Create a Legless Garden Bench
Have you ever wanted your plants and bench too? Or have you ever wanted a little something different that you could not find in a garden supply or catalogue. If the answer is yes, then I have the project for you.
This simple but modern design is easy to build but looks like you spent a lot. Its compact size makes it perfect for those who do not have a lot of room and for those landless farmers that are looking for a space to garden.
Large paper bag or cardboard
2 pounds 3 inch deck screws
Medium grit sandpaper
2 sturdy ceramic pots that are 17 to 19 inches in diameter
Plants of choice
Four 10 foot, 2 by 6s
Two 9 foot and 11 ½ inch 2 by 6s
Eight 19 ¼ inch 2 by 6s
Paint, stain and/or shellac
Paint brush or finish applicator
- Cut all the wood out according to the sizes indicated.
- Lay out the two 9 foot pieces on the ground and begin to do a dry run of the design. The skeleton of this bench looks like a ladder. To create this, place one of the 19 ¼ inch boards on each end. Secure with deck screws.
- Measure from each end 6 inches and then place another 19 ¼ inch board. Secure with deck screws.
- From this crossbar, measure down 18 ½ inches and lay down another 19 ¼ inch board.
- Repeat the process until all the 19 ¼ boards are used. Make sure that all deck screws are countersunk into the wood. At this point, your design should look like a ladder.
- Completely sand the piece using the medium grit sandpaper.
- Attach the four 10 foot pieces of wood so that there is ¼ overlap on each side and ¼ between each board.
- Sand the top boards until smooth.
- Next, trace the inside diameter of one of the pots and reduce this dimension by 2 inches.
- Cut this new size out, and center the paper on the first 18 ½. Trace the shape. Repeat on the other end.
- Cut out each circle with a saber saw.
- Sand the circle area.
- Apply desired finish.
Planting the Container
At this point the bench construction is done. The next step in this process is to plant the containers but before that can be done, the pots will need to be cleaned and sterilized. This can be done by submerging one pot at a time in a container of water with a touch of dish soap. Scrub to remove any soil, hard water stains and/or plant material. Rinse in clear water and place outside in the sun to dry. This later step is very important since you need to sterilize the container and the sun will do it for you.
Once the container is cleaned and sterilized, the next step is to create a drainage layer. This will need to be done whether the pot has a drainage hole or not. Several items can be used as drainage material, which includes potshards or even a paper coffee filter. If your container has a drainage hole, the coffee filter is fine to use. If, on the other hand, the pot has no drainage hole, use the potshards. This will create a layer between the soil and the bottom of the pot, which can be used as a water reserve if the container has been watered too much.
After the drainage material has been placed in the container, the nest step in this process is to add the soil. A good, all-purpose potting soil is all that is needed but if you are a forgetful gardener, consider adding a hydrogel. This simple substance absorbs water, holds it, and then releases it as plants need it.
Now that you have your soil, place it in the container until the pot is filled half way up. At this point, remove your chosen plant material from its container, tease the roots and place in the large pot. Fill in with soil until you are within a ¼ to ½ inch from the rim. Water in until moisture is seen coming out of the bottom of the pot or until the soil feel completely damp. An easy way to test the soil moisture is to stick your finger into soil until you reach your palm. Then, pull your finger straight out. If the finger comes out covered with soil, then the container does not need to be watered. If, on the other hand, your finger comes out dry, then you will need to water.
Repeat the above process with the other container.
After the planters have been planted, the next step is to place your bench over each planter. Adjust as necessary.
While this project appears to be straight forward, there are a few hints that will make the construction easier. One, always wear eye protection, and gloves when working with the wood, which includes any activity that involves cutting, sanding, and/or finishing. Two, plant the pots where you would like the bench to be located. Believe it or not, these planters can be heavy and in doing so can be an issue to move. To prevent this, plant them in place when possible. Three, do no limit yourself to a simple planting. Small trees, roses, and even a fountain can go into these containers. Four, protect your project in the winter by storing the bench in the garden shed and empting the containers, especially if you live in an area that receives temperatures below 32 degrees F. If you have large plantings in these containers, transplant them into other areas before closing down the garden bench for the season.