Project Overview

Every home needs more outdoor storage space. This stylish bench seat will not only give you somewhere to sit and admire your garden, it also provides some handy storage space. 

Continue to step-by-step instructions
How to lubricate difficult screws with soap
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How to lubricate difficult screws with soap

We’ve all had times when we just can’t get a screw into a piece of wood. Here’s a simple tip to make the job easier. Take a bar of soap and run the side of the screw along it, so that the grooves are covered in soap. Put the screw back into the hole and you should now find driving the screw into the wood much easier.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut your timber
2 Build the box
3 Attach the hinges
4 Attach the cladding
5 Attach the decking to the back of the box
6 Attach the decking to the lid
7 Insert extra screws into the lid
8 The finishing touches
9 Have a seat!
  • Step 1. Cut your timber

    To make this project easier, we had the timber cut to size at Bunnings.

    Cut the formply to the following measurements:

    • 300mm x 430mm x 2 (sides)
    • 1160mm x 430mm x 2 (front and back)
    • 1120mm x 300mm x 1 (base)
    • 1160mm x 340mm x 1 (lid)

    Cut the 90mm x 19mm merbau decking to the following lengths:

    • 330mm x 19mm x 90mm x 10
    • 19mm x 90mm x 1200mm x 10
  • Step 2. Build the box

    Make a four-sided box from the formply, starting with the sides, and front and back pieces. Use corner clamps to hold the corners steady while drilling. Pre-drill with a countersink bit and fix the box together with 40mm screws. Then insert the base, pre-drill and screw.  
  • Step 3. Attach the hinges

    Measure and mark where you want the three hinges. Mark for the holes. Pre-drill and use the 40mm screws to attach the hinges to the box. Now flip the box onto its side, pre-drill and screw the hinges to the lid. Use a piece of cladding to lift the box off the workbench.
  • Step 4. Attach the cladding

    Attach the cladding to the side of the box first. Begin at the bottom and work your way up to attach the decking, ensuring the ripple side faces the box. Fix into place with the nailing gun. Repeat for the other side and the front
  • Step 5. Attach the decking to the back of the box

    When attaching cladding to the back, start from the base. The final decking board will need to be rip-cut to make enough room for the hinges and the lid opening. Measure and mark to rip-cut the board. Your measurements will depend on the size of your bench seat. Clamp the timber to the workbench before cutting. Rip the cladding to size with the circular saw. Fix it into place.
  • Step 6. Attach the decking to the lid

    To fix the decking to the lid, lay it out, starting from the back. Use the nail gun to fix the decking to the lid. Leave an overhang at the front to act as a handle. 
  • Step 7. Insert extra screws into the lid

    Because the overhanging lip at the front of the bench seat doubles as a handle, lift up the lid and use the 30mm screws to secure the decking from the underside of the lid.
  • Step 8. The finishing touches

    If needed, sand the bench seat with 120 grit sandpaper. You can leave the storage bench seat to weather or once the tannins have leeched, give it a varnish with something like Cabothane clear. Apply as many coats as needed. Leave to dry between coats.
  • Step 9. Have a seat!

    You can put your bench seat wherever you like in the garden, fill it with gardening tools, cushions or anything you want to keep handy. Now sit back, relax and admire your good work.

Tools and Materials


  • Circular saw
  • Combination square
  • Cordless driver
  • Corner clamps
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Impact driver
  • Philips head bit
  • 4mm square head bit
  • 8 gauge countersink bit
  • Smart bit pilot drill
  • F-clamps
  • Fixing gun and 32mm brads
  • Measuring tape
  • Orbital sander
  • Paint brush
  • Paint stirrer
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Sanding block
  • Tin opener
  • Work gloves


  • 2400mm x 1200mm x 17mm formply x 3
  • 90mm x 19mm Merbau decking x 25
  • 70mm stainless steel butt hinges x 2
  • 8g 40mm galvanised screws
  • 30mm galvanised screws
  • Clear polyurethane

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