Nature-Loving Garden Bench

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Outdoor materials and sound joinery make for a bench that lasts.

Designer/Builder/Writer: Andy Rae

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to spend some quality time outside—sitting down, of course! To serve this purpose, why not make a great outdoor bench that you can “plant” in the garden or on a patio? This classically-inspired bench is fun to make, and it’s constructed using a weather-resistant wood. We chose cypress, because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and known for its weather resistance. Other insect- and decay-resistant woods include redwood and cedar. 

For solid joinery, we chose mortise and tenon. To build your skill set, we’ll show how to mill the mortises with a router and a pair of edge guides, but you can also use a benchtop mortiser or employ the loose-tenon routing jig on page 28 to  bore the mortise half of the joint. You can use a jig on both mating parts of the joint and replace the more time-eating traditional tenon with a loose one. As long as your joints fit snugly, nobody—not even your bench—will detect the difference. 

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