4 DIY Outdoor Bench Plans (FREE) for a Modern Garden Under $45

4 Modern DIY Outdoor Bench Plans - FREE

We picked these 4 modern outdoor bench plans for your next DIY project. What unite these designs is their minimalism. The benches are also similar in size, and are great for a patio or garden.

We love all four wooden designs, and it's difficult to chose the best one or the easiest to build.

All 4 are simple enough to build over the weekend. But they require different tools to assemble - see details below.

The costs are given based on Home Depot's lumber prices as of June 2019.

Each plan is built from outdoor treated wood.


FREE PLANS

Each free DIY plan comes with overall dimensions, cut-to dimensions, lumber specification, cost estimate table, assembly diagram and step-by-step assembly instructions. ​

Here's all 4 at a glance ... the pictures look smaller but will Pin in actual larger size.

Slatted Bench

Slat Bench Plan

Rustic Bench

Rustic Bench Plan

WS Inspired Bench

WS Inspired Bench Plan

Easy DIY Bench

Easy DIY Bench Plan

Modern Slatted Outdoor Bench

Our first contender is the famous Anna White outdoor bench, built from 2x4's and 1x4's. This neat slat design resembles the urban benches you can find installed along the city streets or in parks.

This is a perfect modern contemporary plan.

Estimated Cost: $43​. Overall Dimensions: L 70" x W 15" x H 19.5"

Slatted bench looks very modern

It's an awesome plan that is possible to assemble with only a wood glue, with no screws. But of course, using screws during assembly will make it easier to accomplish and the screws will hold the glued boards nicely together.

Overall Design and Dimensions

Anna White outdoor bench building plan - overall dimensions are W 15-in x L 70-in x H 19.5-in

Our plan is only slightly different from the one by Anna White. It's 19.5" high vs. hers 18". We think it's a more comfortable height for an outdoor bench.

In addition, we offer complete and precise specs for materials and cuts that are designed for the least of leftovers and the smallest budget.

Nothing goes to waste with our plan.

Tools needed to build:

Power Drill, Hand Sander, Wood Screws, Wood Glue, Miter Saw (or cut at Home Depot)​

Assembly Diagram

Slatted Bench DIY Building Plan

Step By Step Assembly Instructions:

​To keep the bench appearance uniform, we suggest you follow these steps for assembly.

Step 1:   As shown above, lay out one long 2x4 (70") and two short 2x4's (16") on the floor. Position one 1x4 (19.5") on top, apply glue and screw it down to both the long and the short pieces. Repeat on the other side. Use 2" wood screws. Here's one good video that shows you where to apply screws.
Step 2:   Add a layer of 2x4's on top of the 1x4's - see step 2 on the image above. Use glue and 2" wood screws.
Step 3:   Next, repeat with a layer of 1x4's, driving screws into both the long and the short 2x4's.
Step 4:   Continue with steps 2 and 3 until done.

Watch this video for an alternative way of assembling it, to achieve a more rustic appearance. 

Cut to dimensions:

Cuts are designed to have the least of leftovers

Boards to Buy and Cost Estimate:

Material

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

1 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Common Board

2

$ 3.36

$6.72

2 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber

1

$ 5.37

$ 5.37

2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft.  #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber

7

$ 4.47

$ 31.29

Total Cost

$ 43.38

Finishing Ideas:

original bench plan from Ana White
not painted slatted bench
bench with slats colored dark blue
fully painted slatted bench

You can make this bench from regular pressure-treated outdoor lumber, leave it unstained and let it patina over time, to blend in with the rest of your patio furniture and decor.

You can use a bit more costly "Cedar-tone" lumber, to make it look like the one on the right top image above. This way you'll achieve a beautiful and natural wood look without staining or painting.

You can make this bench look architectural and expensive by staining the long top boards only - see two images on the left.

Or you can paint an entire bench, to make a colorful statement.​

No matter what finishing option you choose, this modern bench will look great. It's a treat for your eyes and your patio space!

TIP: Sand and paint or stain prior to building.​ Especially if you want to stain only the top long boards.


Williams Sonoma Inspired Outdoor Bench

For a DIY work, this is a gorgeous bench design, no questions about it! Perfectly clean lines for a modern look. It doesn't even look homemade. It looks like an expensive piece of outdoor furniture! For the costs, the finished quality is awesome.

But there is a caveat. Because this is glue-it-together type of a construction, some people think that they can easily build this plan without using power tools. But in order to achieve such clean lines and a modern look, one has to mill down the rough and rounded edges of all 2x4 boards. And for that you need a table saw. Plus you need clamps to hold glued pieces together.

This masterfully executed, WS inspired DIY plan is by Amy at diycandy.com.

Estimated Cost: $28​. Overall Dimensions: L 40" x W 13.5" x H 16"

Williams Sonoma Inspired Outdoor Bench

While the finished piece looks great, making it will take some serious effort and the right tools. The main trick, of course, is to have 2×4’s cut the edges off. Amy had them milled down to 1.5″x3.25″ from their actual size of 1.5″x3.5″.

Once done, you have clean and straight wood boards to work with. This step alone assures the quality of your bench.

The second important step is to sand the boards to level out any imperfections and to cut the ends slightly to ensure exact same length. This will require a power sander and a miter saw. See Amy's blog for more detailed instructions.

The overall dimensions shown below account for the reduced board width of 3.25".​

WS Inspired Bench - DIY Building Plan

Also, you don’t want to overspend on materials. So to assure this DIY project is moving ahead on a budget from the start, we provided the exact size of boards to buy and the precise cut-to dimensions per each board.

See the cut list shown below. There should practically be no leftovers if cutting the standard Home Depot lumber.

WS Inspired Bench - cutting dimensions

Please note: this plan is built entirely from 2x4's. So once fully assembled, it's going to be quite heavy.

Boards to Buy and Cost Estimate:

Material

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

2 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber

1

$ 5.37

$ 5.37

2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft.  #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber

5

$ 4.47

$ 22.35

Total Cost

$ 27.72

Tools Needed

Power Sander, Miter Saw, Table Saw, Wood Glue, Bar Clamps

Assembly Diagram

WS Inspired Bench - assembly diagram

Please note: the 2×4’s shown above are milled down to 3-1/4″ from their actual width of 3-1/2″. Basically, you need to trim 1/8" off each side using a table saw, which is approximately equivalent to the thickness of the blade.

Assembly Instructions

This is a glue-it-together type construction … so you need to attach layers one by one while using clamps to hold them together. See the image above for assembly diagram.
Also Amy has provided very descriptive step-by-step assembly instructions on her blog. We highly recommend you use them.

TIP: look for a type 3 wood glue like Titebond 3  - it's stronger, waterproof and is more suitable for outdoor use.

Once your bench is full assembled, leave it to dry overnight while keeping it clamped.

In a perfect world, you would also use a wood planer to shave off 1/8 of an inch from all sides of 2x4’s, to create perfectly straight and even boards. But if you're like me, who doesn't have a planner, you will find that some of the edges aren't straight nor even. 

The answer to this is to sand off the imperfections after your bench assembly is fully dried. Best to use a belt sander but an orbital (round) sander will do also.

Finishing Options

This is an an outdoor wood bench and it's a modern design ... so you would want to stain it to give it a more contemporary look and preserve it from the elements. A good idea is to stain it with an outdoor stain and sealer while applying at least two coats.

TIP: use a marine varnish for staining.

While you would normally build a garden bench from pressure treated wood, consider other options for outside use.

If you live on the West Coast, you may decide building this plan from Redwood instead of pressure treated, for a somewhat higher cost. It will last forever and you wont have to stain it.


Rustic Modern Bench Plan

The simple design and the compact size make this bench a very versatile outdoor piece that can be used as a bench, a table, or to display outdoor decorations. Even a dining table can be made based on this plan - simply increase the dimensions to fit your design idea.

Built entirely from 4x4's, this small bench plan is introduced by Ashley at her Cherished Bliss blog.

Modern and stylish, you can sit on it or use it as an accent piece.

It will look equally comfortable on your back patio or by your front door. 
How convenient would it be for the mailman to put all your boxes on this bench.

We show you how simple it is to build this cool rustic plan. You could be making one this weekend.

Estimated Cost: $27. Overall Dimensions: L 36" x W 14" x H 18"

Rustic Bench on the front porch
Rustic Modern Bench

This bench plan is relatively easy to build if you have the right tools. The plan is based on 4x4's which are heavier and thicker boards than 2x4's. So it's best to use a KREG JIG HD (Heavy Duty) to make joins.

Tools Needed

KREG JIG HD (see image below)
KREG Face Clamp (Classic 3" Clamp will do - see image below)
RANDOM ORBIT SANDER
MITER SAW
WOOD GLUE
2 1/2" SCREWS

Kreg Jig is used to assemble a bench

Boards to Buy and Cost Estimate:

Material

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

4 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Timber

1

$ 12.77

$ 12.77

4 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Timber

2

$ 7.17

$ 14.34

Total Cost

$ 27.11

Please note: this bench, once fully assembled, will be sturdy but very heavy. So, if possible, it's best to assemble it where it'll be installed..

TIP: By making it taller and wider you could transform it into a kitchen island.

Rustic Bench Plan - Overall Dimensions

Cut-to Dimensions

Cuts are a few and they are straight forward. You can make them all at your local Home Depot store.

1 board 4 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. is cut into 8 equal pieces of 14.5″. These will be assembled into bench legs.
2 boads 4 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft. are cut in half each. The 4 resulting pieces will become the bench top.

Rustic Bench Plan - cutting dimensions

Assembly Diagram

Rustic Bench Plan - Assembly Diagram

Assembly Instructions

The very detailed step-by-step assembly instructions can be found here. But here they are in a brief, to give you a quick idea on what would it take (see image above):

Step 1 - On 36" boards, drill pocket holes with your Kreg Jig HD. Join 4 boards together with 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and exterior wood glue, to create the bench top.

Step 2 - On 14 1/2" pieces, drill pocket holes. Join 4 pieces to make one leg with 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and exterior wood glue. Repeat for the 2nd leg.

Step 3 - Line up your legs 6" from the bench top edge (as shown above). Attach legs to the top with screws and glue.

Step 4 - Fill pocket holes with wood plugs or wood filler. Let them dry out.

Step 5 - Sand the bench to perfection. Use sander to round the edges to avoid sharp edges.

Finishing Options

Apply stain of your color choice and a clear exterior sealant, to preserve your garden bench from the elements.


Easy DIY Bench Plan for Indoors and Outdoors

We found this modern bench plan on Julie's NotJustaHouseWife blog. She did a great job designing and painting it. Indeed, this design is all about painting it the right way, to make it a nice decorative piece. Notice that she also made sure to grind smooth all of the edges.

It's a very interesting plan. But it's created for the indoors and primarily as an accent piece.

This could also be the least expensive bench plan out of 4 presented in this collection. But the addition of metal brackets makes it more expensive.

We saw an opportunity to make it less expensive and more suitable for the outdoors. So we modified the original plan slightly. Our version uses no brackets, it's cheaper and more sturdy.

Easy DIY Bench in the foyer
Easy DIY Bench with only legs painted
Easy DIY Bench with legs and top painted in different colors

We present our modified plan first. If you're more interested in Julie's original plan then please scroll down.

Enhanced Outdoor Plan

Estimated Cost: $17​. Overall Dimensions: L 48" x W 14" x H 18"

Easy DIY Bench - Building Plan

Though we changed Julie's plan a bit, it looks the same from the outside. But it's assembled differently.

We turned the 3 cross boards 90 degree and added one extra one (shown above in dark green), to create a nice and rigid seat frame. The top 4 long boards (shown in light green) are attached on top of it and directly to the frame.

The frame then is screwed to the legs. Each leg should have screws driven into it from 3 surrounding boards, some straight into it and other at the angle using a Kreg Jig.

Cut-to Dimensions

Easy DIY Bench Plan - cutting dimensions

Boards to Buy and Cost Estimate:

Material

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Board

1

$ 2.51

$2.51

1 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Board

2

$ 3.72

$ 7.44

4 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Timber

1

$ 7.17

$ 7.17

Total Cost

$ 17.12

Bench Top Assembly Diagram

The assembly is straight forward and self-explanatory, as shown.

​Simply follow the 3 steps shown below. Drive screws through the boards into the frame, there is no need to use a Kreg Jeg here.

Easy DIY Bench Plan - assembly diagram

Original Interior Plan

Estimated Cost: $31.40​. Overall Dimensions: L 48" x W 14" x H 18"

This plan costs more because of the addition of metal brackets.

Easy DIY Bench Plan for Interior

All dimensions given above are in actual sizes.

All of the hardware is attached from underneath and is not visible which is great for an interior type design. The seat boards are joined using the Kreg Jig. This type of join is great for decorative purposes.

Cut-to Dimensions

Easy DIY Bench Plan - cut to dimensions for Interior

Boards to Buy and Cost Estimate:

Material

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Board

1

$ 2.51

$2.51

1 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Board

2

$ 3.72

$ 7.44

4 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft. #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Timber

1

$ 7.17

$ 7.17

Everbilt 2 in. Zinc-Plated Double-Wide Corner Brace (2-Pack)

4 pairs (8)

$ 3.57 per pair

$ 14.28

Total Cost

$ 31.40

As you can see above, the original plan is a bit more expensive than our modified version. It would be perfect for the foyer or an open plan kitchen. Placed by the window, it could serve as a reading nook.

Assembly Diagram

Please see the very detailed assembly guide at notjustahousewife.net.

Easy DIY Bench Plan - assembly diagram for interior

See image below on how to attach metal brackets to the legs. We suggest you mark the holes on the legs by lining them up with the bench top on the flat surface. Mark and screw two brackets to each leg first.

Easy DIY Bench Plan - metal bracket detail
Easy DIY Bench Plan - metal bracket assembly step by step

Image above is from notjustahousewife.com

Finishing Options

As suggested by Julie, paint legs before attaching them. The rest of the bench can be finished with clear stain.

We hope you'll enjoy one of these free plans. Happy DIY woodworking!​

FREE DIY Outdoor bench plans
About Joe Hats 35 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of FreshPatio.