Thomas J. Story
Sand the frame
Space the 10-foot lengths and screw to the frame so the edges overhang ¼ inch on all sides.
Measure the inside diameter of one pot. On heavy paper or scrap cardboard, draw and cut out a circle that is 2 inches less in diameter.
Cut out each circle using the saber saw
Sand the cut sides and bench top, then seal wood with a deck stain/sealer.
The hardest part of building a wood bench is ensuring that its legs are sturdy and well attached.
So to make it easy to build this 10-foot-long bench, we designed a bench top that rests on a pair of oversize ceramic pots.
Add plants or trees to enrich the look; we used New Zealand flax.
The bench frame and top are made of 2-by-6 decking. (Seek sustainable choices.) For a comfortable seating height, choose pots that are about 18 inches tall and wide (no wider than 19 inches for this bench).
Look for thick-walled, wide-lipped pots that have been high-fired and glazed; avoid unfired terra-cotta. For safety, lift bench top periodically and check pots for cracks.
Click small image at left for building diagram.
The cost of the project is about $300, depending on the type of wood and pots.
- Electric drill
- Tape measure
- Electric sander
- Pencil and scissors
- Saber saw
- Four 10-ft. 2-by-6s
- Two 9-ft., 11½-in. 2-by-6s
- Eight 19¼-in. 2-by-6s
- 2 lbs. 3-in. deck screws
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Two very sturdy ceramic pots
- Heavy paper or scrap cardboard
- Deck stain/sealer (we used the Flood Company's CWF-UltraLast, www.flood.com or 800/321-3444)
How to make the planter bench
- Following the diagram at left (click the thumbnail below the top image), build the bench's ladder-like frame, countersinking all screws.
- Sand the frame. Space the 10-foot lengths and screw to the frame so the edges overhang ¼ inch on all sides.
- Measure the inside diameter of one pot (ours is just under 17 in.). On a piece of heavy paper or scrap cardboard, draw and cut out a circle that is 2 inches less in diameter.
- With a helper, place pots under appropriate section of the bench top, as you carefully lower top onto pots. Center the cutout circle over each pot and trace its outline.
- Cut out each circle using the saber saw. Sand the cut sides and bench top, then use the paintbrush to seal wood with a deck stain/sealer.
- Place the pots in their desired location and position bench top before filling pots with soil. Add plantings through the cutouts.