Built-In Outdoor Bench

You know how everyone has a spot in their house that just seems to collect stuff? That place that is everyone’s dumping ground? Perhaps it’s your entryway, mudroom, kitchen counters or your garage. Ours is our front porch. Yup, right out there in the open.

Let’s just pretend for a second that I’m not a giant redneck who stores all her stuff on the front porch. Let’s pretend this is a normal home decor blog where I don’t show you horribly truthful pictures. Are you pretending? Okay then, here is my before picture…

Not so bad right? A little empty and a little plain, but nothing to cringe at.

The porch has been much better since we built a garage, really it has. The problem was that I had a ton of chairs sitting around from my $100 porch project (that I never finished), so even when the porch was spic and span there was still like six chairs in the corner. Adam wanted to get rid of everything and start from scratch, so we gave all the chairs away to family…including these three bad boys.

Yup, even the dumpster rocker (which was looking a little worse for wear). I did hold onto this one though, because it’s sturdy and NOT miniature sized.

Adam decided a bench was in order, something that would seat multiple people and NOT move… because we saw what happens when furniture is allowed to move around on our front porch. The goal was to have it done before Thanksgiving so we could all sit outside and enjoy a nice cold drink…of sweet tea that is.  Because everyone knows that late November is the perfect time for some front porch sitting and some catch phrase playing with the fam.

So here is a quick tutorial that is mostly pictures, because everyone’s bench will be a little different (sizes and whatnot) and a general idea is really all you need. Our bench is eight feet long and used three cedar 2×6’s, four cedar 2×4’s, and a few feet of scrap pine.

First Adam measured and cut everything and put together the frame. He used cedar around the edges and the scrap pine (ours was leftover from our DIY garage foundation) on all the parts that wouldn’t be seen. Your free to use cedar for this, we just used pine because we’re cheap.

Then Adam, his dad, and Elijah spent a good chunk of time trying to locate the studs on the outside of our house, which evidently are not where they are supposed to be.

Once the studs were located they just screwed the frame directly to the wall and added the angled supports.

It looks like they were working in the middle of the night, but it was like 5pm. This getting dark early thing kills me…and it doesn’t even trick the kids into going to bed earlier. Such a waste.

So the next day Adam just screwed the three cedar 2×6’s to the top of the frame and coated it with some water sealer.

And there you have it, our unmovable bench…finished just in time for Thanksgiving.

The reason we stopped it at eight feet instead of extending to a less awkward length is twofold…1) the boards come in eight foot lengths, and 2) eight feet just so happened to stop exactly before the only outlet on our front porch.

I’m fully aware that right now it looks lonely, plain, and uncomfortable. Just you wait though, I have things in the works!

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  1. The bench is perfect! This idea of cleaning up before taking a “before” picture sounds… oddly… familiar… :)
    Kelly @ View Along the Way recently posted..Posts of Christmas PastMy Profile

  2. Gorgeousness! And your honestly makes us all feel just a little bit more normal!
    Gwen recently posted..Handmade for the Holidays: Red Hen HomeMy Profile

  3. Wow! You always have the most amazing ideas! XO, Aimee
    Aimee – It’s Overflowing recently posted..Anthropologie Knockoff Tufted Wool WreathMy Profile

  4. I love the bench-it’s perfect there!
    Melissa-TheHappierHomemaker recently posted..Pottery Barn Knock Off Magnolia WreathMy Profile

  5. That bench will make a nice shelf to store more stuff. just kidding. This is a great idea! Love the blog.

  6. That is a beautiful bench! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
    Jill recently posted..DIY HeadboardMy Profile

  7. What a great idea and your guys made it look so easy!! Thanks for giving us all the details!!
    lucy recently posted..So far, 2 Christmas CasualtiesMy Profile

  8. Great idea and can’t wait to see how you dress it up! Makes me wish I had a porch :(

  9. Yes I do love it! Rustic is making me crazy these days!!!

  10. That is an awesome idea, and a great bench. And easy enough for me to do, and I NEED to build one. Because right now, as I sit here, there are four chairs on my front porch. Because I am a giant redneck, and a hillbilly to boot, and that is where I put my “treasures” when I bring them home.Just temporarily, of course, until I get around to redoing them. Uh, yeah, I am going to get to them, really I am. And I might do it sooner, except that there is a large birdcage on a stand, and a stack of planters, and a box of books in the way. Sigh.
    Sandra @Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls recently posted..A Special RequestMy Profile

    • Lol Sandra, we sound very much alike. I even have a giant box of books on my front porch too, Adam won a bunch a war books in a raffle and has no idea where to put them…therefore they are on the front porch. Sigh.

  11. I love the built-in bench. I’m also glad to see I’m not the only one who has that one spot that shouldn’t look as it does. There are days I get so frustrated with not having things perfect, thanks for reminding me I’m not alone.
    Lois recently posted..She knows me so wellMy Profile

    • Oh, you are certainly not alone. I would love to have things look perfect all the time but with kids that is just not realistic. Let’s be honest, I’m not that clean either…aaaaand I’m pretty sure that isn’t my motorcycle and huge air compressor on the front porch, lol. Life is messy.

      • I used to be obsessive about my cleaning, but having kids helped me to gain a little perspective. Then the kids moved out and I could again have my home the way I wanted it. That didn’t last long, now I have grand kids who only live walking distance from me who come here and make bigger messes than I remember my boys ever making :-)

  12. Ashley, I have just nominated you for the Inspiring Blogger Award. I love the ideas you share, they inspire me to try things I hadn’t thought of.

  13. The bench may look a little lonely, plain and uncomfortable, but it also looks extremely sturdy and well-constructed. I have a “place” like that too – it’s called my driveway >.< We built our carport into bedrooms, so there is nowhere to hide anything anymore. Of course, now that the house is up for sale, we're making regular treks to the dump, the compost place, the thrift store, and devising new and innovative ways to cram the shed. We actually bought a padlock for the shed, and I'm sure what prospective buyers imagine is in there is waaay different from reality!

    As always, love the pictures of the little helper! That little guy is just interested in everything!
    Cheers, Jan
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

    • Haha, your driveway…that’s just as bad as my front porch. Whew! :) I used to be a real estate agent I can tell you that some buyers look everywhere, so a padlock was a great investment. People will see a full shed or closet or garage and think “this house doesn’t have enough storage” and that will turn them off. Lot’s of buyers also have no vision, I had plenty that didn’t like a house because they didn’t like the color paint on the walls. Crazy!

  14. I love the bench. It is fantastic.

  15. love, love, love! I’m trying to convince the hubs that this would be the perfect Mother’s Day gift for our front porch ;) but we have siding on our house- would anything special have to be done before attaching the bench? Thanks!

    • Yes, but I’m not sure what cause we’ve never had siding. It would be the same process as attaching a deck though, I bet google would turn up a ton of tutorials on that.

  16. I love the bench. It’s simple, elegant, and looks solid!
    Megan recently posted..Comparing the Best Teak Garden BenchesMy Profile

  17. Suzanne van de Velde says:

    Hi Ashley — I realize your post is several thousand years old, but I’ve only recently discovered your site, so thought I’d offer a thought about your lovely wooden bench. Before I forget, want to say that I really like your style, your relaxed writing and your attitude to your work. You’ve got fantastic ideas which you realize very inspiringly and imaginatively. You come up with great ideas and put them to work for you.

    First off, I really love the ‘brutalist’ vibe and the beautiful wood which (I hope) you’ve left with its gorgeous grain visible. When I saw it I thought of my old kitchen in London and how we solved a problem of right angles. It was a very very small space, so we decided to highlight that feeling by pretending it was a ship’s cabin. (Can’t find any photos but will try and describe it). We paneled all the walls three quarters of the way up with beveled squares (will not go into the effort that took but will just say my husband, young daughter and I had a strictly enforced assembly line approach).

    Then we built in a bench at right angles along two walls (one long and one short). Added a bench cushion (creation of my very talented mother-in-law). It became a very cosy nook where everyone wanted to sit. We painted the walls a deep smoky green and the cushions were made of a great chenille with rows of great color. Added a super modern pendant light.

    Anyway, one very cool and effective thing about the bench is that where the two walls met we mitered the corners of the wood, so that it fit snugly and looked all of one piece. It does need good support but with a thick sturdy bench like yours, there would be plenty of space underneath to do this.

    But mitering is also a great way to give a frame, a throw or a quilt or really anything with a right angle corner look much more pleasing, polished and professional. It’s not that hard once you get the hang of it and plan it well.

    This may be a completely useless idea for your bench, since 1) you have no doubt totally moved on from this project and 2) that was all the wood you had anyway. But here’s a link for wooden frames which illustrates the idea:

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

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