Go out and take a walk in the park right now. Do you like the benches there? Sure, they are well planned, very robust and maybe even in a good shape. Are they comfortable enough? Are they in sunny or shady places? Large enough? Do you see where I am going to? There are many things that make a bench good or bad. It’s not just to go out and buy the first bench you see. It takes planning and evaluation.
So, let’s see what makes a good outdoor garden bench:
First and foremost, you need to like how the bench looks. This is entirely personal and there is little to say here. But I recommend you check some image galleries online and see what kind of benches are available out there just so you get an idea. Then, the design of the bench must fit to some extend the design of your garden especially if you have other garden furniture.
Of course the price also matters. If a bench is too cheap compared to others in the same class then you can be sure it isn’t that good. The low price may be due to hidden defects or just low quality materials.
On the other hand some design studios overprice their benches calling them “designer” models. Think well whether you are really getting something exceptional, and that you really need it before spending thousands on a single bench.
3. Strength and longevity.
Outdoor benches are typically installed once and not moved for years. That’s why one of the most important criteria when is their solidity and longevity. Benches made of too thin parts are likely to break up after some time of using. Steel benches that are not well treated will rust and untreated wooden benches will rot.
A good idea when examining the bench longevity is to check for other benches from the same model that have been used for long time. The strength can be examined right there in the store. If you are purchasing online you may need to ask what weight is the bench guaranteed to sustain.
The best way to examine the comfort of a bench is to sit on it and try it. You may want to consider adding pillows and/or cushions on the bench. Benches with backs are usually more comfortable than backless benches. Some benches also have armrests which can be considered another positive sign.
Benches are not good or bad just based on size, but the bench should be large enough for your own needs. If more than two people will sit on it at a time, it should be at least 5 feet long. The seat shouldn’t be too low to the ground which is a frequent problem with DIY benches.
On the other hand the largest bench isn’t always the best. You should consider the space you have and where the bench will be located, and make sure it will fit well. This is really important for indoor benches.
A good bench is a well placed bench. Even the best bench will be useless or bad if placed in the wrong location. The best location for outdoor benches are near patio areas, walks, outside of the garden fence, next to a tree or near the building’s wall. The place shouldn’t be too sunny neither entirely shady.
7. Portability and extra functions.
While most benches aren’t usually moved, it’s good to think whether you really want the bench staying where it is forever. Concrete benches for example can’t be moved so you should plan their location well. If you are not sure about it, pick wooden or metal benches and don’t fix them permanently to the ground with concrete.
Some benches have extra functions. One of the most useful ones is storage. Storage benches are good for sitting and the space under the seat is used to store various things like garden tools etc.
At the end what matters most is of course whether you are happy with the bench or not.