoor seating project too! Please do tag me if you, because I love seeing a DIY project come together.