The conversation comes around most years just as I finish jet washing the patio and looks super shiny. “We should get some garden furniture and make use of the garden this year” the good lady says as she picks up her phone and flicks frivolously between eBay, Amazon and countless other websites looking for some new bespoke garden furniture.
Barely as the approving sound of the words “this is nice” left her lips, a phone screen was thrust into my face with something along these lines on it.
While the furniture suite in the above picture looks very nice, especially with the addition of the pool in the background! (That would be next years project if I gave in this easy!) I had some problems though. We don’t have a pool, but I guess that’s just there to provide a luxurious setting to lure you into purchasing this garden set. I’m fine with that.
One slightly bigger problem was the size of our garden! If you’ve got a pool, you can probably fit most any garden furniture in the grounds surrounding your mansion. Maybe next to the stables? We live in a mid terraced ex-council house. The furniture might fit in the garden, but not if we wanted to be in the garden the same time as it!
The free postage is a kind gesture, but HOW MUCH? A bit of plastic, (I would hope) a metal frame and some cushions. I can’t remember the exact price of the one I was shown, but it was definitely more than £600. That’s a lot of money for some (I assume) mass produced furniture that someone else could potentially have in their garden.
Custom Made Bespoke Garden Furniture
One day I will grow out of my foolish ways, not any time soon though, I fear. “I could make something better for cheaper I bet!”. Firstly, these kinds of statements are made in jest with the hopeful outcome of finding a cheaper (insert item of choice here) elsewhere. Little did I know that I had set myself a challenge. I now had to take my own time to make something out of materials that I needed to buy with tools I didn’t have. I like to think I’m fairly handy, but this was a particularly large project. Which I decided to accept. For some reason.
I got to work, researching materials, scribbling designs on random bits of soon to be lost paper and lying awake at night questioning every part of my being for suggesting this.
If I was to make some custom made bespoke garden furniture, then some of my budget would need to go on some tools before even entertaining the idea of materials. This could get expensive quick! Onwards and upwards though, right? I hope so.
First things first, I had been on about getting an impact driver for ages. Do I know why? Just because it’s better I guess, or something. They make more noise, so they must be better. Wanting to match my existing combi drill due to battery compatibility, I looked at the same make. Not cheap. Over £100 without a battery that could easily add another £50+ on top. I questioned the second hand market as I scoured eBay. Soon enough, a bid was placed on a used impact driver with a chunky battery. I won it , paid and it was in the post soon after. Excellent. This building stuff was easy!
Wood was going to be my material of choice to build this furniture. I’d need a saw. I have an old tenon saw that was my dads. I’d neglected it. And manual sawing didn’t sound like fun. I knew what I wanted and got hunting. With the ideas of mammoth postage costs due to the size and the weight, I avoided eBay headed to Screwfix to buy a sliding mitre saw. While I was there, I treated myself to a stand for the saw too, it just made sense.
How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?
I have no idea how much wood I needed. My guesstimate measurements fell short of the right amount, by quite a way. I got to work with what I had and bits of wood began to take the new form of a bench over the course of the day. The local timber yard seemed happy to take my money the following day for more wood. I precariously rammed it in the car again and drove slowly home.
The whole project was a challenge. It’s been so long since I’ve challenged myself to try something new or different. With a lot on my mind recently, it helped me to focus for a short period of time on one thing and allowed me to give my mind a rest from all the other noise that goes on in there.
Manliness points. Man gather wood. Man make thing good. It’s kind of a primitive feeling, but I felt like I could build anything now, out of anything. Providing I have a small collection of power tools at my disposal.
With what’s being called a heatwave going on at the moment, which is previously the season known as summer, I have sat on the bench every evening while Love Island has been on. It’s been warm, I’ve watched the sky change from blues to orangy pinks and descend into obsidian while I can just admire my handywork and be alone with the thoughts of the day (and maybe a beer). Peace. I feel that I’d still be happy to sit out there in the rain too. Time will tell! I don’t think i’d get the same experience on some mass produced imported furniture.
Nobody else will have a bench like this! NOBODY! And even if they could, I think they’d still chose one without the imperfections! I won’t point them out, I know where they are and I will obsess over them for as long as this bench lasts, which I think is going to be a long time! It is however, truly my very own piece of bespoke garden furniture. I’m proud of myself.
I’d recommend anyone take the time to build something themselves over just buying something from a shop. You can apreciate the effort that goes into it, and every time you use it you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that I hope will never fade… Though I think my girlfriend has heard enough about the stupid bench I made now!
Roundup of Costs
But Is the cost of having bespoke garden furniture worth it? Using the above image and £650 as my price to beat, I was scared to come back and tot up the costs of this little project. I was scared to even guess along the way. I was pleasantly surprised when I did though. And I’m also glad some of the money came from my eBay sales and some of the small income that this site produces!
- Hitachi Impact Driver (Used/eBay) £58.29
- Evolution Single Bevel Mitre Saw (Screwfix) £149.99
- Evolution Mitre Saw Stand (Screwfix) £54.99
- 65mm Decking Screws (Screwfix) £13.39
- 28x Treated Smooth Timber 4×2″ 2.4m (Terry Howell) £140
- 2x Quick Clamps (that broke!!) (What!) £8.18
Total : £418.84
I made a saving of £231.16!!! I was so happy! In under budget! I had new tools to use on future projects, and nowhere to store them… so maybe the next project will be a tool shed! But for now, this is what we’re left with! Plenty of room for sitting or sleeping, lounging or lazing. I’m a fan!
Until it was suggested that we needed cushions… What budget?!