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How to Build a Planter Bench

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How to Build a Planter Bench
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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

If you have a green thumb and want to show it off, build an attractive planter bench for your backyard. Standard seating height for benches is about 17”. Benches can be almost any length, but because lumber is sold in select lengths, 8’ boards make this bench easy to build without too much cutting and fitting.

Below are the TOOLS + MATERIALS you will need to Build a Planter Bench:

Things Youll Need

How to Build a Planter Bench

  1. Cut the Bench Top Pieces

    Use the BLACK+DECKER 4.5 Amp Jigsaw to cut the following pieces:

    • (3) pieces of 2 x 6 cedar, 48” long for the bench planks
    • (2) pieces of 2 x 6 cedar, 21” long for the bench top frame ends
    • (1) piece of 2 x 4 cedar, 93” long for the front bench plank
    • (2) pieces of 2 x 4 cedar, 21” long for the bench plank braces
    • (3) pieces of 2 x 6 cedar, 48” long for the bench planks that fit between the planter openings
    • (2) pieces of 2 x 6 cedar, 2” long for the bench top frame ends
    • (1) piece of 2 x 4 cedar, 93” long for the front bench plank
    • (2) pieces of 2 x 4 cedar, 21” long for the bench plank braces

  2. Build the Bench Top Frame

    Place two full-length, 96” 2 x 6 cedar boards on their sides, about 2’ apart. Apply water-resistant wood glue to both ends of the two 21” 2 x 6 pieces, and place these between the 96” boards so all pieces are flush on the outside. Use the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver with AutoSense™ Technology and a 1/8” bit to drill three pilot holes, evenly spaced through the long pieces. Screw the pieces together with 3” screws, using the 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver, to form a rectangular frame.

    step3

    Depending on what type of screw you're using, pilot holes should be just slightly smaller than the screw.

    The idea is to allow the hole to be big enough for the screw to pass through without splitting the wood, but at the same time, small enough so that the threads grip firmly.

  3. Install the Plank Braces

    Measure in from each outside end of the frame and make a mark at 24”. Center another mark between the two 24” marks. At each 24” mark, draw a short horizontal line 1 1/2” down from the top edge of the frame side. Apply water-resistant wood glue and position the 21” 2 x 4 plank braces between the long sides of the frame, with the tops of the braces on the 1 1/2” lines. The outer braces go inside the 24” marks, and the middle brace is centered on the center marks. Drill pilot holes and screw through the frame sides and into the braces with two 3” screws at each brace end.

  4. Add the Bench Planks

    Place one of the 48” long 2 x 6 planks on top of the braces so it is centered on the bench frame and pushed up against the rear side of the frame. Place two more 2 x 6 planks onto the braces and centered on the frame, spacing the three planks about 3/8” apart. Place the 93” 2 x 4 plank at the front of the frame. Adjust the planks so the spaces in between planks are all equal.

    Drill 1/8” pilot holes through the planks and into the braces. Fasten the planks with two 3” screws at each brace. Drill a pilot hole every 12” through the outside of the frame and into the front and rear planks, 3/4” down from the top of the frame. Drive 3” screws through these pilot holes.

    TIPS:

    • All of the planks should be flush with the top of the bench frame.
    • You should be looking at a 24 x 96” bench seat, with a 17 1/2 x 22 1/2” opening at each end for plants.

  5. Build the Frames for the Bases

    Use the 4.5 Amp Jigsaw to cut the following pieces from the 2 x 4 cedar:

    • (8) pieces, 11 1/2” long for the legs
    • (8) pieces, 22 1/2” long for the front and back
    • (8) pieces, 19 1/2” long for the sides
    Apply wood glue and place the 19 1/2” pieces between the 22 1/2” pieces, with all pieces on their sides. Drill two 1/8” pilot holes at each joint and screw the pieces together with 3” screws, using the 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver. The result is a square frame measuring 22 1/2 x 22 1/2”. You will need to build a total of four square frames.

  6. Install the Legs

    Place a 11 1/2” leg vertically in all four corners of one of the square frames. Drill pairs of pilot holes through the frames to penetrate into the legs, and screw the frames to the legs with 2 1/2” screws. Flip the frame upside down, fitting the exposed ends of the legs into the second frame, and repeat screwing this frame to the legs to create a box that measures 11 1/2” tall and 22 1/2” wide. Build two of them.

  7. Add Exterior Plywood

    Using the 4.5 Amp Jigsaw, cut 3/4” CDX plywood to the following measurements:

    • (4) pieces, 11 1/2 x 24”
    • (4) pieces, 11 1/2 x 22 1/2”
    These pieces will be used to cover the base frames.

  8. Cover the Bases

    Apply water-resistant construction adhesive liberally to the box frames. Screw the 22 1/2” plywood pieces on first, followed by the 24” pieces, using nine 1 1/2” screws for each panel.

  9. Sand and Finish

    Sand the bench and bases smooth with the BLACK+DECKER MOUSE® Detail Sander and 100-grit sandpaper. Apply weather-resistant, exterior-grade paint to the bases only. You can choose a color that either complements or contrasts with the bench. Then apply the exterior wood sealant to the bench with a brush. Allow the finishes to dry as directed by the paint and wood sealant manufacturer.

  10. Install the Blocking and Bench

    Measure the spaces between the legs at the front, rear and outer sides of the bases. Cut a piece of cedar 2 x 4 to fit the six spaces of blocking. Install the blocking pieces with water-resistant wood glue and four 2 1/2” screws so they are flush with the tops of the legs. Place the two bases 4’ apart, and set the bench on top the bases so the bases are flush with the front, rear and ends of the bench. Secure the bench to each base with three 2 1/4”, 90° angle brackets. Center the brackets over the blocking. Screw into the brackets and bench frame with 1” screws to complete the bench.

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