Patio Arbor / Bench


   As time goes on, projects evolve and as such this one did too.  Initially, I designed this structure as a pergola and it turned out to be more of a walkway than anything else, not getting full use of the area.  I decided to modify it so we could get more benefit from it.  This design integrates a solid patio cover, railing and bench.  Also, as a learning experience, one does not use untreated lumber for outdoor projects as I found out.  No matter how much the lumber is painted or stained, it will rot from the inside out.

   The size of lumber used for this project was 2"x6"x12' by 2"x6"x10' at two feet spacing on center.  Also, the emphasis is to adjust the dimensions to minimize waste when selecting the amount of plywood that will be needed.  Once the two feet spacing is done, you criss cross it for support.


  Once completing the roof, I started modifying one side of the deck for a railing in order to provide a seperation between patio and landscape.  This addition gives the area a more defined appearance.  The height of the railing will depend on wheather it will be used simply as a division of the space or as a sitting area as well.  The bottom of the railing is reinforced by a 4" support as you will see.

    The spacing of the 2"x4" boards to the railing are evened out based on the length of the rail.  For the top portion, you use a 2"x6" board which is secured with screws from underneath the rail board.  This will  provide a smooth clean look to the structure.  Afterwards, install 3"x4"x4" blocks underneath the rail to prevent it from warping.


  Once the railing is stained, it will blend right in as if it was part of the patio all along.  I did do two coats of stain to hide any green tint from the lumber being treated.  The next phase is building a bench.  I researched several designs and heights to determine what would work for me.  I ended using 2"x12"x10' boards to get the most of that length for the money.  This length will produce three supports.  The way I calculated, you would need one support per every four feet of bench.  This way, you can use 2"x6" or 1"x6" boards depending the type of look you want.  I toe nailed the boards together as the term implies however, I used 3" deck screws to secure them.  The height of the back support is 30".  To get a comfortable

sitting angle, you measure 2" from the back and 2" from the from of the first peace of board.  The height of the center before it starts to angle up is 14".  The front of it is 16".  I did use two 2"x12" and 1/2 of an other board for the support.  This allowed for the use of four boards for the sitting portion and four for the back.  I also used 1"x4" for the rail and one for the front.  One thing I do recommend is that you varnish the bench with at least two 

 coats.  Most of the varnishes you find locally are usually for indoor use only.  You will need the type of varnish that is used for boats.  One pint will cost approximately $40 unless you order it on line which will cost more due to shipping since it is considered a hazardous material and can only be shipped by ground.  This amount of varnish will cover two coats and is well worth the investment.

  We tend to spend much more time in this area now and take the time to enjoy the garden view.

  The second phase of this project is to construct a 20 foot lenght Arbor Trellis for the walk way.  It is something I saw in a magazine as an entry walk through however I expanded on the idea.  I have already strategically planted eight multi-colored Clemetis Vines that will cover the trellis.