The best garden benches have the power to turn a patch of greenery into an extension of your home. They work well as standalone seating, placed under a tree, or perhaps overlooking a pond, but can also be used as part of your patio furniture set-up.
So if you are in the market for the best garden furniture, we’ve brought together some of our favourite garden benches on the market to help you find your new favourite outdoor seat.
What is the best garden bench?
Best places to buy garden benches
As with all outdoor furniture, it’s advisable to think about materials before buying a garden bench. Wooden garden furniture is a popular choice for its traditional looks, and rightly so, although some woods are better than others at coping with life outdoors. Our top choice, the Byron Bench by Rowan & Wren, is made of solid teak, which is prized for its strong, split-resistant and weatherproof qualities. Metal benches, like the Charles Bentley Tulip Bench, are similarly undemanding garden inhabitants, usually just needing a wipe down every so often.
Whatever style you’re going for in your garden, keep reading below for our pick of the best modern, traditional and out-there options to suit.
Once you've chosen the one for your garden, check out our sourcebook of garden suppliers for all your garden shopping needs.
This indoor-outdoor bench from Rowen & Wren won’t be restricted to just one use, so if you’re on the lookout for a place to sling coats in the hallway or seat extras in the kitchen, Byron might just be your guy. It’s as a garden bench that it really comes into its own though, with a strong, weatherproof build courtesy of sustainably sourced solid teak that means it’s happy outside all year. This doesn’t impact on the lovely warm appeal of the wood either, and the rounded spindles and low back give it a distinct Ercol vibe. Wonderful all round.
Bamboo might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re racking your brain for strong, weatherproof materials for garden furniture, but there’s a reason this highly sustainable material is big news in interiors (and exteriors) right now. In the Hampstead bench from Garden Trading, it gives a gorgeously retro vibe and provides a comfortable seating experience without compromising on durability, with slender powder-coated steel legs for good measure. And, like our first choice, we hear it looks just as good in the conservatory as out on the patio.
While our first two picks are tops for modern gardens, if you’re looking for the perfect addition to a more traditional or cottage garden, this Charles Bentley Tulip Bench may just be it. With a very apt tulip motif and scalloped edge, it’s unusual and beautiful in equal measure, and the equally ornate seat adds loads more visual and textural interest without sacrificing comfort. Materials-wise, cast aluminium excels in creating a delicate look, but also in standing firm enough to withstand the weather, offering the best of both worlds.
If you think that a metal garden bench means sitting bolt upright and suffering from a serious case of numb bum, this Hay Palissade lounge sofa invites you to think again. With a gently curved one-piece back and seat – no aggressive right angles here – it encourages lolling and summer lounging of all kinds while still maintaining that traditional look. Its metal construction makes for strength without bulk, thanks to the slender but well-spaced slats that encourage even weight distribution for a comfortable sit, and the minimal slim arms contribute to a look that’s thoroughly modern.
This cosy corner arbour proves that even the smallest gardens can benefit from stylish seating. A right-angled arbour is great for extending the use of a corner plot, or any walled section of the garden, where a straight two-seater bench may not feel quite right, and with the inclusion of trellised rather than solid walls, it not only allows more light in and continued lined of vision down the garden, it’s very handy for growing climbers up too. While not fully solid, this corner bench also gives more shelter than the average offering, making it a good one for cups of tea on chilly days.
If you have your eye on an arbour but would rather a less closed-off look, this Royalcraft piece could make a wonderful middle ground. It won’t provide the shelter of a solid wood arbour, however its intricate detailing not only makes it a beautifully decorative place to relax in dry weather, it could also be used to support climbing plants, providing the opportunity for both scent and shade. Whether you decide to make it part of the furniture, or leave it bare to shine in its own right, its romantic looks mean it’s sure to look wonderful in a cottage garden or French-style space.
Make the very most of your outdoor dining area with the addition of this Edson bench by Made. The low-lying backless design means it’s easy to store while not in use, and it could even be slid under the table to make for more deck space when the dining’s done. Considering its contemporary good looks though, we’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to hide it away. In powder-coated steel and cement, it’s undeniably sturdy as well as directional – if you’re cultivating an industrial look outside, we recommend this one.