home progress: patio, DIY built-in seating

patio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studioThroughout our renovation we basically gave up complete use of the backyard to the construction crew, piles of garbage, and building supplies etc. Now that things are wrapping up, we are beyond excited to finally be able to use the backyard that we moved from a new modern townhouse into a small fixer upper house to get! I am equally ecstatic that Rupe and I finished another one of our lingering DIY projects, these built-in benches.

patio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studioPreviously this corner of the yard was basically a dumping ground for old plants and old furniture, it was sorrily neglected, but now it’s another full living area (girl likes an outdoor room)! Rupe and I both already took naps on that corner bench (basically immediately after completion, DIYing is exhausting ;)) and I can’t wait to have some people over to properly christen the new space. Clearly the pups appreciate all our handy work too.

patio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studiopatio-crackerpatio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studioThere is a good amount of space back there so I wanted to create a few different conversation areas. The benches we made create a natural lounge area and I tucked a coffee table and some floor cushions around each of them. I also added a small cocktail/dining area in the far corner where we have been having our morning coffee together. The cement floor was in rough shape so I added a large outdoor rug to cover it up but also to tie the space all together.

See the before, the DIY steps, and all of the sources after the jump…

patio progress diy built-in seatingI forgot to take a photo before we cleared it all out (boo on me. ha) but here is a look at the empty space at the very beginning as I just started painting the back wall. The entire project took Rupe and I two weekends (about 3 and a half days). Much like the built-in shelves we made, the project is custom to our space so hopefully you can find some tips and tricks that can apply to something in yours!

patio progress diy built-in seatingWe built the benches out of wood scraps and extra lumber that we had lying around from the renovation (aside from the redwood 1×3 cladding, we had to buy some extra to finish it off) so the framing of the bench might look a little ramshackle but hey, it totally did the job.

patio progress diy built-in seatingWe used as much of the pre-treated lumber that we had on hand since the wood is going to be sitting right on the cement and then treated the rest with a wood preservative spray.

patio progress diy built-in seatingAfter constructing the frame we stained & sealed all the redwood 1x3s prior to cutting them to size for the cladding. For the stain color, I used a mixture of 2 parts Provincal to 1 part Light Walnut by Varathane.

patio progress diy built-in seatingThe back wall runs at a funny angle and the cement patio ground is also on a slope so there was no such thing as a right angle on these benches. We basically had to measure and cut each piece as we went (lordy were our backs sore the next day). One by one we used galvanized screws to secure the redwood onto the frame.

patio progress diy built-in seatingSince nothing was at right angles, I decided to run with it and create a triangular space at the end of each bench that would finish it off and also act as a side table or place to rest a drink or two. I also made sure that the redwood cladding ended about a half inch higher than the frame so that it would help to hold the cushions in place.

patio progress diy built-in seatingOur final step was replacing the trellis fence top with 1×6 common boards that create a more modern and uniform look and then painted them to match the wall.

patio lounge, DIY built-in benches // smitten studioMy kilim pillow hoarding finally paid off as they now have their perfect home and I look forward to spending many of sunny days cozied up in that nook.

Product Sources: Fireplace (vintage) from Surfing Cowboys // Bench Cushions from Home Decorators // Outdoor rug by West Elm // Chairs from HD Buttercup // Saarinen inspired tulip side table // Coffee Table (vintage) from Surfing Cowboys // Banana Fiber Ottomans by Ikea // Kilim pillows: Some are from Hunt and Gather and I got a lot of them from Etsy shop Pillowsstore

To see all of our renovation progress check here
To see more DIY projects check here

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78 Responses to “home progress: patio, DIY built-in seating”

  1. Nan // Simply Elegant Says:

    Oh my gosh, what a wonderful outdoor space! I am always so impressed with your designs and you have continued to impress with this great design. I love the muted color tones and the fun pops of pattern in the pillows. Looks like it will be a wonderful spot to use throughout these summer months!

  2. Brittni Says:

    I can’t get over how stunning this backyard patio space turned out. And I am completely jealous of that vintage fireplace you found. I love it.

  3. Sadie Smith Says:

    It looks great! Can I ask where the big pink planters are from?

  4. Katie Li Says:

    OH MY! It looks so amazing! I absolutely love coming to your blog to see your home progress. It’s literally may favorite. Gives me hope that I can one day build great things for my future home!

  5. Katie Says:

    Wow! Your patio turned out amazing, Sarah! I love the DIY benches you and Rupe built. And the vintage fireplace goes perfectly with all your kilim pillows. I would LIVE out there all year round!

  6. Natalie Says:

    I seriously can’t get enough of all your projects! This post is one of my favorites of all the house update posts! Loving the gorgeous black painted wall and the benches, plus the pillows! Makes for such a cozy outdoor living space!

  7. Megan Says:

    Love it! I second the question about the pink planters. Also- I have been using my kilim pillows outdoors too-but I bring them in at night for fear they will get mildew on them. Do you leave yours out or treat them somehow? Really love the benches!

  8. sarah Says:

    Hey Megan and Sadie! Thank you guys! I forgot to mention the planters because they were actually a gift and I have no idea where they came from. I’ll see if I can figure it out. Oh and the kilim pillows, yes we got outdoor cushion fillers for the inside (they have then at restoration hardware) and then treated the outside with the scotch gaurd outdoor spray.

  9. Julia Kostreva Says:

    Sarah, this is incredible!! A little stella cafe inspired, so swoonworthy. What a nice place to relax or have guests over! I am completely in love. Congrats on all the hard work, it’s amazing!!

  10. Corina Nika Says:

    Oh my Lord. for real, this is the best thing i’ve ever seen. it looks like it’s pulled straight away from the catalogue, and officially, you have my dream house!

  11. Brianna Says:

    Wow! Looks absolutely amazing. Those benches are beautiful – I esp love the little right angle/side table design idea to them. Now all you need is a few friends, a fire and some bubbly.

  12. Maja Says:

    What a transformation! This is just wonderful! Enjoy the beautiful space you’ve created.

  13. Amanda @ A.Co est. 1984 Says:

    Is there anything you two can’t do?! I LOVE IT! The backyard is finally complete and it looks AMAZING!! Just like everything else that is coming together! Wow. Great work–love the explanation and how (again) you used the finished photos first, then progress photos after the jump. Love the pillows and GREAT idea on the triangular end part to finish it and for potential ‘side table’ usage. SMART!

  14. SallyT Says:

    This is incredible! Did you consider making the benches storage areas for the pillows, etc.? you can still retrofit them… We’ve done this in our house with the space underneath our deck – retrofitted it for storage!

  15. Grace Says:

    Swoon! This looks amazing. I love how cozy the space feels now and those pillows are to die for! Thanks for the continued source of inspiration!

  16. Jade Sheldon-Burnsed Says:

    AHHH! It looks incredible. I just want to sit by that fire right now!

  17. Molly Says:

    Absolutely amazing! I really love the tulip table and was wondering how you feel about the height? I’m looking for a really small table to use as a dining table (my apartment is tiny!) and really love the look of this one. The website says it’s only about 20in high but in your photos it looks like chairs fit with it just fine. Would something like this work or are you using it more as a side table just to set drinks? Thank you!

  18. sarah Says:

    Hey Molly, thank you! Yea this is more of a side table but the chairs we have are small and much lower to the ground than a standard chair as well so it kind of works as a dining area too. I have seen proper dining height tulip tables that are only 27″ round. Maybe that would work for your space?

  19. Molly Says:

    Thank you so much for your response! Any chance you remember where you’ve seen small, dining height tulip tables? That sounds like just what I’m looking for!

  20. Mekeesha Says:

    Looks amazing. Y’all do such great work!

  21. Mark Says:

    Nice fireplace! All you need now is a guitar and a few beers.

  22. Lily | Birch + Bird Says:

    This looks amazing!!! Love everything, especially the “Jetsson’s” fireplace…we had a nearly identical one in our first loft apartment Super envious of your kilim pillow collection too.

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  26. shavonda Says:

    love it love it love it! the modern lines, the smokey color, the texture, its perfect. :)

  27. Anna Says:

    Wow, that is fantastic!

  28. A Golden Tulip Says:

    Wow…i can live my whole life in your backyard..its so cozy, love it! Stumbled on your blog today, love it!


  29. Katie Says:

    The place looks great! Where did you get the planters? I’m looking for some that exact size and color.

  30. Lianna@theresnoplacelikehomemke.com Says:

    what an amazing space! Great job!

  31. Jenna@islandbluebird.com Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! What is the colour you used for the back wall?

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  33. Meg Says:

    OHHH the dark grey with the orange-red is so great! Have you had a really hot day yet? AKA: Does it get too hot to sit against in the hot weather?

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  35. JAY Says:

    Love all the black paint! The bench and the pillows!

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  37. bar Says:

    Could you please specify the colour of the pain on the wall ? It looks fantastic!

  38. sarah Says:

    Hi Bar,
    yes sorry it is iron mountain by benjamin moore.

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  41. Sofia Mistrioti Says:

    Hallo! I love your ideas and style I would like to receive your news in my email. I am going to move in a new flat, and surely I would need some help!
    Thanks in advance!
    With friendly regards from Greece,

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  43. Christina Says:

    Hi Sarah!
    Love the way you transformed this space! I was wondering if you’d be so kind to share where your pillows are from? I specifically love the three highlighted in thr 9th pic down, with your cute pup! I’ve asked on other blogs and haven’t gotten a reply, so I’m really hoping you could help me out. I love the color palette!

  44. Dannon Says:

    OMG! Thank the Lord I found this post through Pinterest! It’s exactly what I wanted while I’ve been (beating my brains out) looking for patio inspiration/diy benches. And, no surprise, I’m in love with everything else on your blog! I kept scrolling and scrolling, gasping at every post lol So happy I’m following you now and thank you for taking the time to take pictures, give instructions, and list where to buy products!!!

    Dannon @ Like The Yogurt Fashion. DIY. Beauty


  45. Saucy Says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Absolutely beautiful job! Not sure if you put this in prior comments, what paint color did you use on the wall?

    Thank you

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  50. miranda Says:

    Hi – loving this outdoor space and esp love your stovepipe fireplace. Could I ask where you found it?

  51. sarah Says:

    Hi Miranda,
    Thanks, there is a link in the product sources listed in the post!

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  54. Cesar Says:


    I really love what you did with the backyard. I love the black paint that you used on the back wall. I have a similar back wall that I want to paint black and use the common boards just like this. :) what kind of paint did you use to paint that back wall? Also, did you remove the entire Trelis fence or are the common boards over it? Thank you!

  55. sarah Says:

    Hi Cesar,
    Thank you! We used Behr’s exterior paint, and yes we took down the trellis fence before putting up the new boards. :)

  56. TheOrientBazaar Says:

    You’ve combined this pillows very beautiful you can also visit our site to see other great pillows http:://theorientbazaar.com – https://www.etsy.com/shop/Theorientbazaar

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  58. Amy Patrick Says:

    omg! I m so doing this to my backyard. It looks great and the kilim pillows has given just the touch that it needed!
    I have found these beautiful kilim pillows online, if anyone is interested.



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  63. sina Says:

    Hi Sarah! I love your house- its BEAUTIFUL! I am wondering if you could tell me where the planters are from? I LOVE the pink!

  64. sarah Says:

    Hi Sina,
    Thank you! I actually have no idea where they came from. One of the sub-contractors had them in a storage unit forever and asked me if I wanted them because he was going to throw them out!!

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  73. Anna G Says:

    Your outdoor space looks amazing! I will definitely “borrow” your bench construction idea for a big deck/porch
    we have at our little cabin. Your space is so nicely pulled-together–great inspiration!

    Two safety points: 1. You should consider getting some fire-rated tile to add to the angled bench sections behind your fireplace. The benches are way too close to the wood…and 2. please wear safety goggles when using power tools (closed-toe shoes are good, too).

    Thanks for sharing!

  74. sarah Says:

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you! The fireplace is mobile so we just move it away from the benches a bit when using it.

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