Garden Bench Plan: Build This Handy, Lightweight Bench

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“The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects” contains more than 35 projects that will enhance the efficiency and quality of vegetable growing, as well as the pleasure of spending time in and around your garden.

The following is an excerpt fromThe Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects (Storey Publishing, 2010). For a fraction of the cost of buying retail, this book will show you how to build handsome, handcrafted items that will encourage your vegetables to thrive, extend your growing season, or simply offer a place to relax among your plants. Each project is functional, attractive and easy to complete. This excerpt is from Chapter 2, “Building Projects for Harvesting and Preserving.”

With a handhold cut right into the edge of the seat, this lightweight bench is easy to tote around to different sections of the garden. When constructing it, drawing the curved cutting lines is handily done by tracing around a CD. Just be sure to double-check your measurements — they need to be precise for the pieces to screw together properly.


1″ x 12″ mahogany (8′ length)

Eighteen 21/4″ stainless steel trim-head screws
Four 1 5/8″ stainless steel trim-head screws

Tape measure
Carpenter’s square
Wood saw
Power drill
1/8″ twist drill bit
3/8″ spade drill bit
Driver bit to match screws


Cutting the lumber. From the 1-inch-by-12-inch, cut one 29-inch length for the aprons (A) and rip it in half lengthwise, resulting in two 29-by-6-inch apron pieces. Also from the 1-inch-by-12-inch board, cut one 30-inch length for the seat (B), and two 17 1/4-inch lengths for the legs (C). Use an old CD as a template to cut the openings for the handholds in the seat and aprons and the shaping at the bottom of the legs, as shown in the cutting diagram.

Constructing the bench. Connect the legs (C) by attaching the aprons (A) on either side. There should be a 2 1/2-inch overhang on each end. Next, center the seat (B) atop the leg assembly, and fasten it to the tops of the legs and (see diagram).

Builder’s Tips

  • When predrilling the screw holes, use a one-eighth-inch drill bit, then fasten all the pieces with 2 1/4-inch trim-head screws — but use 1 5/8-inch screws for the four seat corners to avoid hitting the screws in the apron boards.
  • When creating the handhold in the seat, use a three-eighths-inch bit to drill a starter hole for the jigsaw blade.

Reprinted with permission fromThe Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects, published by Storey Publishing, 2010.