Ever get the nagging feeling there’s something missing from your garden? Let us help you out – it’s a garden bench. You might not think that such a simple and unassuming piece of furniture can make that much of a difference. But they really do.
There’s something so familiar and utilitarian about the humble bench that their very presence offers a nostalgic kind of comfort. Think about when you’re out walking or jogging through your nearest park – what do you do if you want to take the weight off for a few moments? There’s always a bench nearby even though we might barely take any notice.
It’s the same in our gardens. Once you have one, you understand. You find yourself sitting in them at times when you previously wouldn’t have bothered sitting outside at all. They are just so handy and convenient. And with so many different designs and styles to choose from, they make for an attractive feature in their own right.
Here’s a quick run through the essential styles you need to know about when choosing the right bench for your garden.
Arguably the quintessential bench style, the country garden look is one familiar to us all. Straight backed with arms, classic examples feature simple slatted backs with little in the way of flourish or fuss. But you will also find plenty of more ‘showy’ models with more intricate patterning in their back designs, such as this attractively geometric take.
The classic material for a country garden bench is wood. While oak, ash or beech might be the most traditional choices for an English country garden bench, we thoroughly recommend teak for its outstanding durability and weather resistance. A common and popular variation sees timber paired with a wrought iron frame, often with intricate ‘weave design’ metal work on the back adding an extra degree of ornamentation.
Another variation on the country garden style that has become so popular as to deserve a category in its own right is the elegant Lutyens garden bench design. Attributed to the acclaimed English architect Sir Edward Lutyens, this style captures the same Late Victorian and Edwardian classical revivalism that was the signature of Lutyens’ buildings – graceful curves offset against regimented straight lines, and perfect balance of formal and organic.
An excellent choice if you want an eye-catching bench in a timeless style.
Backless benches are pure functionality – a seating solution stripped back to first principles, without arms, without backs, just a shared seat and nothing more. As such, it’s usual to find backless and backed benches put to different purposes in the garden.
While backed examples are usually deployed as standalone seating options, a place to recline in the sun perhaps in a choice spot up against a wall somewhere, backless benches are most commonly paired with tables as an alternative to individual chairs. You might say that, with a backless bench, the focus is on sitting down to dine or converse rather than sitting to relax – it certainly makes you sit up straight and stay alert!
A variation on the backless theme, trestle benches really cash in on the back-to-basics aesthetic with a rustic, vintage feel. The concept of creating simple benches (and tables) out of wooden A-frames with planks resting on top dates back to very ancient times. And hey, when a design just works, why not stick with it?
Examples like this Provence vintage bench just ooze the simple charms of the good life – robust reclaimed timber, quality craftsmanship with not a hint of pretension, what more do you need? Or as a variation, we just love these Roma polished concrete-topped benches – the same elegant simplicity, but given a modern twist with one of our favourite garden furniture materials.
One of the reasons why we get so excited about polished concrete is because of how readily it morphs to suit completely different styles. While the Roma benches mentioned above make use of this material in a very traditional, timeless, rustic design, polished concrete also features in some of the most cutting edge and futuristic bench designs we stock.
Take, for example, the stark, angular modernism of this Antibes bench – a single block of moulded concrete fashioned to the bare essentials of a bench, but a simplicity of a completely different order to the wooden trestles. Or how about the post-industrialist brutalism of this Mira bench, complete with rusted steel frame. Or, heading in another direction entirely, the sinuous, wave-like curves of this Mila bench.
Whatever the garden, whatever the look and feel you want to achieve, there really is a bench that will elevate it.