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Wooden Bench Buying Guide
As one of the most classic types of garden furniture, wooden benches are incredibly popular in the UK, and they come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste. Wood furniture naturally lends a traditional look to your garden, but there are several contemporary choices as well. There is a great range available, and this guide will cover all the different types to help you buy the right one for your garden. Shop all Wooden Benches >>
Hardwood or Softwood
Your first question may be what type of timber is best to use, and there is no wrong choice to make. Different timbers have their own benefits. Hardwoods like teak and acacia are popular because of their durability and how well the wood ages. Softwoods like pine and spruce are also a good choice, and it has a chunky look and feel while being less expensive than other timbers.
Hardwood offers the best quality for your bench purchase. This type of wood is slow grown, so it is a little more expensive, but it is well-worth the investment. It has a fine grain that has fewer knots than other types of timber meaning it is much denser and stronger, perfect for benches that are meant to sit outdoors all year. Some hardwood benches are also popular for indoor use, although most of the styles available are more suited to the garden.
Teak benches are made from hardwood with the highest quality grain with a naturally high oil content that protects it from outdoor hazards such as insects and fungus. Some varieties of teak are also known as roble. This has a smooth light brown finish that blends in well to natural settings. This wood grows slowly, but it has a 25-year durability in the garden making it worth the investment. Due to its natural weather resistance, teak benches are low-maintenance and can rest in the same place in your garden year after year. This makes it an outstanding choice for memorial benches.
Mahogany and acacia benches are also made with a fine grain hardwood, and it has an attractive reddish-brown finish. This makes it a popular choice for indoor use, and there are a few bench styles that are suitable for use both indoors and out. These benches have an outdoor durability of 10 years, but they generally last much longer with the right kind of care. The variety of acacia known as cornis is even more durable and comes in attractive park bench styles.
Hardwood Aging and Care
All hardwood benches are perfectly fine if you leave them outdoors, and they will eventually change colour to a lovely silvery grey patina after around 3 to 6 months. However, if you want to retain the brown look then you will need to keep up some maintenance. Teak and acacia wooden benches can be treated with a timber sealer, stain, or protector. Mahogany would need the same care, but some protector colours are not compatible. This process needs to be repeated annually. Just clean and dry the bench with soapy water before applying the hardwood oil or protector.
If you like chunky wooden furniture, then softwood such as pine is the ideal choice. The timber is generally sourced from Eastern Europe, Scotland, or Wales, and it is Forest Stewardship Council certified to ensure sustainability. The pressure treatment increases durability to make sure it can withstand exposure to the elements in your garden.
Pine is also the perfect medium for paint if you want furniture to match other landscaping elements. Pressure treated pine is usually a pale green colour when new, but this lightens to a natural woody yellow after a few months, meaning it is dry enough to paint if desired. If left unpainted, the wood will grey slightly with the weather, but it will maintain its natural durability. We recommend touching up your benches with a timber treatment such as Ronseal. You can buy clear treatment or opt for the coloured ranges such as the Cuprinol paint shades.
Wooden Bench Sizes
The most popular bench sizes are 2 seat and 3 seat, but there are options to seat even up to 4 people. Because a bench is one continual seat, this variation allows for the same look in gardens big and small, so you can pick the right size for your space. This also allows for a little leeway when seating children, providing an extra seat on some of the bigger models - perfect for parks and schools!
Wooden Bench Styles
In addition to size, there are also different styles to suit different garden needs and landscaping schemes. Fixing your bench to the ground with anchors will keep it in place, but some like the option to move it around for extra seating on the patio when needed.
Options like backless sleeper benches are perfect for basic seating. These often need to be bolted or buried into the ground, but there are also freestanding options.
High-back seats offer more support and have a traditional look. These are typical in parks and at schools, and some have removable cushions available for more comfortable garden seating.
For small gardens, options with below the seat storage can be a great solution for stowing tools, toys, and other garden supplies.
Unique Bench-style Furniture
Other wooden bench styles offer their own benefits to your garden, so it's a good idea to consider these before making a purchase. They are all a little more expensive, but they add unique features that may better suit your landscaping.
Tree seats help utilise space around these impressive natural landscaping features that would otherwise go to waste.
Swing seats are perfect for relaxing in the afternoon, adding a gentle rocking motion and canopy to the traditional bench.
Picnic tables that seat up to 8 people are perfect for outdoor dining, games, and even school lessons.
Arbour seats add a stunning focal arch above a bench, giving you a little more privacy and a place for climbing plants to grow.
Wooden Bench Brands
This is the first choice for wooden bench shopping, and Alexander Rose is well-known in the UK for its high-quality hardwood options. The unique ranges including roble teak and cornis acacia stand out for its selective quality. Even the pine options have a smooth finish to bring it to the same high standard. There is an inscription service available to provide carved engravings or etched brass or steel plaques to make your bench a true memorial.
These teak benches are a stunning choice for both quality and design. The Lutyens style bench and curved banana benches are always in demand. Bramblecrest uses only the highest-grade teak that is precision cut and pre-assembled to ensure quality. This means they arrive ready to place in your garden for immediate use.
These mixed pine and spruce benches make the perfect addition to your other Forest Garden landscaping. The same pressure-treated FSC timber used to make their fencing products go into this popular garden seating, making it an affordable and durable choice.
For the widest selection of pine benches, look no further than the options from Zest 4 Leisure. These are available in unique styles including high backs, corner benches, and even a rocking chair. This FSC timber has a chunky look and feel that makes it robust and long lasting.
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