The Raised Vegetable Garden with built in Compost bins I built last year was great. The only problem is I can’t sit on it. So this year I build an Outdoor Bench With Raised Planters to match it! Made with basic materials from any big box store, this is an easy DIY build you can complete in a day!
This post is sponsored by Diablo Tools. Working with metal like angle iron might be intimidating, but it’s easier than you think!
- 36″ x 1-1/2″ x 1/8″ Steel Angle Iron (8)
- 2x4x8 Pressure Treated Boards (9)
- 2x8x8 Pressure Treated Board (1)
- 3/4″x6x6 Cedar Fence Picket (13)
- 5/16″ x 1-1/2″ Hex Head Lag Screw (16)
- 5/16″ Washer
- 1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Carriage Bolt (8)
- 1/2″ Hex Head Nut (8)
- 1/2″ Washer (16)
Tools & Supplies Used
- Miter Saw
- Drill and Driver
- Table Saw
- Circular Saw
- Reciprocating Saw or Jig Saw
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Exterior Wood Glue
- 1/2″ Drill Bit
- Diablo Wood & Metal Circular Saw Blade
- Diablo 1/4″ to 1/2″ Impact Step Drill Bit
- Diablo Rough In Scrolling Carbide Reciprocating Saw Blade
- Diablo Reusable Sanding Block
Metal Made Easy
Check out this quick video to see how I used these new Diablo Tool abrasives and cutting accessories to make angle iron easy! Estimated cost of this project is $175-$200 (not including plants and paint).
Outdoor Bench With Planters
Step 1 – Planter Box Frame
For each planter box, cut (4) four 2×4’s to 26″, (4) four 2×4’s to 23″ and (4) four 2×4’s to 11-1/4″. Then using a pocket hole jig with the depth set to 1-1/2″ pre-drill holes into the ends of the 23″ and 11-1/4″ boards. Remember this is for a single planter box, so you’ll need to duplicate this process for the pair.
Step 2 – Planter Box Frame Box
Using 2-1/2″ exterior screws and wood glue, attach the 23″ lengths on the inside of the 26″ boards to make a box frame. You’ll make two of these total for each planter.
Step 3 – Planter Box Vertical Supports
Using 2-1/2″ exterior screws and wood glue, attach the 11-1/4″ vertical supports to the box frame. I alternated the direction of mine, but you can arrange them all inward facing.
Step 4 – Planter Box Assembly
Using 2-1/2″ exterior screws and wood glue, attach the remaining top frame box to the frame base. Your final dimensions should be 26 x 26 x 18-1/4″.
Step 5 – Angle Iron Legs
For this step, make sure you check out the video above using the Diablo Tool accessories that made the metal legs easy to work with.
Mark and pre-drill holes for lag screws in all 8 legs. I used the Diablo Step Drill bit to make two holes (one top & one bottom of frame) in the angle iron. I then used a circular saw and a Diablo Metal Cutting blade to cut my angle iron to 24″. I then use the Diablo Sanding Block to with 120 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface for better paint adhesion. I then painted and sealed all 16 legs and attached to the frame with 5/16″ lag screws with washers to each frame.
Step 6 – Planter Box Siding
Before cutting the cedar pickets, I cut some scrap 2×6 I had sitting around to reinforce the bench side of the planter boxes. You can also use your 2×4 cut offs. I attached them with wood screws once the cedar planks were installed though.
For each planter box cut (8) eight cedar pickets to 18-1/2″ (leaves 1/4″ overhang). The pickets should be 3/4″ x 6″ wide, but there’s a wide tolerance on accuracy for fence posts. Start from the middle and install the 6″ boards (pre-drill to prevent splitting) with wood screws. For the outer boards you’ll need to cut (8) eight more to 18-1/2″ and then rip down to about 5-1/2″ with a table saw. None of mine were exactly 5-1/2″ because of the picket variance so I cut to size. Once the sides are on, I attached the extra support cut off with wood screws to only the inward side for the bench.
Step 7 – Seat Support
Cut a 2×4 to roughly 25″ for the seat mounting support. On the front facing side of the planter mark 4-3/4″ from the bottom of the cedar plank. This will roughly be the height of the front of the bench seat. Then line up the 2×4 to overlap the 4-3/4″ mark and the back bottom corner of the last cedar plank. Mark the angle on the 2×4 for the edge of the cedar planks and then use a miter saw to cut off the excess so the 2×4 will sit flush once back in place.
Tack the 2×4 into place using wood screws and then pre-drill for the carriage bolts using a 1/2″ drill bit. Make sure hitting a 2×4 support (avoiding your previous screws) or mounting into the scrap wood you installed in Step 6. Attach the carriage bolts to both ends of the 2×4 using washers on both sides. Do this for both planter boxes.
Step 8 – Back Support
Cut a 2×4 to 16-1/2″. Resting flush on the seat support, line the 2×4 up so the back facing edge crosses over the top, back corner of the cedar plank. Then tack in with a wood screw, and pre-drill with a 1/2″ drill bit for the carriage bolts. Make sure you’re drilling into the frame or scrap wood from Step 6 and then attach using the carriage bolts with washers on both ends. Do this for both planters.
Step 9 – Bench Seat
Cut a (2) two 2×4’s to 42″ and (1) one 2×8 to 42″. Starting from the front, attach the first 2×4 using wood screws directly into the the seat support from Step 7. Make sure you pre-drill to avoid splitting. Space roughly a 1/4″ and then install the 2×8. Space another 1/4″ and install the final 2×4.
Step 10 – Bench Back
Cut (2) two more 2×4’s to 42″ and (1) more 2×8 to 42″. Starting from the bottom this time and leaving about 1/4″ spacing from the height of the seat, install the first 2×4 using wood screws. Make sure you pre-drill to avoid splitting. Space roughly 1/4″ and then install the 2×8 and then final 2×4.
Step 11 – Planter Box Bottom
For our planter boxes I opted not to fill the entire planter with dirt and used plastic pots instead. I used these 20″x 18.25″ self watering pots from Home Depot. You can use your scrap wood to create a bottom and then add hardware cloth for holding soil if you choose to go that route. I used my remaining cedar pickets and cut (2) two pieces to 26″ for each planter. I then set them as far apart as the inside supports would allow and then traced around the bottom of the plastic pot.
Then I cut out that round shape so the pot could sit inset and sit slightly below the top of the planter. I used the Diablo Rough In Reciprocating Saw blade, but you can also easily use a jig saw. I then attached the pieces with wood screws.
For the planter itself, once in place, I took an empty plastic flower pot leftover from planting and placed it upside down and then spread a layer of rocks around it before adding my base soil. That acts as a filler and drainage so you don’t over water your plants for a planter pot this big.
Step 12 – Add Plants And Enjoy
Add your favorite plants. Sit down and relax!
There’s A Matching Raised Planter!
If you liked this build, you’ll definitely love the Raised Veggie Garden that this bench matches. It has built in compost bins and hanging baskets for a full service vegetable garden eco-system!
~ Lazy Guy
*This build was sponsored by Diablo Tools. The Diablo accessories were provided to me by Diablo Tools to test in my workflow and I was compensated for my time and opinion. My opinion is my own.