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

Wooden porch storage bench
Photo by James Carriére

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.

Download the cut list to build a porch storage bench.


Steps // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage
1 ×

How to Build a Porch Storage Bench Overview

 
Step One // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

How to Build a Porch Storage Bench Overview

Diagram and illustrated parts of this porch storage bench
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

CUT LIST

You can use the cut list below or download the cut list to build a porch storage bench here.

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.
 

 
2 ×

Cut the Pieces

 
Step Two // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Cut the Pieces

Illustration and parts of this wooden porch storage bench
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.

 
3 ×

Build the Legs

 
Step Three // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Build the Legs

Illustration and parts of this wooden porch storage bench
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.

 
4 ×

Assemble the Bench Base

 
Step Four // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Assemble the Bench Base

Illustration and parts of this wooden porch storage bench
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.

 
5 ×

Cut and Insert the Hardware Cloth

 
Step Five // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Cut and Insert the Hardware Cloth

Illustration and parts of this wooden porch storage bench
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.

 
6 ×

Attach the Seat and Backrest

 
Step Six // How to Build a Bench With Hidden Storage

Attach the Seat and Backrest

Illustration and parts of this wooden porch storage bench
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.

 
 
 

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