RT Cunningham


Outdoor Furniture Ideas - Plastic, Wood and Cement

bench - outdoor furniture Outdoor furniture can be expensive or inexpensive depending on what you want and what you can afford. Anything that’s pre-built is going to be more expensive than something you can make yourself. I appreciate websites like Hunker because a lot of the articles there are aimed at the do-it-yourself kind of people.

The article on how to make a simple outdoor bench recently caught my eye because it’s something I know how to do. I wouldn’t do it exactly the same way here in the Philippines, though, because it wouldn’t last long without some changes.

Outdoor Furniture using Concrete Masonry Units

The article refers to concrete masonry units as cinder blocks. They’re called “hollow blocks” in my neck of the woods. The hollow blocks I see used most often are low-density blocks. To build a bench like this, I’d need high-density blocks and I’m not sure where to get them.

The article calls for 6 four-by-four wood posts, 6 feet long. In the humid, tropical climate of the Philippines, wood posts wouldn’t last long unless it was treated lumber. Most of the lumber I can find locally isn’t treated and termites (as well as carpenter ants) can destroy it in short order. It would be easier for me to find an alternative to wood.

I can make an outdoor bench exactly as the article specifies but it wouldn’t last more than a year or two. That is, unless I do what’s necessary to make it last longer (waterproofing, etc.).

Outdoor Furniture using Cement

Think of park tables and park benches, the kind you see in the rest areas next to the interstate highways in the western United States. They’re not hard to make by people who know what they’re doing. I’m not one of those people. I know a few people, however, who could make exactly what I want them to make. It wouldn’t be that expensive either because labor is inexpensive here.

I need some outdoor furniture and I need outdoor furniture that can’t be easily moved. We have plastic patio tables and the chairs that go with them. They get moved from one place to another far more often than I care to think about. There’s about 25 people living in this compound and they all seem to think they can do whatever they want with the outdoor furniture they didn’t buy. Having said that, I don’t want to get into all that now.

Outdoor Furniture Ideas

No, I won’t be building an outdoor bench with wood, even if it’s a good idea. I’ll probably build tables, chairs and benches using large PVC pipes, hollow blocks and cement. I won’t be the person building them, of course. I’ll just supervise the construction. It’s not a priority now (it’s rainy season), but it may become a priority when rainy season is over.

One of the houses in the compound uses six-inch PVC pipes filled with cement as support beams for the front awning, which covers the front patio completely. It was a good idea even though they were put into place without me knowing about it. Anyway, short beams like that would make great support beams for all kinds of outdoor furniture I can think of.

Photo Attribution: Hunker

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By RT Cunningham
August 3, 2015
House and Home