March 10, 2012

Backyard Ambitions: Stone Bench

Our quaint little backyard is nothing but dirt and dog poop. So this Spring Break we are trying to transform it into a lovely oasis for us and our two labs. We are extending the porch using pave stones, but we were feeling ambitious and decided to first put in 2 stone benches. I'm not sure this is technically "crafty," but it was a fun DIY project so I thought I would share a quick how to:

1. Hose down the dirt in the shape and size of the desired bench making surface level.

2. Using 2x4s make a frame with an opening the size of your desired bench. Ours was 18" deep by 6' long. Then fill in frame with gravel.

3. Then pour sand ontop.

*Even though the wise man built his house upon a rock, this gravel/sand step is necessary since we are laying pave-stone in front of the benches. We want everything to be level and laying about 2 inches of gravel and sand allows some "give" room when laying the stones.

 4. Hose down and smooth out sand.
 5. For back row, lay cinder blocks 2-high (or desired height) and 4-long (or desired length.) Be Sure to level!!!
6. Hammer 2-foot rebar down center of each opening for reinforcement.
  7. Choose front/facing stones. We used relatively cheap retention wall stones from Home Depot so as to get more depth without buying twice as many cinder blocks.

 8. Stack in front of cinder blocks, 1-high and level. Then hammer more rebar between each front block for additional reinforcement.
 9. Between each row (we made ours 4-high) apply a layer of mortar about 1/4" thick covering top of facing block.
 9.b. (optional) Apply mortar between each block in each row. We ended up not liking this more finished look as much as leaving the natural cracks between each block. It's just a preference thing.

10. Fill in cinder blocks and triangular spaces between facing with cement.

11. Smooth cement.
 12. Apply 1/4" layer of mortar and position chosen capstones atop.

13. After a couple days remove wood frame and Whala! Finished!


Em said...

Cool! I haven't attempted any kind of landscaping or garden or outdoor projects like this. I really should get on that so we could have a pretty yard. I'm excited to see your yard when it's done!

Shums said...

This looks great! We will be copying this if we ever get to live in a house.

Anonymous said...

What happens if you want to move the bench?