Introduction

cedar Compost Bench against an exterior house wall
Photo: Kolin Smith
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We love a good garden bench. A better garden bench is one that doubles as a compost bin. Inspired by benches at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in Brooklyn, New York, this one is open-bottomed so that the compost has ground contact. It's made of rot-resistant cedar boards spaced wide to promote good air circulation. The seat opens for easy turning of the compost, and the back and arms make it a perfect perch for a break from gardening. Follow along as This Old House contributor Christopher Beidel, owner of Pernt, a handmade-furniture company in Brooklyn, shows you how to make this piece—as practical as it is pretty.

Download a cut-list to make a Compost Bench here.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • spring clamp
      clamp
    • circular saw
      circular saw
    • bar clamp
      bar clamp
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • 1/8-inch bit with combination countersink
      combination countersink bit
    • 1/16-inch drill bit with combination countersink
      1/16-inch drill bit

    Shopping List

    1x4 clear cedar Get eleven 8-footers for the seat and supports.

    2x4 clear cedar Get five 8-footers for the corner posts.

    1x6 clear cedar Get eleven 8-footers for the slats.

    1x1 clear cedar Get one 8-footer for the seat lip.

    1¼- and 2½-inch deck screws

    48-inch continuous brass hinge