Sales of garden furniture have boomed, growing by 120 per cent in the first three months of 2021 alone, as many of us continue to socialise outdoors amid the coronavirus and long summer evenings beckon. In fact, its so popular that several retailers have warned that supplies could be low with Brexit also contributing to the shortage with import delays.
But because we’re now spending more time in our gardens than ever before, it’s important to find comfortable, durable and stylish outdoor seating.
Benches are perhaps the most versatile option and their smaller footprint makes them ideal for more modest outdoor spaces.
Materials matter when it comes to choosing the right bench for you and wood looks naturally appropriate outdoors. Although it’s heavy and may need protecting from the elements, it does develop an attractive weathered finish over time. Look for Forest Stewardship Council certification, which shows that it comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. Teak can also be left outdoors all year round and is super-durable but expensive, while eucalyptus is cheaper and has similar durability.
Metal is lightweight but at risk of rust and may need repainting. For all materials, check the manufacturer’s advice on winter storage and make sure you have space inside.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best garden benches for 2021 are:
- Best for minimalists – Forest garden double sleeper bench: £105, Wilko.com
- Best for graceful good looks – Oban bench: £239.99, Crocus.co.uk
- Best for laidback lazing – Charles Taylor traditional two-seater: £195.99, Primrose.co.uk
- Best for smart use of space – Dobbies planter box bench: £99, Dobbies.com
- Best for arts and crafts aficionados – Bramblecrest Lutyens-style bench: £420, Danielstores.co.uk
- Best for contemporary exteriors – Garden Vida slatted garden bench: £79.95, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for back yards on a budget – Homebase steel bench in black: £70, Homebase.co.uk
- Best for withdrawing from the world – AFK Garden Furniture cottage arbour in sage and cream: £499, Duxburyshomeandgarden.co.uk
- Best for park-life nostalgia – Notcutts Windsor eucalyptus bench: £199.99, Notcutts.co.uk
- Best for the loved-up – Vernon metal bench in sea pine: £67, Diy.com