Come Sit Awhile Under the Shade Tree-creating a Concrete Bench


Years ago I helped my kids make me concrete stepping stones with the flat marbles for decoration for Mother's Day. Now it seems there are many posts and Pins about making your own concrete stepping stones with cake pans, plastic containers, etc which is great but I have already done that. I wanted to create something bigger and something that I can create and put in the garden that no one else has...
For years I have always wondered why no one talks about making concrete benches since they are pricey at the store (and so ordinary).
I have always wanted a concrete bench or two for my different areas of the garden but just never got around to it and never wanted to pay the price. Well, last week, I decided I had waited too long and went on one of 'inspiration visits' to Home Depot and Lowes for ideas on materials and bases for the concrete benches. I love setting up vignettes in my garden and one thing I have not had in years was a concrete bench.
This is the first bench and I have more that I am creating but I just had to show you. I hope I get you excited about making your own concrete bench for your gardens and experiment with your kids on adding some of your own decorations. I used a wrought iron welcome sign I had purchased last year at Hobby Lobby for 'one day'. I have other wrought iron pieces I am using for the next bench top. I cannot wait! I am even going to get some more flat marbles, tile, or sea glass create one filled with color and whimsy for another part of my yard...
the sky is the limit!
This is a 2 part post because the base for the concrete bench is a design my hubby helped me come up and I have to go more in depth about dimensions and how to build since it is not like any other base for a concrete bench. It will be your very own piece to show in your garden and for all to admire.
Creating something from your own mind with your own hands is such a high...
Have fun and play-
Happy gardening and do not forget to check out my blog
I want to add that if you purchase the 4x8 sheet of plywood at Lowes or Home depot they will cut it down for you. Have them cut a 12" strip- to cut later for base down the length and then you are left with a 36" x 96" piece and then have them cut off 24" x 36" piece for your base and take the extras home for other projects!
List of materials for the 12" x 32" x 2" concrete bench top
Sakrete 5000 Plus concrete mix, WD40, screws (4)1 1/2" & (4) 3" , 1 - 2x4 (Not treated works), piece of plywood (OSB is cheapest and have them cut it down.
Tools: tape meaure, saw, level, square, screws, drill driver, palm sander or you could just use a rubber mallet and tap it, work bench or area to work and let it sit for at least 8 hours
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
Notice the base is not the traditional 2 piece blocks. I wanted something unique and more stable for the bench to rest on. I sat on it and I am no skinny chic. You could use anything for the base that will support and be sturdy. I hope to get more made.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
A square and tape measure. you need to make sure the frame/mold is square.
Cut 2x4s= 2 @ 12" and 2 @ 35 1/2" (which equals 1 2x4)
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
My portable work bench, piece of OSB plywood for base, and 2x4s for frame/mold, screws, WD40, level are the basics (of course a saw for cutting the boards to size) and I used the concrete at Home Depot SAKRETE 5000 PLUS CONCRETE MIX specifically for countertops and driveway applications because it has fiber in it. You will need rebar which is found in the concrete section to reinforce the bench top and base. A palm or other sander is a great tool to use when trying to get the air bubbles out of the concrete after you pour it in the mold.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
I screwed the 12" 2x4s to the plywood base from underneath with 1 1/2" screws and then you screw the 35" 2x4s (needing only 1 screw per side) to the outside of the short ends for ease of removal after concrete sets up-you do not need to screw these to the plywood base.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
I made my bench 12" deep x 32" wide and 2" thick
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
I used a torpedo and a 2' level. It was not 100% level no matter how much I tried so I went with it
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
Right before you are to pour the concrete in use the WD40 and soak the wood for ease in removing the concrete after it dries. This is the best thing I have found to use!
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
This is the best thing I snagged from the neighbor after their garage sale-works perfect for mixing concrete and saves my wheelbarrow! I mixed the concrete with my spade or long shovel. Do not add too much water at a time. Hubby helped me because it was heavy to stir-slowly add water making it a mixture thicker than cake but not as thick as peanut butter.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
Poured in about 1" of concrete and then leveled it. Wear gloves if you are going to touch the concrete
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
Put in 2 pieces of rebar for support and then poured the rest of the concrete in-this was one 80lb bag of concrete
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
Used the sander to vibrate the sides of the mold/frame to get the air to move to the top where you keep using a float, or putting knife to smooth out concrete. I did this several times.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
When the concrete stops bubbling, smooth it out. After it was all smooth water rose to the top which evaporates so I had to to add my Welcome sign. this is the time you add the decorations too and do not worry about the watery concrete. I pushed the welcome sign in until the concrete started to raise up around the lettering. do this with your marbles or other decor.
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
this concrete sets up quickly plus it was 85 degrees out so i kept the concrete covered from the sun. After an hour I took the putty knife and smashed down the edges to try and curve them
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
It got too hot working in the sun so I wet down the concrete and tried to smooth. Lesson learned. Keep messing with it you will never get it smooth LOL
Just let it dry in the shade or cover it in the sun
come sit awhile under the shade tree creating a concrete bench, concrete masonry, container gardening, gardening
I took the mold off after 6 hours. The bag says 8 hours set up and 24 hours walk on.

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