The only thing worse than rain on your deck party is having to continually duck inside to retrieve grill tools or deck furniture cushions. Keep your comings and goings to minimum with handy deck storage benches.
Building your own deck storage bench isn’t rocket science. You can search for DIY plans in a variety of styles. Before you dig in, you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions:
What Are You Storing?
No matter what your answer, gather up your stuff and measure the rough volume so you know how big to make your storage compartment. This is especially true for seat cushions that can be large and bulky. Multi-purpose storage might require separate compartments or two separate benches — you don’t want to throw your grill brush in with your napkins.
Waterproof or Not?
Most outdoor stuff is weatherproof, but even outdoor cushions can get soggy if exposed to rain. That means your bench seat (aka storage lid) needs waterproofing. A thin piece of rigid plastic under the bench seat material or a bench seat made of marine plywood does the trick.
Otherwise, plan for your storage compartment to hold plastic bins with lids for stuff that needs to stay dry. The bottom of your storage bench should have slats, a screen, or holes that let water drain away.
Is it Really a Seat?
No matter how long your bench is going to be, keep seating ergonomics in mind. Comfy seating is 16 to 18 inches high. If you’ll include a seat back, then the seat should be about 15 to 18 inches deep. If your bench is going to have a backrest, tilt it 5 to 10 degrees for a true comfort.
While on the subject, include a prop stick to keep your seat open while you rummage around inside, or install a spring-loaded lid support ($35 for zinc-coated) with soft-closure feature.
You can sit on it and put stuff in it. Okay, what else can you do with your deck storage bench? How about:
• Include an insulated cooler for keeping your favorite beverages cold and close at hand.
• Stash garden hoses.
• Cut a hole in one end and put kitty’s litter box inside to make a private poopatorium.
• Give kids’ outdoor toys easy-access storage.
• Store deck wash and stain.
Building a Deck
In this series, Chip Wade shows you how to build a deck from the ground up.