Try This: Tiny-Footprint Garden Bench

Make a beautiful, comfortable and waterproof garden bench from recycled plastic and rubber materials.

| March/April 2007

This charming garden perch is made from recycled-plastic lumber that looks and works like wood, except that it was manufactured from old milk jugs.  We added a seat woven from an old truck’s inner tube. The rubber’s rich, varied blue-grays create a surface that’s rugged, beautiful, comfortable and waterproof.

1. You will need a total of at least 132 inches of 2-by-2-inch plastic lumber. For the top of the bench, you will need two 12-inch and two 18-inch pieces. For the legs, you’ll need four 18-inch-long segments.

2. For the bench top, assemble a 12-by-18-inch rectangular frame using a carpenter’s square. Predrill the holes and screw the pieces together at the corners.

3. Attach the legs at each corner joint, using eight 2½-inch-long screws. Position screws so they don’t hit other screws as they enter the lumber. Adjust the screw position up or down to ensure a clear path. For an extra-sturdy bench, add a brace of 1-by-4-inch strips secured with screws about 6 inches down from the top of the leg.

4. To make the bench seat, use scissors to cut about 15 strips, each 2 to 3 inches wide, from a car or truck inner tube, as shown. Wash strips in hot, soapy water to remove grime.

5. Use a staple gun to tack rubber strips, all going the same direction, underneath the top frame. Double up the material under each staple by putting a small scrap of inner tube under each one. This will make it less likely to tear through the rubber. Stretch the rubber strip across the bench top until it’s very taut, and staple again to the other side.

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