How to Build a Bonsai Bench - Step by Step Instructions
Displaying your trees is an important aspect of bonsai. Beyond giving them the showcase they deserve, you'd be surprised how your bonsai skills will develop as you move trees from the patio floor (and nursery containers) to a proper bench. You'll begin to view your trees from the appropriate viewing angle while also seeing the nebari up close. Not to mention a feeling of pride as you elevate (literally & figurately) your bonsai game!
Each time I visit Eisei-En, I'm impressed by the way Bjorn has built his garden. The design for this bench comes directly from his garden. I built my first bench in the fall of 2020 and I knew I would want more. I have to get rid of all those those awkward cinder blocks! This build only took me one evening and even at outrageously high lumber rates here in the US, was built for under $100. Which, given the sturdiness of the bench, is more than worth it.
A few tips before I get into the instructions.
I used a miter saw with a 45 degree swivel to make a majority of my cuts. You can absolutely use a circular saw, as most of these cuts are easy peasy. I suppose even a hand saw could be used, but that seems like a lot of work!
I used 10 foot boards, but you could make this bench smaller, if need be. Hopefully this build can be an inspiration for you.
I used pressure treated lumber for it's longevity. You could also use composite decking, which would be more expensive, but even more sturdy.
My part list uses the imperial vs the metric system. Don't @ me, I'm American:) Here's a conversion calculator, should you need it.
Finally, I used the 45 degree swivel to make the decorative cuts on the 2x4s, approximately one inch on edge.
A: Bench Top - (4) 2x6x10' pressure treated lumber
B: Leg Assembly 1 - (4) 4x4x3' pressure treated lumber
C: Leg Assembly 2 - (6) 2x4x2' pressure treated lumber (2 of these will be used for the the bench top)
D: Leg Assembly 3 - (4) 2x4x3' pressure treated lumber
E: Leg Assembly 4 - (4) 2x4x1.5' pressure treated lumber
F: Screws - (Approximately 70) 3 inch deck screws
I'm not the best at math, but by my calculations, you will need 40 feet of 2x6s, 12 feet of 4x4s and 30 feet of 2x4s. Hopefully that will help your big box store lumber run list.
Leg Assembly - Repeat for Each Leg
Step 1 - Attach (E) Leg assembly 4 to (B) Leg Assembly 1 using (F) 3-Inch deck screws. Be sure to make connections flush to the ground and square (use framing square). See Photos.
Step 2 - Attach (D) Leg Assembly 3 to (B) Leg Assembly 2 using (F) 3-inch screws. Find center of (D) Leg Assembly using a measuring tape, then attach to center of (B) Leg Assembly 2. Once again, flush to ground and square. See Photo.
Step 3 - Attach (C) Leg Assembly 2 to (B) Leg Assembly 1 using (F) 3 inch deck screws. Once again, being sure sides are flush and square. See Photo. Note: 2 (C) Leg Assembly parts will be used in Step 5.
Attach Bench Top
Step 4 - Attach (A) Bench Top Boards to completed Bench Legs using (F) 3-inch screws. Allow for about 1/2-inch between boards and approximately 2 feet beyond bench legs. See Photo. Tip: Be sure to bury the screws below the wood line to ensure that pots don't scrape against the extend screws.
Step 5 - Attach 2 remaining (C) Leg Assembly 2 using (F) 3-inch deck screws. To protect against warping, attach (C) to the ends of each side of the bench top. Tip: You may want to consider using a circular saw to cut the sides flush. See below:
The Finished Product!
There you go! A step-by-step build of a sturdy and large bonsai bench. I hope you've found this helpful and be sure to comment below if you make a bench yourself. Or share your build with me on Instagram or Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe to the blog for future bonsai updates, including my first newsletter, set to go out soon! Until next time, Peace Love Bonsai.