Which Garden Bench Should I Choose?

It's most likely you have a definite idea as to what a garden bench should look like, probably robustly constructed from timber slats with enough room for three to four people.

These are great benches, solid and relaxing, but represent only a small portion of what's available. There are many other styles, made from different materials such as stone and resin, and possibly more suitable for a particular location and landscape.

Traditional Benches

Classic benches in the same style as the Barlow Tyrie London Bench can be as much as 8ft long with a seat contoured to your body shape and a back rest that can be arched, decorative like the Lutyens Bench from Gablemere or, in the case of the 5ft Pine Farmers Bench by Alexander Rose, elegantly tall. High arm rests also add to the comfort of a bench and durable hardwood timber such as roble, cornis, mahogany and teak enhance their appearance with wonderful texture, grain and colour that matures with age.

Variations on the classic theme are benches, including an attractively decorated metal example from Home & Garden, that encircle a tree trunk, flower arrangement or similar garden feature, some that gently curve to make conversation easier, or the Emily Corner Bench that neatly makes use of all available space in your garden.

There are also contemporary adaptations such as the angular Florenity Grigio and Verdi benches which are painted to augment their modern approach, Charles Taylor and Churnet Valley benches with a chunkier, more rustic appearance and the Zest Harriet Park Bench has done away with arm rests altogether.

Two seater benches with individual back rests are as comfortable as they look, and the ingenious Switchable Backrest Bench allows you to sit in the opposite direction as your partner, or simply switch to face the other way. Further innovation is shown by the Isabel Planter Bench with containers full of flowers at each end.

Garden items such as cushions or toys can be stowed away in the Caroline Bench from Zest and several Suncast benches that are moulded from tough resin, these are available in different colours and realistically decorated as if made from wicker or wood panelling.

Metal garden benches are usually very decorative such as the Rose and Butterfly from Home & Garden, delicate and artistically interesting wrought iron designs from Haddonstone, or the sturdier steel Coalbrookdale model with a bronze finish made by Gablemere.

Simple Or Elaborate?

The opposite of these 'park' style benches would be uncomplicated designs exemplified by Zest's Rebecca Garden Bench, several versions of the Forest Sleeper Bench, the Rustic Teak Backless Bench from Barlow Tyrie, and the 6ft Farmers Bench – a style that is found in refectories throughout the country.

Stone is used as the preferred material for the many of these benches with Haddonstone and Borderstone among others producing some of the best examples from reconstituted stone, a very versatile material that can be can be crafted to replicate many styles.

Borderstone's Woodland Bench has what appears to be tree trunks supporting a timber seat while Lucas Stone's stoutly constructed Tudor and contemporary Wealdon benches represent contrasting genres that are appropriate for distinctly different locations.

Seat supports can be flamboyantly and sometimes mythically influenced. The Chimera Bench for example features the eponymous fire eating creatures that have been finely crafted, lions are depicted on other benches or you may prefer a Squirrel Bench that pictures two of these lovable nut gnawing rodents.

Eastern Connections is another major supplier of stone benches, instead of reconstituted stone they make extensive use of granite and sandstone. The former comes in different hues perhaps pink or grey and can be left in a natural rugged state while the latter's rainbow colours vividly embellish their York and Surrey benches.

Benches, whatever they are crafted from and whichever style they represent, offer us the chance to sit and relax while taking time out to enjoy the garden. As well as being very practical, they are features and focal points in their own right and we think you'll find that they can attractively complement any landscape with their presence.