Build this easy, rustic farmhouse bench with just your saw and drill. No special tools required!
Today, I have an easy to build DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench to share with you all. And it’s super affordable, winning! In fact, you can buy the lumber you’ll need for less than $50. BUT you could also use old lumber, like I did. I planed down old fence boards my husband was going to burn to make our bench. So ours was 100% free. More winning! AND, this bench is supposed to look rustic. Check out my L-shaped backyard bench for a bench with a more polished, stylish look. That bench actually won 1st runner up in a bench building challenge. Yippee.
Whether you’re using old or new lumber, the build steps are the same. You can also use pressure treated or non-pressure treated lumber, depending on your preference. The old fence boards I used are pressure treated. Which is probably why I was able to save so much of those 20-year old boards.
If you don’t use pressure treated lumber, you’ll definitely need to protect the wood from the elements with paint, stain, and/or outdoor polyurethane or spar urethane. Especially where the legs meet the ground. For this bench, I used a Zinnser 123 Primer and a couple coats of an Exterior Latex. I have had great luck with staining pressure treated lumber and getting a beautiful finish too. You can see how I used Minwax Jacobean Stain on my L-shaped backyard bench tutorial.
I originally shared this DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench as part of the DIY for my kid’s backyard gravel play area. But thought it deserved its own tutorial and a better explanation. AND, since benches are this month’s Farmhouse Hens blogger topic, it was the perfect chance to give this build a spotlight. Now, let’s get this build started! And don’t forget to see what my super creative blogger friends have to share at the end of this post. 🙂
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. AFFILIATES HELP YOUR FAVORITE BLOGGERS DELIVER FREE CONTENT. Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Read the full disclaimer here.
DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench – Materials Needed
- Circular Saw OR Miter Saw
- A trusty Drill, like mine.
- Paint or Stain
- 1 – 4x4x10′ board
- 8 – 2x4x10′ boards
- 2 1/2″ self-tapping deck screws (screws with a special tip that let you build without pre-drilling)
- 1 – 2x2x6′ furring strip
DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench – Build Steps
3 Build Notes before we get started:
- I built this bench to fit an extra long space in our backyard. Our’s is probably about 8′ long. A 5′ long bench is probably a more common size. So, I’ll use that as my tutorial length for this build. Just remember, you can change this length to fit your space.
- I attached the back for this bench to our pergola posts. BUT the tutorial below and printable plans will tell you how to build yours with an attached back. It’ll be similar to how I attached the back to my L-shaped backyard bench.
- My wood dimensions look a bit different than the plans. Like I mentioned earlier, I was using old fence, or corral boards that I resawed for this build. I recommend using 2×4’s for a new build. 🙂
Cut 2 – 18″ long 4×4’s for the front legs and 2 – 40″ long 4×4’s for the back legs. Cut 2 – 57″ long 2×4’s and 2 – 23″ long 2×4’s for the bench frame. Give everything a good sanding before assembling. When painting, I sand with 120 or 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the boards and round off sharp edges, a bit.
Connect the 2 short legs with 1 of the 57″ long 2×4’s. Make sure to line up the top edge of the 2×4 with the top edge of the legs. Use 2 of the self-tapping deck screws in opposite corners in each leg (see picture). Self-tapping screws do not need to be pre-drilled.
Mark the 40″ long back legs, 18″ up from the bottom. Connect those legs with the 2nd 57″ long 2×4. Line up the top of the 2×4 with the lines you marked on the back legs.
Stand up your front and back legs, with the framing 2×4’s facing out. You might need a partner to help you hold things for this step. Connect the front and back legs on each side with a 24″ long 2×4 on each side. Use 2 screws on each corner again. Be sure to screw into the 4×4, not the end of the 57″ long 2×4. You’ll now have a finished base for your bench.
Now you’ll need to cut 17 – 23 1/4″ long 2×4’s for the seat. Sand these before attaching. Before attaching, mark the center of the seat frame. Center the first seat board on that mark. You can even clamp it in the front and the back to keep it in place. You’ll leave a 1/4″ overhang on the front of the bench. Carefully lay out the rest of the boards, about a penny’s width or 1/8″ apart. This will give room for slight swelling during weather changes. You should have about 1/2″ overhang on each side too.
You’ll need to notch out 2 of the boards on each end for the back leg/bench back. I generally use my jigsaw for notching. Once everything looks evenly spaced and has been notched out, attach the seats. Use your 2 1/2″ self-tapping deck screws again. If you don’t use self-tapping screws, you will need to pre-drill the holes for your screws. Screws that don’t have the special self-tapping tip, will split the end of your boards.
Now that the seat is complete, you can finish the back. Cut and screw on a 16″ long 2×2 furring strip along the length of each back posts. This will support the boards for the bench back. Attach the furring strip 1 1/2″ back from the front of the back leg. This will make sure that the back supports are even with the back leg, for a nice smooth look and feel. AND make sure the top of the furring strip is 1 1/4″ below the top of the back leg. You don’t want that furring strip showing from the front of the bench.
Cut, sand, and attach 5 – 50″ long back boards to the furring strips with your screws. Start with the top board, make sure each end is perfectly even with the top of the back legs. Space each board a penny’s width apart again. You’ll be left with about a 2 1/2″ gap between the bench back and the bench seat.
Now your bench is built, you’re ready to finish it off. 🙂
DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench – Finishing Steps
I went for a grey paint (Behr’s Squirrel Exterior Latex) that is already close to the grey color of the aged wood. I also distressed all the edges with sandpaper. This bench is in a gravel play area. So, I knew it would take some abuse from my boys. When they bang and chip little bits of that paint, you really can’t tell. The matching paint color makes any dings less obvious. In fact, I built this bench in early 2017 and it’s held up amazingly well.
I gave this bench a fun Old Truck and Farmer’s Market design on the seat back. I’m horrible at drawing, so I found this great printable on the Nina Hendrick Blog and used my DIY to resize and edit images to add the ‘Farmers Market’ text and adjust the size of the truck to this large scale. I printed that design, taped it together, and used white chalk on the back of the paper to trace the image and text onto my bench. My favorite Paint Markers made quick work of adding a bit of vintage color. Cute, right?
Hello, DIY friends! You can download the bench plans here. These plans are currently free to email subscribers and for personal use only. They cannot be shared or sold without my permission. Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your build! 🙂
So glad you stopped by to see this DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench. I hope you get a chance to check out more fun DIY Garden Projects from this month’s Farmhouse Hens Blog Hop!!
Farmhouse Hens Blog Hop
The next time the Farmhouse Hens gather is in July. See you then!
Looking for an big outdoor bench with more style? Check out my L-Shaped Backyard Bench tutorial.
Or this beautiful DIY Chunky Leg Farmhouse Bench for inside your house.
Feeling inspired? Get out there and make your own DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Bench. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.