Introduction

child enjoying a seat on an outdoor planter bench on a beautiful day
Photo: Kolin Smith
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There is lawn furniture, and then there is what you might call landscape furniture—custom seating built right into the terrain. Done right, it can create a little oasis in your yard or even on your deck. Take, for instance, this bench with planters for piers. Senior technical editor Mark Powers made the entire installation from rot- and weather-resistant cedar lumber using lap joinery, a sturdy construction method meant to keep the planter walls from bowing against pressure from roots, should you decide to plant trees. See how the project comes together step-by-step on the pages that follow.

The cedar lumber for this planter bench costs far less than built teak furniture but is just as weather resistant.
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    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • circular saw
      circular saw
    • jigsaw
      jigsaw
    • speed square
      Speed Square
    • drill
      drill/driver fitted with a -inch paddle bit
    • square spade
      garden spade
    • hammer
      hammer
    • tamper
      hand tamper
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun

    Shopping List

    1. cedar 2×4s Get twenty 8-foot boards to make the 16½-inch planter pieces and the 82½-inch-long seat frame.

    2. cedar 1¼×6s Get four 6-foot boards to make the 63-inch-long seat, and one 8-foot board to trim the tall planter.

    3. ¾-inch gravel for drainage below the planters and to fill the assembled planters. Get at least 1½ cubic feet (three bags).

    4. potting soil to top off the planters filled with gravel. Get four 32-quart bags.5. construction adhesive Get 4 tubes.

    6. 3-inch stainless-steel deck screws

    7. 2-inch stainless-steel deck screws

    8. 3-inch galvanized siding nails

    9. 12-inch galvanized spikes Get eight