The garden bench is the ideal addition to any garden. For this versatility alone, a garden bench is the most popular choice when it comes to garden furniture. That said, the choice between varieties of garden benches is more varied than it ever has been, making your choice difficult. Thankfully we have compiled this guide! Read on to find out the factors you need to consider.
FACTOR 1 – The Material
First and foremost, you need to decide on the material for the garden bench. There is a range to choose from:
- Plastic – There are many examples of plastic seating on the market. Plastic is robust and doesn’t rot or warp in the rain or sun. However, if you prefer appeal of natural materials, this synthetic option is clearly not for you.
- Metal – Metal benches have been around for some time, and they can be relatively ornate. Some are better quality than others, so always test them out for comfort before you buy.
- Wood – there are two kinds of wood used in garden benches available in the UK:
- Soft wood – Relatively cheap, soft wood garden furniture has a limited lifespan, even when it is painted or varnished. It is best kept indoors during the winter as it will not withstand the cold, wet British weather.
- Hardwood – Woods (such as teak) come from slow growing trees. Because they are denser in their composition, they are harder and more robust. They don’t need much maintenance, but like most natural materials, they are best protected from frost and ice.
FACTOR 2 – Budget
A big factor when it comes to which garden benche to buy is how much money you have to spend. There is a saying buy cheap, buy twice, and when it comes to garden benches and furniture, this adahe is certainly true. Plastic furniture can be flimsy and easily damaged by weather. Metal prices fluctuate and so one minute, they are expensive, the next they can be relatively cheap. Even though it won’t warp or rot, metal can rust and will need maintenance from time to time.
Soft wood garden benches are probably the easiest on the budget BUT, they don’t last as long. The pristine garden bench you bought last summer will not look so good in the immediate future. What a waste of money. Hardwood, on the other hand, is not the cheapest – but it is certainly the most cost-effective and affordable. This is because it is a natural material that comes from a part of the world where the weather is harsh. Blazing sun one minute and heavy downpours the next – this weather won’t dent teak thus, and British weather doesn’t either.
FACTOR 3 – Size
Buy a bench that is too small, and not everyone can sit on it. Buy one too big and it will dwarf the garden. Size IS important, especially when it comes to garden benches. However, the bigger the bench, the bigger the price tag, and so you may find that your garden bench dreams may need to be curtailed. Just like buying a sofa, garden benches to buy that are the perfect size are often described as two seater, three seater or four seater. Most quality garden benches tend to have fairly generous proportions, and so one that you think is small can easily accommodate two adults and a little person snuggled between.
FACTOR 4 – Design & Style
Of course, there is the standard garden bench design that has sufficed for centuries. A flat, straight seating platform, complete with a straight back and two armrests on either side. But, you may be pleased to know, there are other designs and styles garden benches to buy. Why not consider the following?
The banana bench: With its appealing curves, the banana seat or bench is perfect for any garden. Less formal and with a rounded appeal, it just adds a note of something different to the usual or standard garden bench design. Better still, a teak hardwood banana bench doesn’t come with a whopping price tag.
The high and shaped back bench: You can also choose to go for the rather sumptuous and luxurious appeal of the high-backed garden bench. Just like your favourite spot on the sofa, the high back garden bench supports the shoulders – this is ideal if you plan to enjoy the bench and the garden for long periods of time. The shaped back also offers a dash of detail that sets your garden bench apart from the others.
FACTOR 5 – Maintenance
All this talk of wood might be making you nervous. After all, we all know that wood rots and/or warps. We all know that eventually, despite all the painting, the wooden garden bench will depart for garden bench heaven… or will it? Investing in a hardwood bench of outstanding quality is an investment that will last a long, long time - even decades.
This is true even if you don’t varnish or oil it. If you do, it will last decades more. Maintenance is a key issue because frankly, who wants to be spending their time cleaning, sanding and painting when they could be sitting on the bench, enjoying the sunshine, watching the kids play, or just chatting with friends at a summer BBQ? No one! This is why a hardwood garden bench is the ideal solution. Robust and strong, it needs little in the way of maintenance.
When the harsh winter weather arrives, just throw over a protective, waterproof cover and it will last the winter with no issues at all. If you do like a spot of DIY, sanding down the bench after giving it a good clean, and applying a few thin layers of varnish or oil (not both) will give it many years of useful life. The real enemy of wood in the outdoors is not sun or rain, but frost and ice. That is easily remedied by placing your hardwood bench in a shady, protected spot and using the protective cover in the winter.
The garden bench is perfect for any garden. Which one will you choose?