When is a bench not a bench?

Whilst there may be some new contenders on the block (outdoor sofas, patio sets etc.), little can beat or even match the traditional garden bench.

Matching the classic design with practicality, the bench has been a staple of gardens and park areas for generations.

However, not all garden benches fit in the with traditional idea of a wooden, timber-style design. Many have taken the tradition and turned it somewhat on its head.

Bronze benches, for example, took away the defining feature of most benches, making a metal bench as opposed to a wooden one. This, of course, has many benefits in that it gives an ornamental aspect to a garden, looking a little more archaic than its wooden peer. Furthermore, bronze benches of course do not require the same level of treatment that wooden benches do, not needing to be varnished or painted every few years.

Elsewhere is the pergola bench, the four-poster of the bench world. These come with pillars or trellis-type work running up from the side of the bench in order to allow climbing plants such as ivy to wend its way up to the top of the bench. Once completed, this gives the bench a brilliantly secretive feel, allowing those using it to feel as though they’ve sunk back into the garden itself.

People with slightly smaller-sized gardens may think that benches are not for them, opting instead for folding deckchairs and the like in order to save space when not in use. This, however, is not always the case as there are certain benches which can, just like their deckchair counterparts, fold flat for easy storage. This allows the home-owner to have a bench for when they want to sit down outside but then collapse it away with relative ease to maximise the rest of the space in the garden.

So the bench is a design classic; an icon of the gardening world. But just because it’s an icon, it surely doesn’t mean you can’t alter the formula.

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