Garden Benches Buyers Guide

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A comfortable, stylish addition to any outdoor space, a garden bench provides a classy seating area for all occasions. Wooden benches, in particular, are a beautiful, long-lasting decision that require little maintenance and will fit seamlessly with any design scheme. In this buyer’s guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about wooden benches to give you a helping hand in deciding what you would like to add into your space.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on this page, do feel free to give our team a call on 01283 576 812.

See our full range of garden benches here.


Softwood vs Hardwood

There are two types of wood most commonly used in furniture making – hardwood and softwood.

Contributing to the design of things like musical instruments and boatbuilding, hardwood is a versatile, sturdy material. Hardwood is readily available in a spectrum of colours, species, and specifications, making it one of the more popular materials on the market.

Softwood is an adaptable, aesthetic substance sourced from all over the world and used in a range of products, from landscaping applications to indoor furniture. More flexible than hardwoods, softwood sources are more manoeuvrable and more readily available.

More often than not, garden benches are made from hardwoods such as teak, oak and ash, since they provide a stronger, more hard-wearing result. Their condensed structure makes hardwoods more resilient than their softer counterparts, and you will find these stronger materials in furniture pieces that require ultimate durability.


Types of Benches

Banana Benches

Named because of their curvy shape, these substantial benches will work with the natural shape of any garden to establish an accommodating relaxation area.

Lutyens Benches

An invention of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, Lutyens benches are stylistic, classy, and traditional. Made from top quality teak, these benches will make an elegant addition to any garden.

Backless Benches

Backless benches are a versatile inclusion in any seating area, and our beautifully designed teak range promise amazing quality and longevity.

Memorial Benches

Honour your loved one with a beautiful bench in their name. Long lasting and traditional, our range of memorial benches will provide a comfortable spot to remember somebody important or to commemorate a special event.

Couples Benches

A perfect gift for newly-weds or a lovely couple approaching their anniversary, these doubles benches combine two separate seats with a table to enjoy the company of your favourite person in style.

Round Tree Garden Benches

Spacious and innovative, our round tree garden benches make a charming addition to any garden. Fitting perfectly around the trunk of a number of trees, this hardwood bench will last a lifetime.

Park Benches

A beautiful addition to any public space or garden, our park benches will fit in with any landscape, bringing a touch of class and functionality to any seating area.

Wooden Bench Maintenance

Wooden benches are very easy to maintain and will remain as good as new for years to come as long as they are well looked after.


Varnishing

A hardwood bench can be varnished to seal the surface, protect the wood, make it easier to clean and reduce the risk of dirt and dust settling. If hardwood isn’t regularly looked after, it is likely to turn silvery grey, so varnishing is in your best interest if you wish to maintain the current colour of your garden bench.

Strip Away Any Old Varnish

Although you may be tempted to skip this step, don’t! Putting a fresh coat of varnish over an old one will result in a bubbling, peeling finish that leads to dirt accumulating beneath, potentially damaging your bench in the long run.

Use a stiff brush to rid the bench of any flaking paint and varnish, then use a good quality varnish or paint stripper according to the instructions. Leave the bench to dry naturally.

Sand The Bench

To ensure the adherence of the new coat of varnish, lightly sand the bench down once it is completely dry. Begin with a low-grit sandpaper, wipe away the dust, and follow this with a medium-grit sandpaper to properly prepare the bench for varnishing.

Always sand your bench with the grain – if you go against it, you risk permanently damaging the surface.

Varnish The Bench

Invest in a good quality varnish that is suitable for hardwood and the outdoors. Coat your bench lightly using a natural bristle brush, and leave it to dry completely before using. A good quality exterior varnish will stop your bench from cracking during uncertain weather conditions, and it will last two to three years before needing a recoat.

Cleaning

Wooden benches are one of the lowest maintenance pieces of furniture out there, requiring little attention to maintain their beautiful surface. Despite this, everything needs a little TLC every now and again, and keeping your bench clean will limit the risk of damage and erosion over time. Cleaning a wooden bench couldn’t be simpler, and here’s the best way:

Use a stiff-bristled brush to clean away any loose dirt or debris

Using warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush or sponge, wash down the entire bench, including the underside of the wood and the legs. You can use a hosepipe for this, but we don’t recommend using a power washer as it can severely damage the wood.

Leave the bench in the sun to dry out completely before using.


Repair

Although a good quality hardwood means your bench is unlikely to face irreversible harm, there unfortunately may come a time when it gets damaged – unpredictable weather and constant use can wear the wood down. The quicker you act, the easier the repair will be, so catching any issues early is best.

Often with garden benches, the main issue is the wooden slats of the seat or the back rest weakening or getting damaged. The best way to resolve this is to just replace the exhausting slat; measure the length of wood that you will need and cut the new piece to size, then swap them out and fix the new slat securely. Ensure that the wood you replace the slat with is hardwood that is meant for outdoor use, and you can varnish the new piece if you’d like for it to match the rest of the bench.

Protecting your bench and preventing damage before it can happen is the best way to take care of your bench, so ensure that it is regularly varnished, cleaned, and protected from any extreme weather.


Storage

Storing away your bench in time for winter is recommended to prevent moisture cracking the wood and increase the longevity of the furniture. There are a few ways for you to store your bench throughout the darker months, so don’t panic if you don’t have any spare room.

Benches can be safely kept in sheds, garages, or outhouses, but before storing it away, thoroughly clean down your bench and leave it to dry completely. Some benches are able to be dismantled, but if this is not the case for your own, you can carefully lean it up against the wall to protect it from anything else in the storage space and create more room.

If you don’t have any space to store away your bench and don’t wish to invest in somewhere, you can instead buy a good-quality protective cover with which to cover it throughout winter and any extreme weathers. Ensure that the cover is securely in place then use concrete blocks or bricks to elevate the bench slightly off the ground, so that the legs and feet don’t get wet or damaged.


FAQs

If you have any pressing questions about garden benches and their maintenance, check our FAQs here to see if we already have the answer you’re searching for.

Can I Use Bleach to Clean Stains On My Bench?

There are a mix of opinions on this matter, but we’d recommend using heavily diluted detergents to reduce the risk of any bleaching agent stripping the colour.

How Do I Protect My Bench from All Weathers?

Sun, ice, snow, wind, and rain can all cause damage to a wooden bench, so it’s important not to neglect good quality protection. Invest in a good quality protective cover and cover up your bench when winter begins to set in. It’s also a good idea to pop it back on during storms or other extreme weather for guaranteed protection.

Is It Normal for My Bench To Crack?

Yes, cracking is normal. Humidity, wet weather and temperature changes will make the wood of your bench expand and contract, which often results in small cracks. They aren’t anything to worry about though – high quality wood is strong enough to handle the cracks without weakening.

Can I Prevent My Bench from Cracking?

Although there’s no way to prevent cracks from appearing, you can fill them in easily with wood putty and polyurethane.


Our Garden Bench Range

At Sloane & Sons, we have a range of a beautiful garden benches made from only the best quality teak. Perfect for any taste and outdoor area, our benches will fit the design of any seating area perfectly with little fuss. Whatever you’re looking for – from park benches to memorial benches – we’ve got you covered.

View our full range of benches here.

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