How To Build a Deck Bench

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 4 hours  |  Help needed: 5 volunteers

Adults and children appreciate having plenty of seating areas in and near their playspace. Benches encourage adult supervision when placed in close proximity to the playground equipment. Seating also encourages a sense of community by creating a designated area for neighbors to gather together, much like a “town square."

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
1 4x4x8' board OR
1 4x4x12' board (If the bench will be set in concrete)
1 2x6x8' board
4 2x2x8' boards
2 2x4x8' boards
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Drill
Screwdriver bit
⅛" drill bit
Hammer
Level
Sandpaper
2 ½" deck screws (1 ½lbs)
3" deck screws (2lbs)

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take the 4x4x8' board. Cut into [4] 4x4x13" pieces and [2] 4x4x8" pieces.
    measurement display

    If you will be setting the bench in concrete, take the 4x4x12' board and cut into [4] 4x4x29" pieces and [2] 4x4x8" pieces.
    measurement display
  3. Take [1] 2x4x8' board. Cut into [2] 2x4x48" pieces.
    measurement display

  4. Take the second 2x4x8' board. Cut into [4] 2x4x15" pieces.
    measurement display

  5. Take the 2x6x8' board. Cut into [4] 2x6x15" pieces.
    measurement display

  6. Take all [4] 2x2x8' pieces. Cut each one into [2] 2x2x45" pieces, for a total of [8] 2x2x45" pieces.
    measurement display

  7. Angled Cuts:

    • Take all [4] 2x6x15" pieces.
    • Measure 1 ½" down from the top of each piece and 1 ½" across from the bottom. Draw a line between the two marks and cut along the line. This should be a 20° angle. Repeat on the other side to create a trapezoid. Repeat for the rest of the 2x6x15" pieces.
      measurement and angle display

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    Quantity: Inventory:
    4 4x4x13" pieces OR
    4 4x4x29" pieces
    2 4x4x8" pieces
    2 2x4x48" pieces
    4 2x4x15" pieces
    4 2x6x15" pieces
    8 2x2x45" pieces
  2. Make the frames by positioning [2] 2x4x15" end pieces between [2] 2x4x48" pieces to make a rectangle. The 2x4x15" pieces should be inside the 2x4x48" pieces, as the picture shows. Position the ends so that the edges are flush. Using the ⅛" drill bit, pilot holes through the sides and into the ends. Fasten with 3" screws.
    Step 2 illustration

  3. The deck bench will be built upside down. Set the 2x2x45" slats inside the frame and space them out evenly. There should be a gap of approximately ⅜" in between each slat. Drill ⅛" pilot holes through the 2x4x15" pieces into the 2x2x45" pieces at both ends and fasten with a 3" deck screw. Repeat until all the seat slats are in place.
    Step 3 illustration

  4. Before attaching the [2] 2x4x15" stretchers, measure 3 ½" down and 7" down from the inside corner of each 2x4x48" piece and make a mark. Position the stretchers between the marks. Drill ⅛" pilot holes through the stretchers into each slat and fasten with 2 ½" screws. There should be one connection per slat.
    Step 4 illustration

  5. Assemble the bench by positioning each leg – (4x4x13" OR 4x4x29") between the braces (2x6x15"). The legs sit atop the stretchers while the braces attach to the outside of the 2x4x15" stretchers. Insert the 4x4x8" block in between the legs and braces for added stability. Attach all with 3" screws. Use two 3" screws at a diagonal to attach the blocks to each leg. Repeat for the other legs.
    Step 5 illustration

  6. If you are setting your bench in concrete, use the assembled bench to mark where the legs will go into the ground. Dig [4] holes 6" in diameter and 16" deep. Set the bench into the ground and use a level to ensure the bench is straight while filling holes with concrete.
    Step 6 illustration

  7. Sand all surfaces to minimize risk of splinters.