A garden bench can rest your aching back, soothe your sagging spirits, and beautify your backyard garden.
Several different styles, sizes, and shapes are available from a host of suppliers.
Home improvement stores, patio & lawn furniture stores, most of the big discount stores (like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.), and many other hardware and specialty stores carry a variety of garden benches, though many of these suppliers often have stock available only on a seasonal basis.
Probably the most widely used and most readily available garden bench offered for sale to the home gardener is the basic concrete model, which consists of a slab (the seat) and two upright end pieces (the legs upon which the seat rests).
Though each piece of this garden bench is somewhat heavy (hey, we said it was concrete, didn’t we?!), it actually lends itself quite well to portability—assembling the pieces to form a bench in one area of your garden; and then, if you choose, loading each piece separately into your wheelbarrow or garden cart and re-locating and re-assembling the bench in another spot in your garden.
The seat is usually available as a rectangular slab or as a radius curve slab. Buy two or more of the curved ones and you can locate them separately in different areas of your garden, or add them to a circular concrete picnic table and you can dine amongst the flowers.
Concrete garden benches are usually relatively inexpensive to purchase and, probably the biggest advantage of selecting this type of bench is that it is virtually maintenance-free and should last a lifetime.
Another widely used garden bench is the type made of wood—wooden seat with wooden legs or, sometimes, wooden seat with cast iron legs. These benches can be flat with no back at all, or they can be designed with a nicely curved back to cradle and comfort that above-mentioned aching back of yours.
The wood is usually a series of slats, often teak or cedar or some other type of wood that will weather and age nicely outdoors. Some maintenance may be required, such as a light sanding or wiping with water repellant oils to extend the life and enhance the appearance of the woods.
Some benches are made of plastic or fiberglass, or metal that has been coated to resist rusting or corrosion from an anticipated life spent in the great outdoors.
A variety of shapes and colors are available to suit your taste and personality and the “feel” you are trying to achieve in your garden. Are you going for lots of bold and changing colors, or are you creating more of a serene and mostly green tranquility garden?
Think about where you will place your garden bench before you go lugging it around from place to place trying to decide where it looks best. Be sure it fits into the overall context of the garden.
Beside a garden path, at the end of a garden path, nestled beneath an overhanging tree, looking out onto a grassy area, looking out onto a pond or water garden, tucked into a space in the midst of leafy foliage or blooming annuals, near a butterfly bush or a bird feeder so you can observe the wildlife--the possibilities are endless; in fact, you may discover that you want more than one bench incorporated into your garden.
A morning cup of coffee or an evening cup or glass of tea, enjoyed in the relaxed comfort of your own backyard garden, with your tired body plopped onto your own garden bench, can be just the thing to help you realize all the elements of your landscape (and your life) are in place. Have a seat and congratulate yourself!