The garden bench is an essential part of a garden and its design will depend on the type of garden and garden owner, which it will serve. The garden bench does not only serve the function of having a place to relax and commune with nature in the garden. It is a reflection of the overall theme of the garden, or vice versa. A whole garden can be designed around a wooden bench design or a wrought iron bench if it is striking enough. The first step in coming up with a garden bench design is deciding which one it will be.
Once that is out of the way, the next step is considering what type of garden bench design would be appropriate. Bench designs range from backless, armless straightforward slab on two tree stumps to a Grecian-inspired stone bench design complete with Grecian statue bench legs. In general, formal gardens call for non-plastic types of benches and a Baroque style bench would be out of place in a tiny garden with a couple of cacti. The size of the garden will also determine how big the garden bench will be and how many you can put.
The material used will also be a consideration in the garden bench design. Wood can pretty much accommodate most designs but some designs translate better using concrete. Some benches look good in metal. A combination of materials is conceivable, and is commonly used. The budget will determine how elaborate the bench design can be and how closely a design can be followed.
Hugely popular is the “ye olde” rustic park bench that goes well with almost any kind of garden. It is typically a wooden slab for the seat and cobblestone columns for the base. Such a bench, if professionally designed and constructed would costs around $2,500 but an enterprising homeowner can do it for as little as $200 for materials in two weekends.
One should not be limited by what is commonly used, however. Bench designs do not have to be rectangular as almost any shape will do, especially if the garden is sufficiently large. You can run the gamut of shapes from round to crescent shaped to all the -gon shapes (hexagon, septagon, etc.). An alternative would be to design it in components that can be placed together in groups of two or more.
A fun variation for do-it-yourselfers is in the legs or base of the bench. It can be purchased separately from any masonry or woodwork store and come in many designs. It would be ideal to select bases that are relatively flat to make it easier to work with. Concrete block, adobe bricks or natural stones can also be used to build up a base, set in cement or other binding material.
Garden benches can be finished or left in its raw state depending on the material used. A wooden bench top would be no good raw. It should be at least sanded down to prevent any splinters, if not polished. Because it is outdoor furniture, wooden garden benches should be sealed against moisture. Metal benches should also be proofed against rust. Essentially, coming up with a good garden bench design will depend on what the garden owner needs but should also consider the environment in which it will be placed.