Japanese Garden Bench Completed!

Posted in DIY

She took longer than I wanted her too. But like a baby in the womb–no matter how much you coax her, plead with her, and beg of her, you can’t rush the moment she’s born (barring pitocin).

And at 8:07 PM on May 2nd, she arrived…

56 pounds, 22 ounces (totally just made that up), 66 inches long (not made up), solid pine with a redwood finish.

Only a month ago, she was nothing more than this… Read more »

The garden bench is almost complete

Posted in DIY

I’ve been scaping the land–tearing up grass, digging and hauling dirt, moving rocks the size of Texas.

And even one the shape of Oklahoma:

(Although Amber’s uncle Michael, a native to Utah, says it looks like Utah. Whatever.)

I’ve also been planting…

…and building.

The focal point of the landscape, the element around which everything was designed–the ne plus ultra of the neighborhood…

…my garden bench.

Japanese Garden Bench

I had someone ask me, “How many designs did you look at before choosing this.”

“Just the one,” I said. For when I saw it, I knew. Angels sung, the clouds parted, and sea animals sang, “shalllalalalla, don’t be shy, don’t ever wonder why, you’ve got to build this bench….wowow.”

So I start calling around and asking for price quotes:

“Yeah…I got plans here for a bench and it calls for teak. How much per board foot?” I ask.

“$20,” He says.

I do the math. Yikes! I start feeling sick. The stomach tightens. My shoulders sink. At 60 board feet, this thing’s gonna cost me $1200?

I think not!

“Ok….,” I says, “How about white oak?”

“$12 a board foot.”

Yikes again.



I do the mental math–$420.

My dreams of a garden bench begin to vanish faster than a burger on Nick Offerman’s plate.



Still a bit above my price range….

“Pressure treated pine?”

“A buck.”

$60?….I can handle that.

So me starts building.

And building.

And building.

Holy mother of mortise and tenons! This thing has sooooooo many MT joints.

And, of course, I had a little help. (The boys were so thrilled when I bought each their very own hammer to help build with dad).

So where are we now?…..

Pretty sweet, eh?

It still needs a coat or two of deck stain (we’re thinking a espresso color….what do you think?) and some minor detail work.

It’s been the most difficult build I’ve ever attempted. Many-a curse words have escaped my lips. I’ve spent many nights fretting over the squareness of my joints or the tightness of my tenons or the ill-considered placement of the pines’ knots. But soon, I’ll sit in the shade of my japanese black pine, in my japanese garden bench, and listen to the water trickle over my japanese rock garden and think….

“Yep, it was worth it.”