For any family time in the garden is time well spent. With parents advised to help their children stay as active as possible, tearing them away from their phones and tablets can seem nigh on impossible.
But time spent playing in the garden together is ideal and for many families, seating solutions for the garden help make that time more pleasurable. Outdoor benches are the ideal choice in many ways, but why? What joy with a garden bench bring to your family that another type of garden furniture won’t?
Outdoor sofas with plump cushions are all well and good but when the weather turns nasty, all those cushions have to be stored away to keep them in pristine shape for another day.
Outdoor benches are comfortable seating platforms that are ready for use any time of night or day. If you want a little more comfort for the derriere, a seat pad is relatively cheap and far easier to store than a mound of cushions. There is something familiar about an outdoor bench that simply makes it the perfect choice for any family garden.
The garden bench is no means permanently fixed into position and with two people lifting it, is relatively easy to move from one place to another. For parents, this is an important consideration as when the children are happy playing, parents just need a vantage point to ensure that everyone is safe. Being able to move the bench is a distinct advantage (but see Point #6)
Outdoor benches come in a range of designs, styles and shapes, from the standard shape that we all know and love, to high backed benches with ornate detailing. But here’s the thing: the beauty of a hardwood garden bench is not to be denied and thus, it can be the focal point of the family garden. An outdoor bench can be used as a great chill out area or place to study weather permitting!
Every garden needs a focal point, just like the eye needs a focal point in the living room in order to make sense of the space. Using a garden bench in the garden as the focal point makes for a natural place for the eye to rest. It enhances the garden, pulling it all together.
Not all gardens are blessed with acre upon acre. That may be your idea of your worst nightmare, all that lawn to mow and flower beds to weed but in your more compact garden, you don’t want the play space overtaken by outdoor sofas and frilly day beds.
They may look good, but if they swamp your garden their novelty will soon wear off and the kids will have nowhere to play.
The beauty of outdoor benches is that they are far less imposing than some of the current garden furniture ideas. Their simple yet iconic design, along with quality craftsmanship has meant that the garden bench is not an item of which we will ever tire. They are elegant, without consuming the garden. They can either be the star of the show or subsumed into the background.
But let us ring a note of caution: not all garden benches are the same. They are not of the same quality, they are not of the same material or design. And this means there could be problems.
The more money you pay for a garden bench, the better the construction should be but, you also need to be confident you have the right material. For example, cheaper wooden garden furniture, whilst it has its place, is made from softwood. This means that the density of the wood is sparse and elastic so much so, that you could push your finger nail into it. This means it tires quickly with use and doesn’t stand up to the British weather as well as you like.
Then there are hardwood garden benches. Teak, for example, is a dense wood, hard on the outside and hard all the way through. It can cope with changes in temperature as well as with everything that the British weather throws at it. If it can stand up to the humidity of the rainforest, it can survive in the UK.
Keep it clean and oil or varnish it every now and then, throw a protective cover to protect it from the frost and ice, and you have a garden bench that will last years.
Unfortunately, opportunist thieves are continually on the prowl and your expensive outdoor garden furniture is just the ticket. Waiting until you are off the premises, and they could, with a dollop of audacity and arrogance, make off with your garden furniture.
But not with outdoor benches as they can be securely fastened to a hard base, such as concrete plinth and most thieves will know this. It will take them more effort and time to dismantle it from the secure fixings and this means more chance of being caught. Hence your bench is less likely to be pinched.
We have talked about the differing styles and designs, as well as materials available but it is worth noting again: the style of a garden bench is familiar and iconic. It is a welcome addition to any garden, especially when you choose a hardwood garden bench that will look and stay stylish for years to come.
And finally, in our top eight pros of a garden bench for the family garden, we do need to talk money. Hardwood outdoor benches are not the cheapest, but they are affordable.
You could buy an item made from softwood but it takes a lot more effort to keep it looking good and lasting for years. Eventually, you will need to replace the bench and so, by our calculations investing in an affordable hardwood garden bench for your family garden now will save you money in the long run.
What do you like about an outdoor bench in your garden?
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.