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  • What to consider when buying your garden bench

What to consider when buying your garden bench

Whether you need it to rest while you take in the view of your garden, as seating for your dining area, or to create an aromatic or quiet space in the garden, the right garden bench will add gravitas to your outdoor space.

The wrong bench won’t look right and won’t meet your needs. Long story short, you won't love it.

But with 38 styles of garden bench and hundreds of variations, you have arrived at the best place to help you find the perfect fit for your outdoor space. To get you started, we have some essential advice coupled with our favourite pieces to help inspire and inform you.

How will you use your garden bench?

The most important thing to consider when choosing your garden bench is, in our opinion, how you plan to use it in your garden. Benches can be used for dining, lounging, resting or as a statement piece of decor. Each will have different considerations.

For example, if you will be dining, then you need to ensure that your bench fits comfortably underneath your dining table and sits at the correct height, otherwise your posture will be all wrong and uncomfortable, ruining an otherwise delightful evening meal.

If, however, you are going to be relaxing on your bench as you take in the view of your garden, or having a chat with a visiting friend, then a bench that maximises comfort will be the most important consideration. You might want one that has a gentle slope at the back to support you as you recline, or possibly add cushions for a softer seat.

Where will your bench go?

The location of your bench will be a vital factor in the size and style that you choose. One often think of having a bench in a large open area, however they can be equally well-placed in a smaller area. Even where space is at a premium, such as a balcony or small patio, we a great selection of smaller benches such as the Luxembourg Compact Bench which, despite its small size, it is still more than capable of seating two people, perfect for couples enjoying the sunset view from their balcony. Or, for slightly larger balconies or terraces, you cannot beat the Parc Bench. It's body-curved design is as comfortable as any bench you are likely to find.


On the contrary, if your bench will be in a larger, more open space, then you do not want one that will look overwhelmed by its surroundings. A larger bench with a more distinct appearance will serve better as a statement piece in positions like this. You cannot get more of a statement bench than the Charivari Bench. Designed by Juliette Liberman, the generous curves and sleek lines of the Charivari make it the perfect centrepiece bench.


Which colour will work best in your outdoor space?

If colour is important to you, then Fermob’s benches are likely to be the best choice for you. Like all of their furniture, they are available in a range of 22 gorgeous colours. Whether you are looking for a calm neutral tone, or a pop of colour to complement nearby flower beds, we are confident Fermob has a colour that will work for you. Popular Fermob benches include the Luxembourg Garden bench, and the Somerset, which is well-suited to smaller spaces in the garden (or of course balconies).

Colour is an essential consideration for any addition to your outdoor space, your bench is no different. With benches typically being among the largest things in your outdoor space, they are an essential part of your garden architecture and choosing a strong, vibrant colour can make an otherwise gloomy area of the garden a stunning focal point. If you have a minimal garden without many colourful flowers then a bright bench, such as the Luxembourg Garden Bench pictured above, can add some much-needed vibrance.

Go backless for Summer?

Ultimately, whether your bench needs a back or not will be decided, not only by how you will use it, but also your personal style. Backless benches have a Skandi style which is more flexible and relaxed than a bench with a back and is typically ideal for outdoor dining, especially in a more informal context like a Summer barbecue or a birthday party.

The Matteo dining bench is a great choice, as it combines sleek lines and a minimalist design. Matteo also accompanies a matching dining table for a striking outdoor dining experience. Backless benches appeal to people with a modern, contemporary style. They often feature accentuated, sharp lines.

A teak dining bench with matching table sits in a courtyard

How comfortable does it need to be?

Do you see yourself resting on your bench for long periods of time? Perhaps you will be reading a good book or chatting the afternoon away with a close friend. If so, choosing a bench with comfort in mind is essential. As previously mentioned, a bench with a back will always be more comfortable than a backless bench, with the extra support keeping you comfy for longer.

Some benches go farther than other in the pursuit of comfort. The Regatta Lounge Bench by Skagerak is reclined so that you can simply sink into it, making it the perfect addition to your outdoor lounge. Alternatively, woven benches, like the Mega Bench, can be outfitted with matching cushions to enhance the support and softness to your garden bench.


Which material should you pick?

Metal or wood or woven? Each has its own styles and benefits. The material you should pick will be likely to reflect how you will use the bench.

Metal furniture, specifically aluminium, is typically more lightweight than a solid wooden piece, making it easier to move around. A definite positive for dining benches. Metal typically lends itself to a particular look. For example, the steel 1900 Bench by Fermob is ideal if you love the early 20th century French style of exaggerated curves and intricate details. Metal benches, especially Fermob, allow you to be more creative and personalise your bench to suit your space.

If you want a classic wooden bench, by far the best material to choose is teak, which surpasses other woods for outdoor furniture because of its high level of durability and how low maintenance it is. Teak will age gracefully and patina to a silver grey; there are ways to stop this, but you do not need to. Teak changing colours is not indicative of weakness, and many people prefer the colour teak turns over the original brown. The England Bench by Skagerak is the perfect example of the classic outdoor bench. 

Two children sit playing on a traditional outdoor bench

Both our metal and teak outdoor furniture is specially designed to require very little maintenance, a Fermob metal bench can be touched up with a spray or touch-up pen if necessary and teak only needs to be throughly washed down or twice a year. This also makes them ideal for public spaces, such as the outside of a restaurant or café, where they will be regularly used.

Weave is an excellent choice for garden benches due to its durability and weather resistance. The woven design allows for better airflow, preventing moisture buildup and prolonging the lifespan of the bench. It is one of the most luxurious materials you can choose, perfect for blending indoor and outdoor style.

How many people will need to sit on your bench?

It seems such a simple question. But by envisioning the number of people who will need to sit on your garden bench, you can ensure the bench accommodates your needs.

For two individuals sharing a meal, or engaging in lively conversation side-by-side, you'd want to aim for a bench width of at least 130 centimetres. This width offers ample space for two individuals to sit comfortably, allowing them to savour their meals or enjoy each other's company without feeling constrained.


The Louisiane 150cm is an ideal length for two people to sit comfortably without being cramped or too far away.

Not all benches are just benches

Perhaps you are looking for a bench that is a little bit unique. One that you have not seen before and that will certainly be a conversation starter.

If so, then the Lorette Conversation bench might just pique your interest. With a Georgian-inspired design, the Lorette is at once distinctive. With an unusual two facing design the Lorette bench is perfect for two people to sit and talk for hours without the neck strain of having to constantly be turned, or the discomfort of having to lean against an arm.

For the outdoor office

Benches make a great addition to an outdoor, or even indoor, office space. With a wide range of styles, materials, and finishes available, you can choose a bench that complements your office decor, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the environment. They present a unique opportunity to foster a more relaxed and informal meeting environment, breaking away from the traditional conference room setup. If you're looking to maximise a smaller space while encouraging collaboration and camaraderie, incorporating a bench is a brilliant choice.

our top recommendation is the Bellevie bench. Its playful curves bring a touch of  style and charm. With its armless design, the Bellevie bench allows for greater flexibility in seating arrangements, making it easier to accommodate more colleagues comfortably. By effortlessly pushing multiple benches together, you can create a larger seating space tailored to your team's needs.

An outdoor office with long benches and tables Aluminium outdoor benches and tables in different

To find your perfect fit, view our complete collection of outdoor benches

About the Author

Heather is our founder and owner of the nettle strewn bench in the lead picture! She nonetheless has advised hundreds of customers and business clients about the best choice of outdoor furniture, lighting and decor including benches.


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