How To Make a Simple Outdoor Bench

If you have an outdoor space where you want to create a haven but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy patio furniture, build an easy bench with basic construction materials. Concrete cinder blocks and wood posts make a clever seating arrangement, and no tools are needed. Though cinder blocks can be heavy, this project is easy to make and doesn't take long to complete.

Simple and stylish outdoor seating
credit: Sarah Hamilton
A garden oasis

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete cinder blocks, ( 14 )
  • Four-by-four wood posts, 6 feet long, ( 6 )
  • Drop cloth
  • Concrete adhesive
  • Caulking gun
  • Wet cloth
  • Exterior paint, 1 gallon
  • 2-inch paintbrush
  • Sawhorses
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain and waterproofer
  • 3-inch paintbrush

TIP: A hardware store will cut the wood posts to size for you.

Supplies for this project
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Cinder block bench supplies

TIP: Build the bench close to where it will be placed. After it is assembled, the blocks are very heavy.

Step 1: Apply Adhesive

Draw an outline along the solid side of a cinder block approximately 1/2 inch from the edge, and draw an X shape in the center using concrete adhesive.

Add concrete adhesive to the first block.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Add concrete adhesive.

Step 2: Stack Cinder Blocks

Place the long and solid side of one cinder block on top of the block with the adhesive, matching up the edges to form a solid structure.

Glue together two cinder blocks.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Stack two cinder blocks.

Step 3: Build the Cinder Block Base

Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have a stack of four cinder blocks. Allow the adhesive to dry for approximately one hour before continuing to the next step.

The base of the cinder block supports.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Four cinder blocks form the base of the structure.

TIP: If concrete adhesive spills out through the seams, remove it quickly with a damp cloth.

Step 4: Build the Second Base

Repeat steps 1 through 3, building the second side of the bench structure.

Build two identical block structures.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Build two cinder block supports.

Step 5: Turn the Blocks

Bring the long side of the four-cinder block structure onto the ground. Apply concrete adhesive to the top of the 4 block base. Add adhesive to the small side of one cinder block.

Turn the structure so that the 4 blocks sit vertically.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Building up the base.

Step 6: Add a Fifth Block

Place the block on top of the base so that the short side with adhesive faces the center of the base.

Build up the base of the structure.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
This creates a strong base.

Step 7: Finish the Bench Seat

Place the long side of another cinder block on top of the adhesive, and push the top two cinder blocks together tightly.

This top row forms the sitting level of the bench.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
This top row of cinder blocks will hold the wood posts.

Step 8: Prepare the Back Support

Apply concrete adhesive to the small side of one cinder block.

The last block to add.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Last block of the structure.

Step 9: Attach the Back

Align the block with the end of the base and place it down. Align the block before you place it down, to avoid visible adhesive. Repeat this process for the second side structure.

This last block holds the wood posts for the back of the bench.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
This block forms the back supports.

Step 10: Paint the Blocks

Paint all sides of the cinder block structures with exterior house paint and a good painter's brush. Apply a heavy amount of paint so that it sinks into the nooks of the concrete blocks, and then brush away the excess paint. Check the edges for drips, and use the brush to remove them.

The paint will seal the concrete blocks.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
The color options are endless!

Step 11: Sand the Posts

Sand off the rough edges at the end of each post with rough sandpaper.

Clean up the ends of the post.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Remove potential splinters.

Step 12: Smooth the Posts

Sand each side of the posts to remove any rough edges or markings from the lumberyard.

Smooth away rough edges.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Only a light sanding is needed.

Step 13: Seal the Wood

Apply a coat of wood stain and waterproofer with a wide paintbrush. Use long, smooth strokes to avoid brush marks. Turn the post once to paint the adjacent side. Allow the stain to dry for approximately one hour before turning it to paint the opposite sides of the post.

Seal the wood with clear waterproofer if a natural wood is preferred.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Stains come in many colors!

Step 14: Remove Drips

Check the ends of the posts for drips and remove with the brush before they dry.

Remove drips of stain.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Watch for dripping stain.

Step 15: Assemble the Bench

Allow the painted blocks to dry overnight before assembling the bench. Move the two cinder block structures approximately 5 feet apart. Insert one end of a post through a hole in a cinder block and then into the opposite hole. Two posts will form the back support, and four posts will make the seat of the bench.

Thread the posts one end at a time.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Thread the posts through the cinder blocks.

Step 16: Align the Posts

Move the cinder block structures closer together until the posts stick out approximately 2 to 3 inches at each end.

A design detail.
credit: Sarah Hamilton
This adds strength and beauty!

Step 17: Add a Few Accents

Add a few plants and pillows and enjoy your new outdoor living space.

Bring a book!
credit: Sarah Hamilton
Time for a garden party!

Hey Look... It's Tiny! Watch the Video

Simple Outdoor Bench DIY

It's TINY! Full-sized DIY:

Posted by eHow on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sarah Hamilton

Sarah Hamilton is a professional artist and dressmaker in Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and has since been working in all forms of the visual arts. She is happiest in her studio, painting, sewing, or crafting anything from nothing.