DIY Outdoor Wood Bench

With summer underway, I set out to transform my small 5 ft x 9 ft balcony into an intimate al fresco dining area able to seat 4 to 5 people. Having that many chairs on such a small balcony would have been cumbersome, so instead I decided to build simple wood benches to make a corner booth. I didn’t want anything too complicated to build so I came up with a very simple design that only takes a couple of hours to make using basic tools and materials:

I’ll walk you through how to make one of them and then you’ll be able to customize the design to work with your outdoor space.

Bench dimensions: 56″ long x 16 1/4″ wide x 17 3/4″ high

Materials needed: 6 x 1″ x 4″ x 6 ft pine boards (~ $4.50 each), 1 x 2″x 3″x 6 ft stud (~$2.00), weather proofing stain or paint, decking screws (1 1/4″, 2″)

Step 1: Cut the pine boards and stud to size (I had mine cut at the hardware store):

Cut list:

Frame (1″x4″): 2 x 55″, 3 x 13 3/4″

Top (1″x4″): 4 x 56″

Legs (2″x3″): 4 x 17″

Step 2: Weatherproof all the wood – I used a semi-transparent weather proofing stain from BEHR (coffee color) and applied 2 coats. For a small project like this, an 8 oz sample is more than enough.

Step 3: Build the frame:

Use corner clamps to hold the pieces together (adding wood glue before doing this will make the joints stronger but skipping the glue will allow you to easily disassemble the bench later).

Drill two pilot holes and put in screws (use 1 1/4″ screws). After the four sides are put together, add the middle piece for extra support.

Step 4: Place one of the top 1″ x 4″ on top of the frame so that it extends 1/2″ past the edge of the frame at the ends and on the sides. Drill pilot holes and screw in place.

Screw in place the remaining pine boards, using a scrap piece of 1″ x 4″ as a spacer.

Step 5: Attach the legs:

Using clamps, secure one leg to the inside of one corner of the frame:

Drill pilot holes and screw in place (use 2″ screws).

For my project, I made two benches, added cushions and built privacy panels to complete my corner booth DIY dining area (you can see how I built the privacy panels in this video).

I love how my DIY al fresco dining area turned out and it’s been a wonderful place to enjoy warm summer evenings with friends and family.

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37 Comments

  1. Ana

    Hi Isabelle! I saw your video on youtube where you used shoe boxes to make your bench, did the wood not work? Love your work!

    • Isabelle

      Hi Ana, Not at all, I just wanted to change things up and redo my balcony – both benches worked really well! Thanks! Isabelle

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  3. Jordan

    What size is the Hallo Pad?? The one I found on the website that looks closest is 74″ by 24″. Will that work?

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  6. Ruchita

    Hey do you have any wooden bench with small backrest? I am looking for similar thing but little back rest atleast in on side. I have slanted balcony soo can’t put pillows like you did.

  7. Woodworking Plan

    I now know what I’m going to do with my left over pallets! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Sabrina

    I did it!!!!!! First thing I have every built – so proud of myself. Hubby was amazed (hehehe)

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Amazing!!! Great job and it looks perfect for that corner! Thanks so much for sharing Sabrina and I can’t wait to see all the other projects you make :)

  9. Dierk

    Hi Isabella,

    thank you for this instructions.
    I have a question regarding the width of the bench.

    You say the width is 16″ 1/4 and therefore the frame has a width of 13″ 3/4.
    But is the width not 4 * 4″= 16 for the boards + 3 * 1″ = 3 for the gaps, summing up to 19″. If I’am correct the frame width has to be adjusted as well.

    Due to the fact that nobody else has noted this, I guess I am somehow mistaken, but I can’t find my mistake.

    P.S.: Sorry for my bad english, I’am from Germany.

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Hi Dierk, You’re welcome! In the US, a 1″x 4″ board actually measures 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ so that’s why the measurements come out to what they are. Hope this helps! Isabelle

      • Dierk

        Thanks for the clarification.

        Thanks to your instruction, I was able to build my first project. Still needs to be painted, but I love it!

        • Isabelle LaRue

          You’re very welcome and congratulations on your very first project! Looks great!

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