Planter Bench

We had some leftover Ipe decking from our deck project last summer, and I was ready to get it out of the garage!  It was taking up way too much space in our garage gym, so it had to go.  So, what is Ipe, you ask?  It is VERY HARD WOOD.  *snicker*  But seriously, Ipe is among the hardest hardwoods commercially available.  Check out this chart.

wood hardness

There it is – second from the top.  In the “Holy crap, this stuff is like metal!” range.  But, practically speaking, what does that mean?  Well, it means that anything made of Ipe will stand the test of time.  It’s decay and insect resistant, and won’t splinter and crack like more traditional wood types.  It also means that you’ll burn through at least 3 or 4 saw blades and break at least 6 or 7 drill bits when working with it.  And I’m not talking about crappy, inexpensive drill bits.  Oh no.  You’ll break the expensive carbide-tipped drill bits with this rock hard wood.  Fun times.  I remind Susan all the time about what she put me through when she chose Ipe as her decking of choice.  (Side note:  I think she’s getting a little tired of these comments and I should probably stop)

So… back to our project.  We wanted some built-in seating for our deck, and knew this would be the perfect project to use up the last bit of our Ipe pile.  Staying true to our style, we knew our planter bench should be minimalist in nature, with straight, clean lines.  So we did just that.  A flat bench flanked on either end by straight, rectangular planters.  For the bench seat, I wanted to do something a little creative, so I ripped down some boards to various widths to create a random pattern.  If you squint really hard to look between the shadows, you can see the pattern in this picture…bench3

I also built little “shelves” on the interior of each planter so that the actual planter is only about 12″ deep.

construction planter

And, here’s the finished planter bench, in its new home at the back of our deck.  Please ignore the embarrassingly dirty deck!   Yikes, we need to do some pressure washing…

planter bench2


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