With spring just arriving in many parts of the country and summer right around the corner in many others, a lot people are beginning to look forward to spending time outside in the garden. While some of that time will surely be spent tending to your plants, other, more relaxing moments can be made more appealing by the presence of a garden bench in your yard. Some garden benches are ornate and require quite a lot of money to buy, but's its actually surprisingly easy to build a simple one yourself! Here's how to get started:

Choosing the Right Materials

While many DIYers tout the benefits of using pallet boards to build extremely inexpensive outdoor furniture, simple cedar boards are often just as affordable. Consider the sizes and shapes you will need, and then take a trip to the discounted section of the local hardware store. If you aren't picky about the type of wood you want to work with, you should be able to find beautiful boards and posts for your bench in no time. Some people even get their wood from felled trees. Homeowners who have recently had a tree removed from their yard sometimes leave the wood on their front lawn with a sign marked "free." If you have the means to transport it and turn it into boards, then you'll be able to score a ton of beautiful wood for free.

Deciding on a Design

There's a wide variety of garden bench designs out theres, from elementary ones to more complex ones with stronger cross-bar supports. Ultimately, you'll want to go with the design that best matches your woodworking skills. If you have no woodworking experience at all, you can even consider finding a nice large wooden board and propping it up on bricks. This will create a modular bench that requires no fastening at all. If you're hoping for something a little more complex, deck screws and nails are going to be essential.

Many websites have a variety of DIY bench plans for you to peruse. A quick look around Pinterest will help you see which plans involve more precision and which ones incorporate more ready-cut wood sizes and fewer total parts.

Gather Tools For the Project

woodworking tools

Unless you buy pre-cut wood, you'll need a saw that can handle the job of cutting your boards and posts to size. You'll also want a drill, a hammer, wood glue, and some clamps to hold the pieces together as you fasten them. You may also want some wood putty to fill in holes made for screws, as well as a measuring tape and level to make sure that your finished bench won't be crooked or askew when you go to sit on it. This is especially important because even the slightest difference in leg length can result in a wobbly bench. That being said, a slight wobble won't be noticable if you place your bench on soil, where you'll be able to shore up the legs and let them ease into the dirt over time.

Sand, Paint, and Decorate Your Bench

stain your outdoor furniture to protect it from the elements

After you've cut the wood, assembled the pieces, and affixed each of them, you'll want to test the bench out make sure it is strong enough to support your weight. Then comes the most fun part of the process! Choose a good coarse sandpaper to remove all the rough patches on the bench. Once you've done that, use a finer sandpaper to give it a satin-like finish. During all this sanding, think about what kind of designs you might want to add. Many people choose to paint their outdoor furniture to both beautify it and protect it against wood rot in the rain. You can also consider staining it to bring out the hue of the wood. Wood burning, decorative accents, and carving can all add personal touches to your design and turn it into something that's truly your own.

Enjoy the View in the Garden!

garden bench

After you've completed your bench, make sure that you actually take the time go out and sit in the garden. A lot of people are so busy that they can barely take a moment to enjoy life before they think they have to run off to weed some more, water a parched plant, or mow the lawn. But when you think of how much time you've spent making this beautiful garden bench, it only makes sense for you to take a moment to enjoy life just as it is, whether it be with a glass of lemonade or a good book.