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How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Corral your garden hoses with a handsome piece of outdoor furniture that cleverly conceals them under a lift-open seat.

An outdoor bench makes a convenient place to plop down while you remove muddy boots. You'll rest even easier knowing it can store a garden hose (or two) and other less-than-attractive supplies.

You can buy a bench that echoes your home's style, but finding an affordable one may be harder than it sounds. Or you can opt to build one like this from weather-resistant cedar or ipe.

Lift up the seat and you'll find a floor made of hardware cloth, a galvanized metal screen that allows water to escape, so you don't have to worry about storing a hose before it drains. The angled backrest, with its decorative curve, adds to the inviting aesthetic of a piece that's as handsome as it is handy. Read on to learn how to build the piece.

How to Build a Porch Storage Bench Overview

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Shopping List

1. 1x6 cedar boards

Get eight 8-foot boards and rip two and a half of them to a 1x5 size (actual size: 4½ inches). Get one 6-foot board.

*This is a great project to make out of leftover deck boards as well. Just be sure to take into account teh additional thickness of the ½ lumber.

2. 1x2 cedar boards

Get two 6-foot boards to make the cleats.

3. Hardware cloth

4. 1¼-inch trim head stainless-steel deck screws

5. ½-inch staples


Download the cut list to build a porch storage bench.

  • 1x5 back legs: 4 @ 37 inches
  • 1x5 front legs: 2 @ 16 inches
  • 1x3 ¾ front-leg side pieces: 2 @ 16 inches
  • 1x6 base sides: 4 @ 46½ inches
  • 1x6 base sides: 4 @ 18¾ inches
  • 1x2 cleats: 2 @ 44 inches
  • 1x2 cleats: 2 @ 17 inches
  • 1x6 back rest: 2 @ 48 inches
  • 1x5 hinge strip: 1 @ 46½ inches
  • 1x6 seat lid: 3 @ 48 inches
  • 1x6 seat battens: 2 @ 12¾ inches
  • Hardware cloth: 1 @ 18¾ by 45 inches

If you have trouble finding 1x5 lumber, rip the 1x5 pieces from 1x6 boards.

Step 1: Cut the Pieces

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Cut your cedar stock into assembly pieces according to the cut list. Mark an arch across the upper backrest board and cut it with a jigsaw. Mark and cut an angle into the top half of two back-leg pieces to create the backrest slope.

Step 2: Build the Legs

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Fasten the pieces of each front leg into an L-shape, with the front board overlapping the edge of the narrower side board. Build the back legs with the side boards overlapping the edge of the back boards, angled edges forward.

Step 3: Assemble the Bench Base

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Attach a 1×2 cleat flush with the bottom edge of the bottom boards for the base. To build the base, fasten two long boards to the inside of the front legs, and two more to the back legs, equal height from the bottom. Sandwich the side pieces between the front and back and fasten them to the legs. Drill a hole in the back for a hose.

Step 4: Cut and Insert the Hardware Cloth

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Using tin snips, cut the hardware cloth and secure it to the 1×2 cleats with a staple gun and ½-inch staples.

Step 5: Attach the Seat and Backrest

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Attach the stationary hinge strip between the back legs. Secure two battens across the underside of the seat boards to hold them together. Attach a piano hinge to the front edge of the hinge strip and the back edge of the seat. Screw the backrest boards to the angled front edge of the back legs, and attach a hook-and-eye latch to hold up the lid.