Many times, people break up their yards by using different materials to mark off areas. For example, they’ll use cement patio for grilling, a cobblestone circle set with patio furniture and a hammock, or brick pathway through a vegetable garden. But you can also segment your space and provide extra utility with this fun home improvement project. So, consider adding a solid brick bench or two to your yard.
Why Should You Build a Brick Bench?
Benches can separate a play or garden area from the grill or breakable equipment. It also provides additional seating, which is always at a premium during a celebration or family dinner. A brick bench is functional and helps you avoid cluttering the area with chairs. Also, it’s a clever way to keep balls and toys contained without looking like you’re walling off part of the yard. A division that’s too tall can make your yard look small, but a bench is just the right height for function and form.
DIY builders are increasingly preferring brick over traditional benches made of metal and wood because they’re sturdier and have a homier look. Even with consistent maintenance and staining, wood wears away and breaks over time. It also soaks up water, which damages it, making it unusable until it dries out. Metal is also vulnerable if you live in a rainy region because the seams are susceptible to corrosion. Brick, on the other hand, is solid and stays durable for decades, rain or shine.
Just follow these four basic steps to construct your outdoor brick bench in a weekend:
Choose the Style and Size
Some benches have a back that provides more support but also makes it one-sided or more like a low wall. This is the generally preferred style because it keeps the bench low, so it doesn’t break up your yard too much. Also, it is more useful for visitors who want to interact with people on both sides of the division and is much easier to brush up. Most benches are approximately 16 inches wide and two feet high, so all you need to do is decide how long you want it to be.
Create a Foundational Trench
Because your bench is going to face a lot of traffic, you need to set it in cement instead of straight in the ground. First, dig a trench that’s about one foot deep and has an extra inch on each side of the perimeter so you have plenty of room to work. Then pour a layer of concrete that fills the trench halfway, or about six inches deep. Let it set so you have a firm working surface for the brick.
Set the First Rows of Bricks
Follow these steps to construct your brick bench:
- Set a half-inch thick coat of mortar along the foundation where the first row will go.
- Lay the first brick in the corner, and then apply mortar along the side that comes in contact with the previous bricks until you lay the last brick in the row.
- Next, move on to the second row; now two sides of all but the ending bricks will need mortar. That includes the short side in contact with the progressing row and the long side in contact with the previous row.
- To create the strong, staggered pattern, start the row with half bricks, which you can make by scoring a brick with a chisel and then tap with a hammer to break.
- Lay the remaining brick rows for the course level or course of the bench.
- Then check with a level to ensure the course is flat.
Build Up Your Bench
Add more rows of bricks on top of the first until you reach your planned height; for a bench that’s approximately two feet high. You will have six courses of brick. Be sure to alternate the pattern of half bricks for a stronger, interlocking bench.
Once you finish the top layer, you can add a layer of mortar and tile the top. Or, you can add another row of bricks side by side decoratively for a neat finish. Did you end up with extra bricks? Use them for another outdoor creation like a pathway, for instance.
Brick benches add function and beauty to your yard. Look for aged bricks that match your house and neighborhood. If you have time, add a second bench near or next to the first one. Your brick bench will last a long time and look attractive, too. Soon, your friends and family will be asking how to make their own benches for their yards.