The seat with no feet

From time to time, my shed gets too full of dust and I need a break, but every garden seat I’ve seen has legs – and they’re a pain. Every time you cut the grass, you have to move the seat, cumbersomely mowing around each leg, or buy a strimmer and go around the bench a second time once you’ve put the mower away. I wanted an easier solution.

Eight 150mm coach bolts later, I had the beginnings of an answer: four stout joists, half-jointed around a pear tree (photo 1). That still left me with a worry: could the two joists on the underside of the half-joints cope with weight that would tend to open them up? I decided to arrange the first two planks of the seat so that they held the vulnerable joints together (photo 2).

It was then merely a matter of fitting more planks across the joists; an octagon seemed a neat compromise between elegance and strength (photo 3). The seat isn’t exactly symmetrical, but the tree isn’t either. The outermost angled pieces were simply lined up with the inside corners of the squared ones and trimmed off along the outside edge.

A little wood-filler for the screw heads, some sanding, a couple of coats of teak oil, and the result is fairly unobtrusive (photo 4), yet sturdy enough to jump up and down on. The seat doesn’t seem to have bothered the tree, and two years on, it’s still growing and producing handfuls of pears for me and the local wasps.


1 The core structure. I started with one coach bolt to hold the first joist; a spirit level on top allowed me to accurately drill a hole for the second coach bolt, then guided the placing of a parallel joist. It was then a straightforward task of positioning and marking half-joints for the cross-members


2 Bracing the half-joints. Placing the first two planks for the seat along the length of the lower joists meant I could screw in to both sides of the joints, strengthening the joists considerably


3 Half done. Filling in with planks was fairly easy. Gaps between the planks let the rain run off, and undercutting the ends of the joists avoids scraped calves while making the seat look lighter


4 Unobtrusive. From a distance, the seat looks a little like a frisbee that’s hooked itself on to the tree!