Gardening Guides

How to Choose an Outdoor Bench

A quality outdoor bench can be the crowning jewel to any garden. With so many choices of materials and finishes, how will you know which one is best suited to your style and budgetary needs?

A bench can complete your outdoor living space by adding just the right touch of comfort and beauty. It can make an undiscovered corner of your garden inviting and new. It will allow you to explore those corners of nature that you hadn't noticed before.

If you are sprucing up your outdoor living space and need to purchase a new outdoor bench, here are some great tips to consider while you're shopping around.

What Materials Work Best for Outdoor Benches?

When you're shopping for benches, it's essential to consider the bench's material. Each medium has its pros and cons. To choose the best fit for your garden, determine the climate and the usage of your bench.


This material is always an excellent choice for outdoor spaces. You can't go wrong with wooden outdoor benches, which is why wood is often used for park benches and other public outdoor seating areas.

Look for wood that is center-cut hardwood. Check the grain, as well, as it should be consistent. The material of the screws holding the bench together is also essential; stainless steel or zinc-plated screws work very well in outdoor climes, and if your seat gets loose with age, you can tighten the screws to make it sturdy again.

Some of the best types of wood to build an outdoor bench are cedar, pine, or teak.

  • Pine and cedar age into a silvery finish unless they're treated, and benches constructed of pine or cedar lasts for generations. Cedar is more expensive than pine.

  • Teak is a tropical tree used to make boats. It is excellent in withstanding the wear and tear of the outdoors and can last up to 50 years if properly taken care of, which is why it tends to be on the pricey side. To maintain its lovely reddish hue, apply oil once or twice a year.

"The real enemy of wood in the outdoors is not sun or rain, but frost and ice. That is easily remedied by placing your hardwood bench in a shady, protected spot and using the protective cover in the winter."

Black Wooden Classic Garden Bench
Brown Classic Wooden Outdoor Bench
Black Wooden Bottom Shelfe Garden Bench
Brown Wooden Storage Outdoor Bench
Gray Classic Wooden Garden Bench
Green Classic Wooden Garden Bench


This material is another excellent choice in terms of durability and price. Metal benches do not need as much care but also aren't quite as comfortable as wooden or wicker benches.

There are a few types of metal that work better in the outdoors than others. Cast aluminum, extruded aluminum, and ornate iron are three superb choices for outdoor metal benches.

  • Cast aluminum is heavy and durable, more so than extruded aluminum, and can convey intricate design patterns.

  • Extruded aluminum is not as durable as cast aluminum, but it is lighter, so it's easier to move around if you haven't decided on a spot yet.

  • Ornate iron was all the rage in the Victorian Age, and its curlicues and elaborate designs are reminiscent of this style period.

Metal outdoor benches are a great choice because they will last 50 years or more and won't wear visibly as wooden benches will.

Black Classic Steel Outdoor Bench
Black Traditional Aluminium Garden Bench
Black Classic Steel Park Bench
White Classic Iron Garden Bench
Black Butterfly Metal Garden Bench
Black Metal Swing Outdoor Bench

Other materials

There are also outdoor benches made of wicker, resin, or plastic. Wicker benches, whether all-natural or treated to make them weather-resistant, are made of rattan vines, bamboo, or cane. These should only be used in a covered area outdoors as they can degrade quickly.

Plastic or resin benches are a great affordable choice as they are lightweight, easy to care for, and the newer models offer some fantastic style choices.

Brown Wicker Storage Outdoor Bench
Black Classic Wicker Garden Bench
Grey Modern Rattan Garden Bench
Brown Woven Picnic Bench
Green Classic Resin Garden Bench
Blue Synthetic Plastic Outdoor Bench

How Do I Choose the Style of an Outdoor Benches?

Some materials lend themselves naturally to certain styles. Japanese benches are usually simple, with a wide seat, and without a back. These benches work best when they're made of wood or reclaimed wood.

Baroque benches are incredibly romantic and would fit perfectly underneath a weeping willow next to a meandering stream. The whorls and viney designs on these benches are best displayed in metal, although wood or wood-like plastic could make a credible substitute.

A contemporary bench would work in almost any material as this style can refer to the clean lines and simplicity of modern design or the slightly more ornate mid-century modern.

When talking about style, you should also consider whether you need a straight or curved bench. This will be affected by where you need to placeyour garden bench.

"If your patio or outdoor space has corners, you could go with Alcove benches or curved benches designed to fit into corners. Alcove benches are usually angled with a table in the middle for resting drinks, a snack, or a book."

Home Adore

Gray Modern Teak Outdoor Bench
Brown Simple Wooden Picnic Bench
Brown Baroque Wooden Park Bench
Black Brown Wood Metal Outdoor Bench
Brown Modern Wooden Tree Bench
Brown Modern Plastic Convertible Bench

Quick Tips

  • Weather-resistant cushions are a fabulous way to jazz up your outdoor bench. You can swap them with the changing seasons.
  • Clean outdoor cushions with warm water, soap, and a sponge or, if there are tougher stains, use a stiff-bristled brush.
  • Locate your bench amid a copse of trees or flowering bushes to create a private paradise.

"When siting garden benches it is best to consider laying a hard surface or gravel standing beneath the seat. This means that regular use will not wear away the lawn and, secondly, that mowing is much easier and the garden bench will not need to be moved with each mowing."

Gardens Illustrated

  • Situate your bench so that it affords whoever is sitting on it a gorgeous view, whether it's of the mountains or a flowering rose bush.
  • Pair your outdoor bench with a sturdy side table on which to place trays of lemonade and cookies, or your current novel.
Brown Modern Teak Garden Bench
Brown Modern Wooden Outdoor Bench
White Modern Plastic Garden Bench
White Modern Plastic Outdoor Bench
Black Modern Steel Patio Bench
Brown Modern Wooden Garden Bench

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