How to Build a DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

My brother-in-law planted a small grape plant in his backyard and wanted a trellis structure behind it for the grapes to climb on. He asked me to design and build it in the corner of his garden. After going through some designs, we decided to go with a corner arbor. When the project was complete, I created PDF plans on how to build a DIY Corner Arbor with a Bench that includes a trellis for the grapes to grow on.

For this pergola, I used pressure-treated wood for the mainframe and redwood for the bench and trellis. The longest piece on the arbor is 12 feet long, 4×6 spanning two end posts. Instead of making my own diamond shape trellis, I purchased a few 4’x8′ sheets from Home Depot and cut them down to the correct sizes. The trellis sheets are sold in several different variations such as wood or plastic/PVC, diamond or square shape.

DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

You also might be interested in a two-story 10×12 DIY shed and DIY outdoor Swing Bench

Time to Complete

12 hours

Total Cost


Skill Level


Download Printable Plans in PDF

DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench PDF


This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

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DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

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Tools for this Project

Material List

  • 4x6x12′ (x1)
  • 2x6x10′ (x7)
  • 6x6x8′ (x1)
  • 4x6x8′ (x4)
  • 1x4x8′ (x5)
  • 2x4x10′ (x5)
  • 1x2x10′ (x14)
  • 4x4x8′ (x1)
  • 4’x8′ Trellis Sheets (x3)
  • 2 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 4 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • 2 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • 10″ round – 48″ long form tube
  • Concrete mix bags (x5)
  • 12″ Long Simpson Strong-Ties

Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench dimensions

Step 1 – Dig Holes for Concrete Tubes

When building outdoor furniture, you want to choose the correct wood that is well suited for the outdoor environment. There are also different ways to protect the wood and extend the life of the project for many years. 

As you may know, when the wood is exposed to dirt and moisture for a long time, it will rot and disintegrate. The posts of this trellis will need to be placed on the ground. But instead of having them directly on the ground, the better option is to stand them on bricks or concrete footings. This will prevent the posts from touching the dirt. Just like a typical house, the framing walls stand on a concrete foundation.

Since this is a large trellis with a bench, I decided to dig holes in the ground and pour concrete footings using a 10″ round concrete form tube. 

Find a good location for the trellis and mark the corner post on the ground. Then from that corner, measure and mark 47 ½” to the next footing and 47 1/2″ to the last footing. Then digs 8″ deep and 10″ round holes in the ground, following the dimensions in the picture.  

concrete footings dimensions for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
installing concrete tubes for concrete footings

Step 2 – Insert Form Tubes into the Holes and Fill with Concrete

Take a 10″ round concrete tube and cut it into 8″ long sections with a skill saw. Try to cut these tubes as straight as possible. It will be easier to level them later on. Then insert the tubes into the holes. Using the corner tube as the base, level the other tubes with a lengthy level. You could run a string to make the leveling and aligning easier. Pull a diagonal measurement as shown in the picture to ensure the footings are positioned at 90 degrees.  

Once the tubes are leveled and placed correctly, mix the concrete in a container. Then fill the tubes with concrete. While the mixture is still fresh, insert a 12″ long Simpson strong tie inside the concrete. Make sure that the straps are leveled and are 47 1/2″ apart. Let the concrete sit for a few days until it’s completely dried and cured. 

concrete footings for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
mixing concrete for footings
filling tubes with concrete for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 3 – Cut and Notch the Posts

Use a 6×6 post for the corner and a 4×6 for the other posts. Take the 6×6 and two 4×6 posts and cut them to 90″ in length. These three posts will need to have a notch cut out for 2×6 roof boards to fit in. With a pencil, mark 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ notch on one side of 2×6 post and on two sides of 6×6 post. See picture. 

Using a skill saw, lower the blade 1 1/2″ deep and cut the notch area multiple times. Then with a hammer, knock out the notched area. Then remove the high ends with a chisel. 

The last two edge posts will need to be cut to 84 1/2″ in length. These two posts do not need a notch. 

cutting post for DIY arbor trellis
cutting notches for post of DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
cutting notches in post for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 4 – Cut 1×2 Boards for the Trellis Frame 

Take 1×2 and cut eight pieces to 61″ in length, eight pieces to 38″ in length, and 16 pieces to 42″ in length. Then, with a Kreg Jig, drill two pocket holes on each end of the 38″ and 61″ pieces. 

Attach the boards together with wood glue and 1 1/4 pocket holes screws. Make sure to clamp the pieces before driving in the screws to prevent the boards from shifting. 

building frame for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
cutting boards for trellis frame
drilling pocket holes in wood
connecting boards for trellis frame
trellis frame for arbor with bench

Step 5 – Cut the Trellis Sheets

The trellis sheets come in different shapes and sizes. There are square shapes, diamond shapes, wood or PVC plastic. 

Once you decide on the type of trellis to use, it needs to be cut into smaller pieces to fit between the post boards. With a skill saw, cut two pieces to 42″x41″ and one piece to 64″x42″.

cutting trellis for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
cutting trellis with a saw

Step 6 – Attach the Frame Around the Trellis Sheets 

Place the trellis sheet on your workbench, and then place the frame on top. Make sure the frame and trellis edges line up. Then nail the frame to the trellis with 1″ brad nails. 

Next, flip the panel on the other side and place the second frame on top. Nail it with 1″ brad nails. You should have a trellis sheet sandwiched between two frames. 

Repeat the process for the other trellis panels. 

building trellis panel
installing frame around trellis
trellis panels for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 7 – Stand the Corner Post and Attach the Trellis Panels 

Take the 6×6 post and place it on top of the corner footing. Level the post, and attach the Simpson strong ties to the post with 2 1/2″ screws.

Next, measure 10″ from the top of the post and attach both 42″x38″ trellis panels to the post with 2″ brad nails. 

Then place the second set of posts on the fitting against the trellis panels. Make sure the posts are leveled, and then attach the panel with 2″ brad nails and Simpson strong tie with 2 1/2″ wood screws. 

installing posts for arbor trellis with bench
installing trellis panels for arbor

Step 8 – Attach Large Trellis Panels and the End Posts

Measure 10″ from the top of the post and attach the larger trellis panel with 2″ brad nails. Then place the last 84 1/2″ long posts against the large trellis panel and attach them to the footing and the panel. Now you have all of the posts and trellis panels installed. 

installing trellis panels for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
installing trellis for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 9 – Cut and Connect the Side Roof Boards

All the roof boards and trusses will have a decorative curved shape cut out at the front. The back of these pieces will have a straight miter cut. To make the decorative shape cut out, first print out a template. Then cut it with scissors and trace it on scrap wood or cardboard. Cut the template so that you could use the same shape on all the roof boards. You could also make different decorative shapes if you prefer. 

One of the roof boards will be the full 10 feet in length. The other roof board needs to be cut to 118 1/2″ in length. Then trace the decorative template on the end of both boards and cut it out with a jig saw. Next, take your Kreg Jig and drill two pocket holes on the side of the roof board about 22″ from the front of the board. These two pocket holes will be used to attach to the roof board to the top of the end post. 

Now place the roof board on top of the post inside the notch. Use 2 1/2″ wood screws at the notch areas and use 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws for the end posts. 

installing roof boards for the DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
using template for trellis roof boards
installing roof boards for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 10 – Install Diagonal 4×6 Board to the Pergola

Pull a measurement diagonally from both end posts and then cut 4×6 board with a 45-degree miter cut. The measurement should be around 142″. Your measurement might be slightly different depending on how accurately the posts were installed. Then placed this diagonal board on top of the end post and drive in 2 1/2″ screws. 

cutting diagonal roof board for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench
installing diagonal roof support for DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

Step 11 – Cut and Install Roof Truss Boards

Take 2×6 and cut one piece to 120″, two pieces to 90″, two pieces to 40″, and two pieces to 20″. Then take the template that you used on roof boards and trace it on the ends of the truss boards. Using a jig saw, cut out the decorative curved shapes. 

Next, measure 20″ from the front of each end truss board and cut out a 3 1/2″ x 2″ notch with a skill saw. This notch will be used for inserting the truss board into the diagonal roof board. 

The back end of the truss will also need a notch but at 45 degrees. Place the longest truss on the roof, and with a pencil, mark the exact location for the second notch. Do this for all the boards to make sure the notches are cut out correctly. 

Once all of the notches are cut out. Install the trusses on the roof 20″ from center to center using 4 1/2″ wood screws from the top.

cutting the truss boards for arbor
cutting notches in roof trusses for arbor
cutting notches in wood
cutting notches with wood

Step 12 – Build a Frame for the Bench 

First, to build a frame for the bench, take a 2×6 board and cut the four pieces to 15″ in length for bench support. Then attach two of these pieces at the bottom of the corner post. Also, attach one piece to each of the middle posts. These 2×6 boards will support the frame of the bench. 

Next, take 2×4 and cut one piece to 70″ in length with a 45-degree miter cut on both ends. Install this board diagonally sitting on the bench support boards spanning across the middle posts. 

Now cut two back pieces to 45 3/8″ in length with a 45-degree miter cut on one end and 90 degrees on the other. Install these back pieces sitting on top of the bench support boards.   

Cut the last two boards with 45-degree miter cuts on both ends. One board could be 44 3/4″ in length, and the other board at 24 3/4″ in length. Then install the boards diagonally, attaching them to the back pieces of the bench frame. 

installing seating frame for arbor trellis
arbor trellis
installing bench frame for the arbor trellis

Step 13 – Cut and Install the Bench Boards

First, cut the longest middle piece of the bench. Using a jig saw, cut a V-shape end that will wrap around the corner post. Then place it on the bench frame and mark the total distance of the board. Cut the board and attach it to the frame using 2″ wood screws. 

Now that you have the middle bench board installed, measure and cut the other boards as you go. The bench boards could be installed with a 1/4″ gap between them. 

installing seating for arbor trellis

Step 14 – Build the Backrest of the Bench

Next, build a backrest for the bench. 

Take 1×5 board and cut four pieces to 47 1/2″ in length and 20 pieces to 10″ in length. Then drill pocket holes on the 10″ boards on both ends. 

Attach the 10″ pieces to the upper and lower 40″ boards with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Make sure the distance between the 10″ pieces is the same. 

Now place the backrest on top of the bench and attach it to the post. 

installing the backrest for arbor

Step 15 – Install Diagonal Supports to the Arbor

To prevent the arbor from swaying left and right, install a diagonal brace that attaches to the end posts. 

Take a 4×4 board and cut one end to 45 degrees bevel cut. Then measure 36″ and cut it with a miter saw blade rotated to 55-degree miter and 30-degree bevel cut. Then cut another diagonal piece with exactly the same dimensioned but mirrored angles. Install the brace pieces to the end post and the roof board. 

You are done with DIY garden arbor with a bench.

adding diagonal supports for garden trellis
DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench

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