This article is the first in a new series. Each month we will provide plans to make something new.

This simple garden bench is suitable for use indoors or outdoors, regardless of whether the wood surface is finished or unfinished. We recommend cedar because it’s a native Pacific Northwest wood, readily available, and it holds up very well in the weather even if it is unfinished. This project should cost $30 to $40.

Once you’ve gathered all your tools and materials, please refer to the cut list and diagrams to build your stylish new bench!


Diagram of completed bench

The completed bench will be 48" wide


Miter Saw (be sure to wear goggles and ear protection while using it)
Ear plugs or muffs
Drill (Drill pilot holes before driving in your screws, otherwise your wood will split and crack. Take the time to do it right!)
1/8” drill bit
Driver bit (match your screws)
Tape measure
A sharp pencil


Item Quantity
8 ft. Cedar 1×4 4
8 ft. Cedar 2×6 1
2” Wood Screws 1 Box

Cut List:

A – 1 x 4 8 ½” (4x)
B – 1 x 4 36 ½” (2x)
C – 1 x 4 40”
D – 1 x 4 17 ¼” (4x) Legs have a 7º miter at both ends.
E – 2 x 6 8” (2x)


Click each image to view a larger version.

Step 1 Diagram

Step 1

Step 2 Diagram

Step 2

Step 3 Diagram

Step 3

Categories: HomeResources


Karen · September 13, 2011 at 12:57 am

Just bought a table saw-perfect for this type of project!

Brian · January 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

Great instructions, thank you, but check out “E” on the Cut List! Should be 48″ as illustrated above.
Making two of these this week!

Gabe · February 9, 2013 at 1:07 am

I like this! and looking forward to more of this series.

I noticed that the cut list for “E – 2×6” reads:
8″ (2x)

Should that read as follows, instead?:
4″ (2x)

The Critic · October 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Nice. My take on it is that the most useful joint is the leg-joist joint, BD, and for that I’d go with a full over lap minus 1/2″, letting the end joists A be sandwiched between the two Bs and secured with three 3″ screws since end grain cedar will not hold well. The cut-list would need modification. I’d go with three 3″ screws for each AC and 3″ again for securing E into the base.

Laurie · November 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

HI Critic,
Just wanted to let you know, we built three of these benches for the community gardens, each holds well over 7oo lbs, we used 2″ galvanized deck screws, there were a bit short for my taste but these things are sturdy as a rock so only time will tell in the end.
We used fir, but are not expecting a 20 year life cycle or anything, they are outdoor benches so we hope for 5 and will be happy with anything near it.

One of our volunteers labeled it Apocalyptic building.

take pics and let us know how yours turns out when you build it!

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