Cedar Patio Benches
This easy-to-build bench can be used on your patio or deck—or anywhere.
By Matt Weber
When I build outdoor furniture I want it to last.
I also want to spend as little time maintaining the furniture as possible. That’s why I often choose cedar as my outdoor building material. In my area of the country cedar is more expensive than treated lumber, but it has the benefit of containing natural oils that act as preservatives to help the wood resist decay and insect damage. Cedar is also a dimensionally stable wood that lays flat and stays straight, which makes it easy to build with, and you can depend on the boards to hold their shape.
These cedar benches became a project because as my family has grown I’ve noticed a lack of seating on our back deck. I noticed the same problem on my parent’s paver patio. To solve both problems, I decided to whip up a couple simple benches for people to park on. These benches are fairly easy to build, and you get to exercise some of your favorite tools: a table saw, a miter saw (or handheld circ saw), a router and a nail gun.
If you’re like me, you keep your eyes peeled for building materials to squirrel away for a rainy day. I ended up with a few scrap cut-offs of 6×6 cedar posts. They’d been thrown into a dumpster by a work crew during the construction of a screened porch. I rescued them, and just a few months later found a good use for the wood.
On my table saw, I ripped the 6×6 chunks right down the middle to create four equal 3×3 boards. Not only did I keep this perfectly usable wood out of a landfill, I saved money on not having to purchase a new 6×6. The 3×3 boards would serve as the legs of the benches, and I cut them to equal length on my miter saw.
Aside from the 3×3 legs, all the other wood components are cut from 1×4 cedar boards, which should simplify your shopping experience. (Note: “1×4” is a nominal designation, and the 4-in. wide cedar boards I purchased from my local Lowe’s measured only 5/8 inch thick, so the following cut list reflects this thickness).
Cut List per Bench
- Front and Back: 2 pcs., 40″ 1×4
- Sides: 2 pcs., 16-3/4″ 1×4
- Legs: 4 pcs., 15-3/8″ 3×3
- Slats: 11 pcs., 18″ 1×4