How to make a DIY garden bench

Looking to accessorise your garden with something useful and unique? We can help with these DIY project instructions for an unusual outdoor bench.

A man wearing ear protection using a STIHL MS 180 chainsaw is working on a DIY garden bench

DIY garden bench: preparation

A rustic garden bench makes a beautiful and inviting sight in any garden – even more so if it’s a one-off piece that you’ve designed and made yourself. You can make your own garden bench as a DIY project that takes just a few steps and less than a day to build. Before you start, you need the right wood and your chainsaw at the ready.

Close-up of stacked logs

Selecting the wood for your bench

We’ve used pine for our DIY outdoor bench; larch is also highly weatherproof and ideal for garden DIY projects, and we also recommend ash or beech. When deciding what wood to use, you need to consider the different characteristics and your own needs. Coniferous woods like pine and spruce harden quickly in summer heat, and pine, in particular, can absorb a lot of moisture, so you need to treat it to protect it against weathering and decay.

Whatever you choose, a good rule of thumb to remember is that the drier the wood, the better suited it is for building with, as there is less risk of cracking. You can keep your DIY bench looking great with the right care, such as applying oil regularly.

Close-up of grained pine

Wood care


With pine garden furniture, you need to regularly apply protective oil or varnishes. You should also treat the wood before assembling the individual parts for complete protection and a simpler initial process. 

Use a specific pine cleaner if your bench gets dirty. Smaller marks or rough areas can be sorted out with sandpaper. 

Close-up of grained ash


Natural oils and wood waxes are ideal for treating ash. Because ash is very hard, you need to repeatedly apply oil to it at 30 to 40-minute intervals until it is saturated. Once the wood stops absorbing oil, it is well protected, and the surface of your garden bench will dry to an elegant lustre.

Close-up of grained beech


Beech is nice to work with, but it absorbs a lot of moisture, so you need to protect it appropriately. For a quick clean, all it needs is wiping with a soft, dry cloth; if it’s a bit dirtier, use a clean damp cloth with no detergent.

Committed to your safety: protective equipment

Tackling garden DIY projects with powerful tools is fun as long as you have effective and safe protective clothing while using them. Always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes a helmet, cut protection trousers, safety boots, and more. The operating manual for your product contains more details on this. Fully familiarise yourself with your chainsaw before you use it for the first time, and check it's in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.

DIY garden bench: what you need

DIY garden bench: illustration of STIHL chainsaw, pencil, drill, screws, posts, logs and a plank


  • Two wooden posts (the length depends on the required height of the bench backrest, can be shortened if necessary)
  • A plank (approximately 120 cm long)

Bench seat

  • Straight log (approximately 30 cm in diameter)


  • Two logs (approximately 30 cm long, 30 cm in diameter)


  • STIHL chainsaw
  • Drill
  • 12 screws (approximately 150 mm long)
Close-up of weathered log walls meeting at a corner

Full DIY power

The right chainsaw for your DIY projects

Using the right tool makes crafting, building and DIY even more fun. We recommend the following chainsaws for your indoor and outdoor wood projects. 

Time to build

Now you’re ready to start making your rustic outdoor bench. The DIY garden seating needs to be solid and sturdy, so we recommend you build it on-site, at the spot you plan to keep it. Before you start your chainsaw, make sure you have enough space to work and that your working area and surroundings are safe.

DIY garden bench: step-by-step instructions

Illustration of a Do It Yourself garden bench

Summary: DIY garden bench

  • Pine, larch and ash are ideal materials for outdoor projects.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment in accordance with the operating instructions for your tool.
  • Make sure your working area and surroundings are safe.
  • Split a large log to make the seat.
  • Fit the seat onto the prepared feet.
  • Add uprights to support the backrest of the bench.
  • Fix the backrest in place with a drill and screws.