Plastic garden benches…or stone, wood, metal

Every garden needs a place where you and your guests can sit and relax and enjoy the beauty of the landscape, but what type of garden bench do you choose - plastic, stone, wood, or metal? What are all the pluses and minuses? And Is there such a thing as the perfect garden bench?

Please be seated…

There are many types of benches and garden structures that could serve as very good places to sit, but for this blog we’re focusing on stone, wood, metal and plastic benches. First, a bench must be able to survive the elements, be comfortable, and complement the garden style.

Garden Bench

Plastic garden benches and chairs are a possibility. Some look good and can stand up to our long rainy winter and warm summer days. They are available in an assortment of colors and blend nicely with many landscape designs. Plastic is generally lightweight and easy to move. I especially like the new plastic imitation-wicker style of seating.

As much as I hate to say it, most lawn furniture is going to show signs of algae if left out in the rain, but plastic is quite easy to keep clean, it tends to not get too hot, and is likes rain. I give plastic a thumbs up...for the most part.

The disadvantage of a plastic garden bench is that it may not last as long as other materials. Ultraviolet light from the sun can damage plastic garden benches and make them brittle. And they will more easily crack when frozen. Some also look cheap and degrades from your quality landscape; in which case, I’d give them a thumbs down!

Stone garden benches are another story. While a plastic garden bench may be light, a stone bench is nearly immovable. While a plastic garden bench may be blown over or blown away in a windstorm, a bench made of stone will enhance your garden for life! Stone benches can be put anywhere, including behind a waterfall -- now how’s that for the ultimate hot summer day cool-off. They do not require much maintenance...if any. The worst thing about a stone garden bench is the level of comfort. Since comfort is important for complete relaxation, we recommend choosing a stone garden bench that is polished and slightly contoured.

Another material used for benches (similar to stone) is cement. We have seen them with aggregate, tile or mosaic inlay. One caution, if using decorative tile in a garden bench, is to make sure it is ceramic tile. Clay tile is fine for most indoor uses, but outdoors it can absorb moisture, then freeze and crack.

Wooden garden benches are very popular -- they look nice, and are comfortable and easier to sit on than a stone bench. With so many styles of wood, ranging from rustic to modern, it’s not difficult to find a wooden garden bench that bend with the landscape style and becomes an integral part of the garden design.

Although, we love the idea of wooden garden benches, even this material has its limitations. Wooden benches do require more maintenance than a stone bench as they need to be cleaned and stained as often as once a year, and need to be kept out of dirt and puddles lest the legs rot and crumble.

Still looking for that perfect garden bench?

Metal garden benches are another alternative and they are gaining in popularity. Metal benches excel because of their durability. They can be easily lifted and moved, fit with most any garden style, require only simple cleaning, can be painted to any color, they last a very long time, and with just the cushion you could curl up and fall asleep….but they are not perfect either.

The disadvantages of owning a metal garden bench is potential for rust (unless properly treated.) Some are extremely well made and do not rust because they are painted with a special coatings or because they are made of aluminum. Damage from freezing may sound funny, but this can occur to metal benches that are hollow. In this case, water can get inside the hollow tubes, and freeze if left outdoors during winter. The ice can split seams or bend parts. A solid metal bench is therefore the best choice for durability, but it is more expensive and heavier.

If your head is spinning with all the choices, it might be time to take a break and have a leisurely sit in the garden. Any garden bench is better than none at all. So don’t expect to find the perfect bench, just look for one you like...or two...or three. You can’t have too many quiet sitting areas scattered about the landscape…can you? Why not have at least one or each?

Let Environmental Construction Inc. help you with your garden-bench woes. Select Request a Consultation. We want your garden to be a place of relaxation. Being able to enjoy the beauty is our main purpose.

Category: Garden Structures

Environmental Construction, Inc.

It's not simply about designing and building beautiful garden spaces, it's about providing a landscape oasis where you can relax from the daily grind and recharge. Let us create an outdoor space that will enhance your home and quality of life.

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