:: DIY wood or stone garden benches ::
I enjoyed a delightful Thanksgiving dinner with a lovely family in a gorgeous home in Long Beach, LA, California. The indoor space was tastefully decorated in a timeless contemporary design style.
The outside space was a half-decent match to the interior. However, home-owner Michael sighed he wished to add some contemplative garden space, that would take advantage of the yard’s beautiful corner viewpoint. He was excited about the idea of making his own outdoor stone bench for this purpose. But how to go about it? It was a project he had never done before.
In appreciation for his hospitality, I decided to researched the garden bench project for Michael. Today I’m sharing the ideas I developed.
Long Beach, More than a Beach
The name ‘Long Beach’ instantly conjures up an image of a long beach full of palm trees. However, there are also tree-lined lakes, parks and golf courses to be found on the land behind that beach. So
Micheal’s property is placed in a woodsy residential setting rather than a row of ocean-front beach houses. The suggested garden bench styles are in keeping with its more woodsy environment.
(image credit: John Saldano (http://www.panoramio.com/user/2217293?with_photo_id=13851206)
Creating Wood or Stone Garden Benches in Design Stages
1. Select the Bench Location in Your Garden. Put a seat in that spot for a while and see how you like the viewpoint and the ambiance. Is it too windy perhaps, and you must plant a scrub there first before it’s bench ready? is there enough light there, or do you need to cut some branches first? Etc.
2. Prepare Your Garden Bench Location. Measure the exact location of each bench leg, and dig out the lawn in that location and fill each base with stabilizing material. See videos below.
3. Buy or make your bench design elements. See below.
4. Build or place the bench in location. See below.
Wooden or Stone Garden Benches ?
Michael initially asked for a stone bench. Stone benches are unique in their serene & rustic feel, their durability and low maintenance.
However, I can’t pass up the opportunity to point out that rustic benches can also be made from timber. Given the temperate climate in southern California, a wooden garden bench could also last Michael a long time.
Wooden garden benches typically cost a fraction of what a slate stone bench might cost, and given that they have their own unique charm, they are worth considering.
Garden Bench #1: Log Bench. Difficulty LEVEL: very easy.
This rustic sealed raw-timber log bench is fast to make. No wood-working skills required, but you must have some measuring skills and be able to use a chain saw (or know someone who can ~ wink). No nails required. In fact, it requires nothing but a saw and some imagination.
This bench is great for larger lots and park-like yards, where lumber is abundant and where you might like a couple of benches spread around.
This bench will be a welcome feature next to or in a large wild flower bed, or opposite a veggie garden, allowing the fresh food grower a break and some happy glances over his growing produce.
Easy instructions for this bench can be found here at HGTV.
Tip: For more refined wooden garden bench designs with instructions, see links at the end of this article.
Still smitten on a stone garden bench?
Here’s how to make some beautiful stone benches.
Stone – Wood Combination Garden Bench
Difficulty LEVEL: easy.
This garden bench is made with stacked decorative concrete building blocks. This clear 2-minute how-to make a stone bench video explains each step: from how to make a compacted gravel base to placing the wood seat, all steps are simple without mixed concrete. (Click here for the video link if you don’t see the video screen in this post)
Garden Bench 2a:
To make this bench into a comfortable garden couch, see this How-to make a stone bench w backrest video here.
Stone Garden Bench
Garden Bench #3: Gorgeous curved multi-slab stone bench that creates a luxurious garden seating area for garden party entertainment or peaceful contemplation.
Click here for your eHow instructions on how to make this stone garden bench. Be warned: it ain’t easy, but as you can tell from the image, well worth the effort.
Flagstone, granite or marble slates as are used here. I suggest you use materials in like with the quality of materials used for the main house as that determines the resell value of the property.
This stone bench is quite pricey, and if that’s prohibitive, don’t give up on the idea of it. There are other options to create this stone bench without the full cost. Consider using cement molds and/or opt for wooden seating top and bench back.
If you are not familiar with using cement molds, review the videos below to see how easy it actually is and learn tips-of-the-trade from the garden designer pros.
DIY Simple Concrete Garden Bench
Step 3: Unmold Garden Bench components
What these videos reveal is that while these benches could be adorable on their own, you could equally place these in groupings.
Bench Making Tools, Supplies & Suppliers
If you want to experiment with making your own cement-based stones and rocks, I suggest you go for one or both of these molds. Once you’ve made a bench with these, you’ll want to add a few of these ‘slates’ to other elements in your garden also: tiles for path, accents for the fireplace, elements for a nearby stone planter. Professional garden designers create unity by repeating design elements, and I suggest you do the same.
Buy your cement garden bench molds here:
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