How To Build a Planter Bench

Difficulty: Easy  |  Estimated time: 4 hours  |  Help needed: 4 volunteers

Adults and children appreciate having plenty of seating areas in and near their playspace. We've included instructions for a KaBOOM! favorite here, a combination bench/planter! 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." The double planter bench can be a combination bench + planter OR can be used as a bench with a chessboard tabletop in the middle!

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
2 4x4x10' boards
15 4x4x8' boards
5 2x4x8' boards
1lb 2 ½" deck screws
10lbs 60d 6" galvanized timber tie nails
7 cubic feet Fill dirt
6 cubic feet Potting soil
(varies) Plants/Flowers
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Screwdriver bit
¼" long drill bit

Preparation instructions

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

  2. Take [7] of the 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [4] 24" pieces for a total of [28] 4x4x24" pieces.

  3. Take the [8] remaining 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [3] 31" pieces for a total of [24] 4x4x31" pieces.

  4. Take the [5] 2x4x8' pieces. Cut each into [3] 31" pieces, for a total of [15] 2x4x31" pieces.

  5. Do NOT cut the [2] 4x4x10' boards.

Build instructions

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

    Quantity: Inventory:
    2 4x4x10' boards
    24 4x4x31" pieces
    28 4x4x24"
    15 2x4x31"
  2. Build the planter squares. Create 12 planter squares using (2) 4x4x24" and (2) 4x4x31". Attach these 4x4s using 6" nails and a hammer. You will want to pre-drill the holes with the ¼" drill bit to avoid bending the nails.

  3. Build the planter bases. Using 6 of the squares you just made, build 2 planter bases, each 3 levels (or squares) high.
    Attach one level at a time, rotating each level 90° so the 31" pieces always sit on top of 24" pieces.
    Use 6" nails to make two connections per level, one connection in the middle of each 31" piece.

  4. Connect the planter boxes. Connect the two planter bases with the 4x4x10' beams, sandwiching 24" pieces between them as pictured.
    Attach both the 4x4x10' pieces and the 4x4x24" pieces with 6" nails.

  5. Build three more levels on top of the 4x4x10' beams to complete the planters (each planter should be a total of 7 courses high). Use the same rotation method from Step 3, using 6" nails for the connections.

  6. Using the 2 ½" screws, attach the 2x4x31" pieces to the 10' beams, leaving even-spaced gaps (about ¼") between the pieces and between the end pieces and the planters.

  7. Sand all rough edges and place the bench its final location.

  8. Fill the first ¾ of each planter box with dirt, rocks, or other fill material. Fill the remainder of each box with potting soil and add plants.