• A circular tree bench provides a comfy, stay-cool spot in your yard for years to come. In this video, This Old House's technical editor Mark Powers shows how to build one:

    1. Measure the tree's diameter. Add 6 inches for a mature tree or 12 inches for a young one. Divide the total by 1.75 to find the inside length of the ring of boards closest to the tree.

    2. Cut 6 pieces of scrap lumber or cardboard to this length, with 30-degree miters on either end. Assemble them around the tree. Attach 18-inch scrap leg at the joints.

    3. Cut an inner seat board from 5/4-inch decking. Lay three boards parallel to it with ¼-inch spacers between them, and transfer the end angles to the uncut boards. Cut the boards to length.

    4. Cut 5 more seat boards at each length. Arrange the boards in a hexagon.

    5. Make 12 leg assemblies from two 2x6s sandwiched between two stringers. Bevel the front of each stringer 30 degrees. Bolt the assemblies together.

    6. Build two sets of two joined sections of the bench. Place the sets on opposite sides of the tree, and join them at the adjoining legs.

    7. Make the backrest from six boards cut to the length of the inner seat boards. Bevel the ends of the backrest. Glue the backrests and seat boards together. Glue and screw the backrest boards together. Then screw the inner seat boards to the stringers.

    8. Make an apron for the bench from six boards, cut to length and beveled 30-degrees at either end. Screw the apron in place under the outer seat boards. Sand rough spots.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Make the bench with a partner who can help you lift heavy pieces and fit the sections together.
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      Tools List

      • miter saw
        Compound miter saw or circular saw
      • drill
        drill/driver with a -inch spade bit and 3/32x3-inch bit
      • speed square
        Speed square
      • bar clamps
        Clamps
      • adjustable wrench
        Adjustable wrench
      • four-foot level
        4-foot level
      • garden spade
        Garden spade
      • sandpaper
        120-grit sandpaper

      Shopping List

      1. Strips of scrap lumber or cardboard to make a template and spacers

      2. ¼-inch-thick scrap lumber or shims

      3. 5/4x6 decking by Kebony, a specially impregnated and thermally modified pine that is rot- and insect-resistant, for the seat and stringers for the leg assemblies. Measure your tree so that you know how much to buy. 4. 2x6 framing by Kebony for the backrest, legs, and apron

      5. x4-inch galvanized carriage bolts

      6. -inch galvanized locking washers

      7. -inch nuts

      8. 2-inch stainless-steel deck screws

      9. 3-inch stainless-steel deck screws

      10. Wood glue