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The Mystique of the Garden Bench
By David Chandler

What better way to spend a lazy summer day than sitting on a beautiful garden bench. The humble garden bench can hold a special place in our hearts and our memories. Do you remember sitting with a grandparent, parent or other family member just relaxing and enjoying the view? On the other hand, does your garden bench have a more romantic memory shared with your significant other?

Location, location, location! The location of your bench should be placed some distance from your home, if possible, and within view from your home. The bench will then call out to you to take a walk, sit down, relax, and enjoy the view. A good tip to remember is it is not where the bench looks good, but what looks good when sitting on your bench!

Garden benches come in a variety of colors and materials. The type of bench you choose is a matter of taste, although when selecting your bench, consider practicality as well as being an ornamental garden feature.

Wood benches made from hardwood such as teak, redwood, mahogany, or cedar can stay outside year-round. While these benches are pricey, they are not rot-resistant and will turn a silver gray color when left unattended. These benches need to be washed once a year with mild soap and a bit of bleach. Benches made from pressure-treated wood (as seen on decks) are another option. Painted benches made from wood should remain inside or under cover.

Metal benches options are cast or tubular aluminum, wrought iron. Although wrought iron is nice to behold, it will rust and therefore should be saved for indoor use. Cast aluminum benches are poured into molds and therefore can simulate wood or wrought iron. Aluminum benches can come in all different colors and antique finishes. The paint is baked on for durability and these benches can easily be cleaned with soap and water.

Benches made from carved stone, stone slabs, and cast stone require no maintenance other than an occasional dusting off debris.

Wicker and rattan settees say "garden," but save them for covered porches or inside. There are All-weather wicker benches, usually made from woven synthetics on an aluminum frame, which can go outside.

Also, do not rule out low-priced plastic or resin benches. They are lightweight and wash up with soap and water, though prolonged exposure to the elements can make them brittle.


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