In this article, I’ll discuss how I made a sturdy bench that could be used in the garden, on a stoop/porch or in a rustic dining area.

There are loads of materials you could use to make this bench, everything from recycled wood, to new wood, up to and including plastic imitation wood. I used the latter, because I wanted to make an outdoors bench that could withstand exposure to the weather – and which, by a happy coincidence, I’d recently acquired a fair amount of!

On the way to work one morning a few years back, I happened to spot a pile of plastic wood decking that had been dumped at the side of the road. When I passed that way again the same afternoon, it was still there and, considering myself very fortunate, I stopped and piled the whole lot into the back of my Golf!

I often joke that I can be a real womble at times, and that would be pretty much case in point! (If you can remember what a womble is, you’re probably as old as I am!)

Anyway, that afternoon I happened to get off early and had time to indulge my creativity! After dismantling the mass of plastic planks still attached to each other, I decided to quickly make an outdoors bench for use in the front garden! I figured this heap of plastic planks and beams would do the trick – and the design I had in mind was simple and basic!

I took a few measurements to work out a convenient, comfortable sitting height (from the ground to the underside of my knee) and then cut six lengths of the same height to make the legs. I discovered that cutting the wooden planks was about as easy (or difficult) as cutting real wood, in fact working with it is very similar in many ways.

Once I had all six legs cut and matched to ensure they were consistently the same height, I needed to tie them all together, and cut upper and lower cross-beams to attach them across the width of the planned bench. I used ordinary self-tapping wood or chip-board screws for the task.

Then I looked at the longest planks I had and determined the length the bench would finally take. I chose four “planks” and trimmed them all to the same length, and then used one to tie the bottom cross-pieces together, placing one at each end and one in the center. Then I attached the three top planks to form the seat, spacing them out evenly, starting with the sides and then the center plank last. Simple, right?

The end result was a sturdy, durable rustic garden bench that would never rot or need painting! It sits in our front garden even now, for those lazy quiet sunny summer holidays when we like to sit and watch goings-on in the neighborhood while reading a book or eating an alfresco meal!

I’m not really worried about the bench getting stolen – it’s so heavy I doubt anyone could stagger away with it very far – but at least they could stop and rest on it every few meters, ha ha!

Pictures included – enjoy!

Have a D.I.Y. week!


If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about anything on this site, or her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to or use the Contact form on her author website.

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