There are moments when in your garden that you want to sit down, take a deep breath and appreciate your surroundings. Not only does a bench or seat fulfil the need for somewhere to sit, it also adds to the aesthetics of the garden, providing a point of interest.

Where do I position it?

It is important to consider what the bench or seat is to be used for; a focal point, somewhere to sit and rest outside the back door, somewhere secretive that visitors happen upon as they walk around the garden, the place which commands the best view, somewhere to sit in the shade, or sun, somewhere where you can see the children play?

If the bench is timber it is best positioned on a hard surface such as gravel or paving. If positioned on grass, damp will penetrate the timber quicker and the bench may need to be moved regularly to allow for mowing and to prevent die back of grass beneath it.

Dual purpose seats

Seats can be either freestanding or built into the design of the garden. For example a wall built as a decorative feature can double as a seat if built at the right height. They can even accommodate some storage space underneath.


Benches and seats can be made from timber, metal, plastic, fibreglass, concrete, stone or even fabric. It is important to consider the feel and style of the garden when making your choice. Timber, metal and stone tend to suit more country style gardens whilst plastic and concrete would look out of place.

The beauty of timber is that as a natural material is has an inherent attractiveness. Cushions can be added for comfort but even without them, it has a warmth about it even on cold days (metal and stone can often get too hot or cold to use.) Many are made from hardwood and can be entirely timber or a timber seat on a metal frame.

The biggest problem is that timber can remain damp for quite a long time after a shower, especially if it is not treated with oil or varnish as these prevent moisture penetrating the grain and can also preserve the original colour of the wood.
If left untreated, the timber will weather to a silver colour which is attractive but shortens the life of the timber in a damp climate.

NB You should consider the environment and make sure that the timber comes from a sustainable source. Look for the FSC logo.

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Welwyn Garden City

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Houghton Conquest

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