How To Make a Simple Outdoor Bench

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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.

Want more bench ideas and inspiration? Check out 5 Super Creative Benches You Can Build.

A garden oasis
A garden oasis (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Things You'll Need

  • 14 concrete cinder blocks
  • 6 four-by-four wood posts, 6 feet long
  • Drop cloth
  • Concrete adhesive
  • Caulking gun
  • Wet cloth
  • 1 gallon exterior paint
  • 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.

Cinder block bench supplies
Cinder block bench supplies (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.
Add concrete adhesive. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

Stack two cinder blocks.
Stack two cinder blocks. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

Four cinder blocks form the base of the structure.
Four cinder blocks form the base of the structure. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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 cinder block supports.
Build two cinder block supports. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

Building up the base.
Building up the base. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

This creates a strong base.
This creates a strong base. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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 of cinder blocks will hold the wood posts.
This top row of cinder blocks will hold the wood posts. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 8: Prepare the Back Support

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

Last block of the structure.
Last block of the structure. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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 block forms the back supports.
This block forms the back supports. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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 color options are endless!
The color options are endless! (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 11: Sand the Posts

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

Remove potential splinters.
Remove potential splinters. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 12: Smooth the Posts

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

Only a light sanding is needed.
Only a light sanding is needed. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

Stains come in many colors!
Stains come in many colors! (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 14: Remove Drips

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

Watch for dripping stain.
Watch for dripping stain. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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 through the cinder blocks.
Thread the posts through the cinder blocks. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

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.

This adds strength and beauty!
This adds strength and beauty! (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 17: Add a Few Accents

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

Time for a garden party!
Time for a garden party! (Image: Sarah Hamilton)
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