Landscaping Cape Town

DIY Stone Outdoor Bench

With basic materials and an afternoon, you can craft a perch for enjoying your garden.

This sturdy bench — or coffee table if you prefer — is meant to look weathered and worn. We fashioned it from building-grade lumber, then roughed up the wood surface even more using an awl and wire brush. You could really go to town with chains and other tools to distress the wood before staining. Select natural hearthstones or budget-friendly cast-concrete ones like we did.

Time: 3 hours
Money: $$
Skill: Level 2


What You’ll Need

  • Saw
  • 2×6-inch framing lumber, 8 feet
  • 2×4-inch framing lumber, 8 feet
  • Drill, drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Eight 3¾- to 4-inch 20d nails
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Eight ¼×3-inch lag screws
  • Sixteen ¼-inch washers
  • Steel-wire brush
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood stain
  • Rag or paintbrush
  • Wood sealer
  • Stone or concrete sealer
  • Two 18-inch-square natural or castconcrete hearthstones
  • Modeling clay or shims

Step 1

Landscaping Cape TownGather materials.

Landscaping Cape TownCut two 12-inch end rails from 2×6. Cut remaining 2×6 into two 33-inch pieces for side rails. Cut four 12-inch legs from the 2×4.

Step 2

Landscaping Cape TownDrill two holes through side rails.

Landscaping Cape TownKeeping corners square, drive nails through holes in side rails and into the end rails to make a frame.

Step 3

Landscaping Cape TownDrill two staggered holes in one end of each leg. Place legs inside frame, mark holes, then drill ½ inch deep into rails. Attach legs with lag screws and two washers under each head.

Step 4

Landscaping Cape TownUse a steel-wire brush to distress.

Landscaping Cape TownFor deep distressing use an awl and chain. Sand edges, wipe with a tack cloth, then apply stain.

Landscaping Cape TownLet dry then seal. Treat stones with sealer if desired, then place on base, leveling with shims or modeling clay.


Landscaping Cape TownCreate a traditional stain using 1½ ounces chewing tobacco and 1 pint ammonia. Cover tightly, let stand five days, then strain through cheesecloth before applying.