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Fire pit area with planter box and bench seat

Having an Impact
Having an Impact


Pine and Merbau used to build a planter box with a bench seat for an outdoor entertaining area with fire pit.



The project


We had a large space in our backyard that was going to waste and we wanted to maximise the potential of our outdoor living area by transforming this unused section into a charming firepit area. By adding a firepit, we envisioned creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere that could serve as a feature for gatherings with family and friends.


This area has indeed become a delightful and relaxing zone where we can unwind, share stories, and enjoy the warmth of the fire. The investment in creating this space has proven to be well worth it, as it has not only beautified our backyard but has also enhanced our overall enjoyment of our quaint backyard.


This project was inspired by Fire pit entertaining area with seating by @raymond265 and Bench seat with firewood storage by @tony1982.


Tools and materials


Materials used in the project:





Step 1


What we started with was just a bare corner. 


Backyard Before.jpg


Step 2


We measured out the space we wanted and then started levelling off the space with sand as it had a bit of a slope in the corner. About 3.5 x 3.5m. This was a huge workout transferring sand we had at the side of the house to this corner - no gym day required. 


Area with sand.jpg


Step 3


It was now time to start building the planter box with bench seat. Due to the location, we built the back of the planter box off-site and then moved it into place. 


Our first step was to cut the posts to the height we wanted for the planter box and bench seats. We then treated the timber posts with a timber protector to protect them against rot. 


Monocel .jpg


Step 4


We pre-dug the holes for the posts to sit in and added cement to the bottom for stability. We used builders line  to make sure our holes were in the correct positions. The "measure twice, cut once" thing is pretty similar to holes. We learned that pretty quickly. 


I did use the pincer post hole digger but I found a smaller shovel did a better job. 




Step 5


We attached 3m long treated Pine timber sleepers to our Pine posts and moved them into place. Once we were happy with the levels, we cemented in the posts.


Backboard In.jpg


Step 6


We then started to build out the frame for the bench seat and also the planter box. We also lined the interior of the planter box with plastic and drilled holes through the plastic and the bottom of the planter box. We did this to ensure water doesn't get bogged but when the sleepers move, no soil will spill out of the sides. 


Planter box.jpg


Step 7


Once all the framing was complete and the planter box finished, it was time to paint. We used leftover fence paint in Monument. 


Pain_ted (1).jpg


Step 8


We really wanted some natural timber accents, so we used leftover Merbau decking for the seat. We sanded each board right back and stained it with a neutral timber oil. It turns out a detail sander takes forever, so I quickly switched to a belt sander. Wow, what an arm and core workout - again no gym required this day.


Sanding .jpg


Step 9


Once the boards were screwed onto the planter box seat frame, we realised we needed to sand back again where the screws were and re-stain. So a word of advice is to attach the boards, do a final sand and then stain. 




Step 10


We planted birds of paradise, banana palms, and bungalow palms. I think it is slightly bare, so we will look to add more between each large plant. Any suggestions are welcome.


We also realised that our dog figured out if she climbs onto the planter box she can chat with the neighbours, so we quickly added some fence extensions. However, we think this made the green of the plants pop.


We love our new space and look forward to summer memories being made here. 




Before and after






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