Introduction

finished garden bench with garden tools
Photo: Tim Street-Porter
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You'd think the guy who ­commissioned the most famous gardens in the world would have provided people a place to relax and enjoy all that beauty. But check out a 17th-century etching of the Palace of Versailles and it's hard to find a place to sit on the royal grounds. Perhaps that's ­because Louis XIV had his minions carry him in a chair for his daily "strolls." But until you hire yourself some lackeys to cart you around, you'll probably want a nice place to plant yourself for the best view of your own stately landscape.

Get yourself a simple but comfy bench, and position it in a shady spot for your leisurely breaks. If you're good with a jigsaw, it's not difficult to make a nice contoured one with simple horizontal slats. Or you can find many similarly shaped ­offerings in garden catalogs and shops. A well-placed bench will be a welcome respite for the constant gardener, and the occasional regal admirer.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      circular saw to create the angled legs and cut the slats, spacers, and crosspieces to length
    • jigsaw
      jigsaw to shape the bench seat and round the seat back
    • drill
      Drill/Driver

    Shopping List

    1. 1x3 lumber to create the seat slats, leg spacer, and crosspieces. You'll need twelve 8-foot-long boards.

    2. 2x6 lumber to build a shaped seat and all four legs. You'll need two 8-foot-long boards.

    3. 2x4 lumber to support the back slats. You'll need one 8-foot-long board.

    4. 3/8-inch carriage bolts with a washer and nut to attach the legs. You'll need two bolts per leg.

    5. 1 5/8-inch large-head deck screws to attach the slats, crosspieces, and leg spacers.

    6. 120-grit sandpaper