How To Build an Outdoor Classroom

Difficulty: Complex  |  Estimated time: 8 hours  |  Help needed: 10 volunteers

An outdoor classroom is a great way of encouraging schools and other organizations to take advantage of their outdoor playspace and turn the entire area into a learning environment.

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
6 2x6x8' boards
6 2x6x10' boards
4 2x4x8' boards
7 4x4x8' boards
5lbs 2 ½" deck screws
10 80lb bags concrete (optional)
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Drill
Screwdriver bit
Level
Hammer
Sandpaper
Spray/Marking paint
Shovel/post-hole digger

Preparation instructions

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

  2. Set aside the [6] 2x6x8' boards. They will not be cut.

  3. Take the [6] 2x6x10' boards. Cut each into [1] 72" piece and [1] 48" piece, for a total of [6] 2x6x72" pieces and [6] 2x6x48" pieces.

  4. Take [3] of the 2x4x8' boards. Cut each into [12] 8" pieces, for a total of [36] 2x4x8" pieces. Because of the width of the saw blade and discrepancies in the length of the lumber, you may not get [12] 8" sections from each 2x4x8' board. If this is the case, use the leftover lumber from the upcoming step to cut more 8" pieces.

  5. Take the final 2x4x8ft board. Cut [6] more 2x4x8" pieces from it. You will now have a total of [42] 2x4x8" pieces.

  6. Take the [7] 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [3] 30" pieces, for a total of [21] 2x4x30" pieces.


Build instructions

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

    Quantity: Inventory:
    6 2x6x8' boards
    6 2x6x72" pieces
    6 2x4x48"
    42 2x4x8" pieces
    21 4x4x30" pieces
  2. Use the screwdriver bit, the 2 ½" deck screws and a drill to attach one 2x4x8" piece to each side of the 4x4x30" legs (as seen in the picture at right). Use three screws for each connection.

  3. Connect the 4x4 legs to the 2x6 seats as shown. The 8' benches will have three legs, while the 6' and 4' benches will only have two legs per bench. The outer legs should be 3 ½" from the edge of the bench. On the 8' benches with three legs, the middle leg should be centered on the 4' mark. Use six screws into the top of the 2x6 to attach each of the legs. Be sure that two screws go down into the 2x4 braces and one goes into the 4x4 leg (as shown).

  4. Dig holes for the benches' legs. Follow the layout diagram, with the 8' benches in the back row, 6' benches in the middle row, and 4' benches in the front row. Bench heights can be staggered for stadium-style seating by digging holes at different depths for each row.