diy projects

Custom Outdoor Seating DIY

Custom Outdoor Seating DIY Lots of people are asking how we built the custom outdoor sofa. I’m not going to lie… Emmett and I weren’t exactly sure how it was going to turn out because we’ve never built anything like this before, but I can gladly say it’s probably my favorite part of the backyard! It’s larger than our living room sofa and provides comfortable, durable seating on the patio. If you’re willing to put in the time, energy, and elbow grease, this gorgeous project is calling your name. Click through for the tutorial… 

Concrete Outdoor Sofa I had initially sketched an idea of a stucco sofa when planning the backyard. Emmett was super skeptical of my idea and did a TON of research prior to agreeing to help me build this thing. I’m really satisfied with the end result and it honestly exceeded my expectations. Here’s everything on the supply list:

Step 1 // Plan and prep the area. We actually sourced the cushions prior to building the structure, which tremendously helped with planning. If you’re going the custom route, it really won’t matter. This is only important if you’re purchasing readymade outdoor cushions. Once we had the dimensions of the cushions, we planned how large we wanted the structure to be. Emmett tripled checked his math and we began prep!

Installing DIY Outdoor Seating Prepping the area is a lot like prepping for a paver patio. We dug out the area, tamped the ground, and added some fine gravel prior to setting our cinderblocks. The key is to make sure everything is level.

Step 2 // Begin setting the blocks. Stack the cinder blocks in a running bond (brick) pattern until you reach your desired size and shape. We opted to leave our sofa hollow inside, so we can use it for storage if needed… this tutorial sticks to our exact process. Use a level to make sure everything is nice and square! It will actually start to look like a sofa frame right away.

Outdoor Sofa DIY Step 3 // Secure the cinderblocks. Once the blocks are perfectly set, it’s time to make them permanent and secure. This part is arguably the worst. It takes a little muscle, but I did this step entirely on my own without Emmett’s help. So lady friends… if you’re worried you need a super strong guy to help you out, I bet you’ll be ok on your own (girl power!!).

Insert one piece of rebar into every other hole, hammering it down with a mallet until it is flush with the top cinderblock, as shown below.

Hammering Rebar

Installing Rebar Into Seating Once all of the rebar rods have been installed, mix up concrete and pour the concrete into the holes surrounding the rebar. You only have to pour concrete into the holes containing rebar rods (every other one). This ensures the structure stays together and won’t shift with time.

Outdoor Seating Pouring Concrete Allow the concrete to cure overnight before beginning the next step. You want to make sure it’s nice and sturdy.

Concrete in Outdoor Seating Step 4 // Add the caps. Next, you’ll want to use concrete cap blocks to finish the top of the sofa. Using a brick exterior landscape adhesive, squeeze a fair amount around the perimeter of the cinderblock.

Building Outdoor Seating Place the cap block onto the adhesive and use a rubber mallet to secure it into a permanent position. Allow these to completely set and harden before moving onto the next step!

Outdoor Cinderblock Seating Step 5 // Mix the QuikWall. This specific product was new to us and one we’ll definitely use again in the future!

QuikWall It’s like traditional stucco, but easier to apply and more durable. It is a little tricky to mix the correct consistency. Add water slowly and a little at a time. It should look a little something like this…

Mixing QuikWall You’ll actually be able to see the fiberglass particles in the mixture. This is what makes this material so strong.

Stucco Step 6 // Apply the QuikWall. Wet the cinderblocks with a hose on the shower setting prior to beginning. Using a trowel, begin to apply the material. It’s best to work from one corner to the other, finishing one section at a time. Fluid motions are also best. Emmett was much better at this… swiping the trowel over the cinderblock in one motion.

Applying Quikwall It’s also worth reading the directions on the package… you want to keep the material wet as you’re working, and even once it’s finished. This assists with the curing process.

DIY Stucco Seating

How to Stucco Step 7 // Wait… then add the seat. Once the entire structure has been covered and you’ve followed the curing instructions (spraying it from time to time), allow it to harden for at least 24 – 48 hours. It should look like this:

Sofa DIY Measure and use a chalk line to mark where the seating will go. Pre drill holes to mark where the structure will be installed. Again, this is all to your preference- structure size, cushion size / style, etc.

Adding seating Emmett used treated, weather resistant lumber to build the grid support structure. Once it was completed, I helped him screw it directly into the structure. Contrary to the image below, the wooden support will be mounted just below the seat. This was before we pushed it into the appropriate position…

DIY Outdoor Sofa Cut a piece of treated plywood to size, and sit it into the niche, on top of the grid support. It should be perfectly flush with the stone seat and look something like this…

Outdoor Sofa Tutorial Step 8 // Add the cushions! The best part is adding the cushions and seeing the finished result. Even though there are multiple steps to this DIY, this project went relatively quick in comparison to some of our other backyard projects (the paver patio, the fence installation, etc).

Custom Stucco Seating DIY

DIY Outdoor Couch I’d love to hear your feedback! I’m pretty impressed that Emmett was able to find a way to make my vision come to life… and best of all- we built it together. We’re already spending a lot of time enjoying our yard and now we finally have a comfortable spot to hang out. This sofa comfortably seats eight. Hit me with any questions in the comments below… I’m all ears!

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Lowes. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we truly use and enjoy! 

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    August 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Omg!!! That is the most awesome backyard couch ever!!! I want it now! The finished space is dreamy!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you!! Come sit on it with me and drink cocktails ;) xo

  • Reply
    Teryn
    August 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Loved watching the progress on your insta stories, you guys made it look so easy! The white Quikwall looks fabulous!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks so much for following along! I think that’s what kept us going and focused… everyone following on Insta kept sending nice messages. Ha! Thank you. xo

  • Reply
    Robyn
    August 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I thought this was a store-bought couch that you customized to the space!!! I’m beyond impressed with how you two did this. So beautiful!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 2, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Ha! Thank you SO much :) what a compliment.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    August 2, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Gosh this looks AMAZING and the DIY seems pretty straightforward! Kudos, you guys rocked this one!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 3, 2017 at 12:24 am

      Thank you so much, Brittany! xo

  • Reply
    Amanda
    August 3, 2017 at 6:55 am

    This is amazing! So impressed! I can’t imagine anything else for this space – you’ve done it again!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 3, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Ahhh!! Thank you :) I love how Emmett can figure out how to make my visions come to life. It looks just like the sketch. I really appreciate your comment! xo

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Wow. Just wow. This is the chicest, most welcoming and comfortable backyard ever!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much, Ashley!! xo

  • Reply
    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home
    August 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    This is so hardcore. I can’t believe you guys MADE this! Ahhh-mazing.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 4, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Ha!! I’m just glad it wasn’t a giant fail… I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Thank you so much! Have an amazing weekend.xox

  • Reply
    Allison H
    August 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Looks awesome! we are getting ready to move the the new house patio would be perfect with something like this! can’t get more durable that a concrete sofa! and i love that you can make it any size and configuration!! wall done Sarah and Emmett!! Cheers!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much! That was our thoughts exactly… durable, weather-proof, customizable. xo

  • Reply
    Jessie
    August 14, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    This is SO beautiful! We are looking to makeover our backyard and this is so impressive and inspiring!! Do you mind sharing basic dimensions?? (Like how high the seat is from the ground, depth of seat and height of back support?)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 15, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you so much! The seat height is 20″ (including a 5″ cushion). The seat depth is 19″ to the back cushion / 27″ to the structure. The back height is 39″, and the arm rest height is 26″. Hope this helps! xo

  • Reply
    Dana
    August 16, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I’d like to do this in an area that is already a concrete patio surrounded by brick walls. Kind of like a sunken patio. Do I need to remove the concrete down to the dirt or can I put the cinder blocks directly on top of the patio? Wondering about the rebar step because it would stop when it hits the concrete.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 16, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Dana! It really depends on the existing concrete patio. If it’s really sturdy and in good shape, I’d say you’d be fine to leave it and skip the rebar. The concern is about ground settling and shifting. We added rebar as a precaution, but according to the QuikWall product we used, it’s not necessary. You could either skip the rebar completely, or drill into your existing patio and set the rebar before stacking the cinderblocks. Make sense? Good luck!! xo

  • Reply
    Derek
    August 21, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Would you be able to share the estimated project cost? Specifically, the material costs for the concrete bench itself?

  • Reply
    Grissel Guerra
    August 21, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Sorry I just asked about the sofa and here it is… DO you recommend setting up the pergola before starting the sectional?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Grissel, I would definitely recommend setting up the pergola prior to the seating so that you can have shade while working. It’s also nice because it will appear to be more built-in and custom.

  • Reply
    Maria
    September 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Did you complete the paver patio after completing the sofa? I am trying to decipher from pictures and it appears the sofa was completed on the gravel with the pavers laid around it to make it look built in. Any additional information would be great!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      September 18, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Yes, the pavers were installed after the outdoor sectional!

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