As an item of furniture, the bench is possibly the simplest in design and construction. But it makes for an ideal addition to any garden, no matter how big or small.
Whether your garden is immaculately manicured or a mix of the wild and the cultivated, the garden bench has a place. It is an informal seating area, a welcome place to enjoy an impromptu gathering in the garden or half an hour with a glass of wine and a good book at the end of the day.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the popularity of wooden garden benches has never really diminished or fallen out of favour.
But there are different styles, shapes and sizes thus, getting the right bench for you and at the right price is essential.
Can you build your own garden bench?
With no more than a few tools, quality hardwood and a smattering of DIY knowledge and skills, it is possible to design and build your own garden bench. If you have the time and space, it is a DIY project that many people enjoy taking on and the results can be outstanding.
However, if you are not so inclined, ‘building’ your own bench may be about choosing the right design, shape and size from a range of high-quality wooden garden benches.
But, how do you choose the right bench? Aren’t they all the same?
You get what you pay for
In recent years, there has been an explosion in the styles and materials used in garden furniture. The consumer has more choice than ever. The range is vast, from outdoor dining sets to sofas and loungers.
But when it comes to wooden items, garden benches included, price does matter. And here’s why: cheaper prices means softwood. And soft woods are more readily available because they come from fast growing trees such as cedar, redwood and pine.
In some applications, there is nothing wrong with these softwoods. In fact, many garden furniture items are made from softwood. Protected with paint or varnished and kept indoors during the winter months and you can enjoy many years of use.
But hardwoods are predictably, more expensive as they come from slow growing trees. Hardwoods are far denser than softwoods and as a result, are longer lasting, more robust and with protection, such as varnish or oil, they can last a lifetime.
In other words, invest once and get the very best quality.
Thus, you need to decide on material – are you opting for softwood or are your prepared to stretch your budget to a hardwood garden bench?
Which is better – soft or hardwood? It’s not so much a case of which is best but which lasts longer with the least amount of effort and maintenance. Both types of wood will need some care and attention if they are being left out in the garden in all weather, including a protective waterproof cover. But in the main, hardwood garden benches are more robust and durable, more suited to outdoor applications such as garden benches.
Get the right size
Buying a wooden garden bench is a bit like buying a sofa. If the garden bench is going to an informal seat in a smaller corner of the garden, a romantic hub for two or a place where you spend an hour or so with a favourite book, then a smaller garden bench makes sense.
But if you are a family of four and all of you intend sitting out on it, then a two-seater bench simply will not do.
As well as this, you may also want to consider the size of your garden. If your garden is relatively small, a huge bench may look a little out of place.
Size is not just about the physical space the garden bench will consume but about dimensions too. Will the bench be too big in a space?
Consider design and style
There are, as you would expect, a growing range of designs and styles of wooden garden benches.
There is the traditional style – the straight back and seating platform, complete with two robust arms.
And there is the high-backed garden bench and those with shaped backed. These can come with more ornate detail than the traditional garden bench style.
And then there are other shapes, such as the banana garden bench. Softly curving, it allows two people to ‘huddle’, enjoying whispered conversation and time together in a garden.
Which garden bench suits you and your garden?
In deciding which one is best, you will need to consider your budget and whether it will stretch to a hardwood bench, which size is best and which style is appealing. Which will you choose?
Sloane & Sons have a growing range of hardwood garden benches and chairs, along with garden bench accessories that make looking after garden furniture so much easier.