A wood bench is a handsome addendum to any patio. The design shown here—for a bench shaped to a curved patio—is easily adapted to a rectangular one.
Choose a wood that is sufficiently resistant to decay and insects to be used outdoors. Cedar, cypress, and redwood stand up well.
Use a 3-foot length of lath as a guide for chalking posthole marks on the edge of the patio (left). Dig a hole about 7 inches wide, 11 inches long, and 1 foot deep centered on each mark. Cut a 3-foot-long 4-by-4 post for each hole, and anchor the posts in concrete. Let the concrete set for 48 hours. Mark each post 15½ inches above ground level and trim to that height.
Cut two 3½-inch by 1-inch notches in the top of each post. For each notch, cut a 2-by-4 crosspiece, 17¾ inches long. Center the crosspieces in the notches and nail them in place with 2½-inch galvanized nails. Drill two ⅜-inch holes, diagonally spaced, through the braces and posts. Fasten the crosspieces with 5-inch galvanized carriage bolts—or use brass ones from a marine-supply store.
Making the seat
Cut fifteen 1-by-2 slats long enough—at least 7 feet—to overhang the end-most crosspieces. Rip several ⅜-inch strips from a 2-by-4, and cut them into 5-inch spacers, 42 in all. Position a slat so that it extends beyond the ends of the crosspieces by about ¼ inch (left), and nail it, edge up, to the crosspieces with 3-inch galvanized finishing nails, beginning at the center post. Next, set a spacer on each post, next to the slat. Alternate the slats with spacers to cover the crosspieces. Then, saw off the ends of the slats parallel to the end crosspieces. Add 1-by-2 caps to the ends of the slats (inset). Fasten with 2-inch brass or galvanized wood screws. Reinforce outside slats with a screw driven through them into the spacers behind them.