A DIY swing bench for your pergola is a great way to add extra seating and style to your outdoor space. Not only will it provide additional comfort, but it will also act as a focal point for gathering and entertaining.
Building this project yourself doesn’t have to be difficult — with the right materials, supplies, and instructions, you can make your own swing bench in no time! This article provides detailed instructions on how to quickly and easily build a comfortable and stylish DIY swing bench for your pergola. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create a cozy spot where family and friends can gather and relax outdoors.
In this article, you’ll learn:
1. What tools are needed to build the DIY swing bench
2. Step-by-step instructions for constructing the pergola swing bench
3. Tips on how to customize the bench for comfort and style
With these tips in hand, you’ll be able to quickly create a beautiful swing bench that will provide years of enjoyment! So let’s get started!
Where Can I Install the DIY Swing Bench?
The swing bench is an ideal addition to any outdoor space, whether you attach it to your porch, a tree, a fence, or even to your pergola. It adds charm and function to your yard, giving you the opportunity to relax in comfort and style. Not only that, but it can also be used to create an inviting atmosphere where family and friends can gather for outdoor fun. With the right materials, you can even customize the look of your swing bench to suit any existing decor. It’s a great way to add character and charm to your outdoor space!
Time to Complete
Download Printable Plans in PDF
- Available with the purchase of PDF plans.
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.
Step 1 – Cut Front and Back Base Rail Boards for the DIY Swing Bench
Begin by cutting the longest boards that make up the base of the swing bench. Take 2×4 lumber and cut one front rail for the base to 60″ in length while cutting the back rail to 57″ in length.
This tutorial outlines a bench that is 60″ in length; however, if you desire to have it longer or shorter, simply modify this dimension as necessary. For example, if you would like to extend its length, then ensure that you cut two boards longer than what is outlined here.
Step 2 – Cut Three Seat Rail Boards
Cut three seat rail boards to 22″ in length using 2×4 lumber. Miter cut the back end of each board at a 20-degree angle.
Depending on your desired size of the bench, you may need to include additional seat rail boards to increase its stability and durability – although this will make your bench heavier.
Step 3 – Make Back Support Boards for the DIY Swing Bench
Next, take 2×4 lumber and cut four back support boards to 23″ in length. Since the back is slanted at an angle, these back support boards must be miter cut at 20 degrees on the bottom end.
To ensure a precise cut, be sure to use a miter saw with an adjustable laser guide for accuracy. Additionally, one corner of each board should have its top edge trimmed off at 45º for aesthetics and to eliminate any sharp corners.
Step 4 – Attach the Back Supports to the Seat Rails
Start by assembling the pieces that have already been cut to size.
Take the bottom seat rail and attach it to the back support with 2 1/2″ wood screws. Pre-drilling pilot holes with a drill is important if the 2×4 boards are too dry, as this helps prevent them from splitting.
The middle bench support should have double back supports, while the left and right bench supports should have only one or each. See picture.
To make sure that all pieces line up correctly, lay them one on top of the other to check the angle before securing them in place. Once everything is ready, carefully drive in the screws and assemble the pieces.
Step 5 – Attach the Base Rails to the Bench Support
Now that you have the bench supports assembled, it’s time to attach the back base rail. Start by positioning the middle support exactly in the center and use 2 1/2″ wood screws to secure it from below. Then attach the left and the right bench supports. Make sure that the base rail is flush with the rear of the bench support pieces for a neat finish.
Next, attach your front rail using wood screws from underneath. The front rail will be 3″ longer on both sides of the seat rails; this space will be used later for armrest legs. See the picture for reference. Be sure to drive your screws deep into the wood so they won’t come loose when supporting weight.
Step 6 – Cut Armrest Boards for the DIY Swing Bench
Cut all the necessary boards to construct your armrest. Begin by taking two pieces of 2×4 lumber and cutting them to 10″ in length for the front legs. Next, cut two more pieces to 6″ in length for the arm bracket.
The armrest pieces will have a similar configuration to the bench support boards built in Step 5. Take two pieces of 2×4 lumber and cut them to 24″ in length with a 20-degree miter cut on the back.
To complete this step, take two more back support pieces and cut them to 16″ in length with a 20-degree miter cut on the bottom. Finally, trim one corner of the top of these shorter back support pieces at a 45-degree angle to ensure the boards fit together properly.
Once all pieces have been cut, it is time to start piecing them together. This will give your armrest its shape and structure.
Step 7 – Assemble the Armrest Support
Attach the 10″ and 6″ pieces together as shown in the picture. Make sure to align them exactly, as they will form a mirror image of each other – one will be the left armrest and the other the right.
Next, attach the 24″ piece to the front armrest legs, ensuring that it is flush against the edges of both 10″ and 6″ pieces. This will ensure your armrests are symmetrical when complete. Once all three pieces have been connected securely, you’ll have two matching armrests ready for use.
Step 8 – Connect Armrest Support to the DIY Swing Bench
Attach the armrest to the bench with 2 1/2″ wood screws, making sure that they are driven all the way in for a secure fit.
Cut additional boards for back support and mount them on both sides of the swing bench above the armrest. You will later screw in screw eyes into these back support pieces to hold up the swing seat.
Step 9 – Cut and Install the Filler Board in the Back
The middle back support of the bench will require a filler board to be inserted between the boards so that it can have a visually appealing aesthetic. To cut this filler board, measure the distance from the bottom to the top of the back support. Then cut the boards following the exact angles of the original back support pieces.
The primary purpose of this filler board is to enhance the overall appearance of the bench’s back without compromising its structure or function.
Step 10 – Cut and Install the Bench Slats
For the slats, you will need to use 1×4 lumber. Cut three boards to 60″ in length. Then cut 6 boards to 57″ in length and one front slat board to 53″ in length.
Secure all of the slats to the seat and back with 1 1/2″ wood screws, as shown in the picture, making sure that they are evenly spaced out with a 1/4″ gap between each board. Ensure that each screw is firmly fastened into place so that your bench is sturdy and reliable.
Step 11 – Attach the Armrest Boards
Finally, the last two pieces that will complete this swing bench are the armrest boards. Take one 1×4 board and cut it into two equal sections of 20 inches in length.
To give the armrests a more aesthetically pleasing look, trim the corners on the front ends of these boards at 45-degree angles. Once you have finished cutting both armrest boards, attach them to the bench using 1 1/2″ wood screws.
Step 12 – Sand and Apply Polyurethane
Use your random orbital sander to sand the bench. Start by using 80-grit sandpaper and working it in a circular motion. Make sure to use even pressure when sanding, especially on edges and corners, in order to create a smooth surface. Once you’ve finished with the 80-grit paper, switch over to 120 grit and repeat the process. Finally, finish up with 220 grit for a smooth finish.
Before applying polyurethane, make sure you’ve prepped the surface properly. This means cleaning off any oils or wax residues that may be present on the wood. Once it’s clean, pour some of your polyurethane directly onto the bench and begin spreading it around with a foam brush in an even layer. Allow the first coat to dry completely before adding a second one if desired.
Once your bench has been thoroughly coated in polyurethane, let it dry for at least 24 hours before putting it to use.
Step 13 – Connect the Chain to the Swing Bench
To attach the chain to the swing bench, you will need four screw eyes that are 2 1/2″ long. Start by screwing one screw eye into the top of the back support and one screw eye into the armrest bracket on each side of the bench. Make sure to twist them firmly and securely until they are flush against the wood.
Once all four screw eyes are attached to the bench, use a quick link to connect the chain to the screw eye. Attach the chain so the bench is slightly leaning back for comfortable seating. To ensure safety, make sure that whatever structure you are connecting the bench to is sturdy enough to handle the weight of your bench along with its occupants. You may want to consult an expert if you have any doubts about its strength or stability.
Congrats, you are now done with your DIY Swing Bench for Pergola! Enjoy the added relaxation and comfort it brings to your outdoor space.