Segmenting your yard does a lot to improve its appeal. Small lots can look bigger and more functional if you devote key areas for different uses. Even large yards can look amazing if you designate a separate patio and cooking area. Another way to segment your outdoor space is to build a brick bench. Also, a brick bench adds vertical interest and extra seating. Brick is durable and weather-proof, as well.
Why You Should Build a Brick Bench for Your Yard
Most people break up their yards by using different flooring to mark off areas. For example, creating a cement patio for grilling or a cobblestone circle with patio furniture for entertaining. You can set brick pathways through a vegetable garden, too. And while different floors can organize the area, a brick bench separates they play area from the grill or other breakable equipment.
In addition, a brick bench is an attractive way to keep balls and toys contained without looking like you’re walling off part of the yard. But a division that’s too tall can make your yard look small, so a bench is just the right height for function and form. DIY builders are increasingly preferring brick over traditional benches of metal and wood because they’re sturdier and have a homier look.
Even with consistent maintenance and staining, wood wears away and breaks over time. It also soaks up water, which both damages it further and makes it unusable until it dries out. Metal is also vulnerable if you live in a rainy region because the seams are susceptible to corrosion. Brick, on the other hand, is solid and stays durable for decades, rain or shine.
Step 1: Pick the Style and Dimensions
The first step to build a brick bench is to think about the size and design. Some benches have a back that provides more support. But, a back also makes it appear one-sided or like a low wall. However, a backless bench is generally the preferred style because the bench is low enough so that it doesn’t break up your yard.
Also, it is more useful for visitors who want to interact with people on both sides of the area. And, a backless bench style is much easier to brush off. Most benches are approximately 16 inches wide and two feet high, so all you need to do is decide how long you want it to be.
Step Two: Set the Foundational Trench
Because your bench is going to face a lot of traffic, you need to set it in cement instead of just on the ground. When you dig the trench, you’ll need to use a level line as a reference point to check the depth. Here’s how:
- Place stones at the two ends of the wall for a guide, adding at least one inch on either side.
- Drive a stake in at each end. String a line level on mason’s line and stretch it between the stakes.
- To keep the string from slipping, put a notch on each stake and hook the string to each notch instead of tying it. That way you can hook and unhook the string as you dig.
Dig a trench that’s about one foot deep and has an extra inch on each side of the perimeter, so you have plenty of room to work. Next, pour a layer of concrete that fills the trench halfway, or about six inches deep. Let it set, so you have a firm working surface for the brick.
Step Three: Start Laying the Bricks
Here’s how to start laying your bricks:
- Set a half-inch thick coat of mortar along the foundation where the first row will go.
- Lay the first brick in the corner. Apply mortar along the side that meets the previous brick until you lay the last brick in the row.
- Next, move on to the second row. Now two sides of all but the ending bricks will need mortar. Add it to the short side in contact with the progressing row, and then the long side in contact with the previous row.
- To create the strong, staggered pattern, start the row with half bricks. Just score a brick with a chisel and tap it with a hammer to break it.
- Lay the remaining brick rows for the bench. Then check with a level to ensure the course is flat.
Step Four: Add Some Finishing Touches
Add more rows of bricks on top of the first until you reach your planned height. For a bench that’s approximately two feet high, you will have six courses of brick. Be sure to alternate the pattern of half bricks for a stronger, interlocking bench.
Once you finish the top layer, add a layer of mortar and tile on top. Or, you can add another row of bricks you set side by side decoratively for a neat finish.
It may seem daunting to build your first outdoor seating, but you can if you follow these steps. Remember, there are lots of YouTube videos on how to build a brick bench, as well. When you add a brick bench to your yard, it will add beauty, charm and functionality for years to come.