How to Build a Tree Bench

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 2 hours  |  Help needed: 4 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. A tree bench also encourages a sense of community by creating a designated area for neighbors to gather together under a tree’s natural shade. If you have small to medium sized trees near your playground this may be the bench for you!

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
2 2x6x12' boards
2 2x6x10' boards
1 2x4x8' board
1 4x4x8' board
2lbs 2 ½" deck screws
6 ½"x8" galvanized screws
6 ½" galvanized washers
6 ½" galvanized nuts
Tools needed:
Miter saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Carpenter's square
Safety glasses
Drill
½" long drill bit
Screwdriver bit
Hammer

Preparation instructions

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

  2. Take the [2] 2x6x12' boards. Cut each down to [3] 43" pieces, for a total of [6] 2x6x43" pieces.

  3. Take the [2] 2x6x10' boards. Cut each down to [3] 2x6x36 ½" pieces, for a total of [6] 2x6x36 ½" pieces.

  4. Take the 2x4x8' board. Cut into [12] 2x4x8" pieces. Because of saw blade width and variances in lumber length, your [12] pieces may not be exactly 8" long. This is fine.

  5. Take the 4x4x8' board. Cut into [6] 4x4x16" lengths.

  6. Angled Cuts:

    • Take the [6] 2x4x43" pieces. Set the miter saw to a 30° angle and cut off the angle on both sides of the wood to create [6] 2x6x43" trapezoids.
    • Take the [6] 2x6x36 ½" pieces. Set the miter saw to a 30° angle and cut off the angle on both sides of the wood to create [6] 2x6x36 ½" trapezoids.

Build instructions

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

    Quantity: Inventory:
    6 2x4x43" trapezoids
    6 2x6x36 ½" trapezoids
    6 4x4x16" pieces
    12 2x4x8" pieces
  2. Attach the 2x4x8" braces to the legs. Place(2) 2x4x8" on either side of one end of each 4x4x16" perpendicularly (creating a "T" shape).
    Be sure the long sides of the 2x4s are flush with the edge of the 4x4s. Use [3] 2 ½" screws on each side to secure the braces in place.
    Then, use the ½" drill bit to drill a hole through all three pieces of wood and place an 8" carriage bolt in the center of the joint using 1 washer and 1 nut.

  3. Repeat the same process for the remaining 2x4x8" pieces and the 4x4x16" pieces. You should have a total of 6 "T-shaped" legs.

  4. Take all six 2x6x43" trapezoids and lay them on the ground so that they create a ring.

  5. Take all six 2x6x36 ½" trapezoids and lay them on the ground on the inside of the outer ring.

  6. Place one of the legs at each of the six joints where the trapezoids meet. Use the 2 ½" screws to attach the legs to the trapezoid. NOTE: Be sure to leave one side unattached until after you've placed the bench around the tree!

  7. Carry the Tree Bench to the tree you'll be placing the bench around, place it around the tree, and attach the final side of the bench.