Sitting Pretty: 20 Garden Bench Ideas for Every Backyard
Garden benches come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and designs. Find a style to enhance your landscape and encourage taking time to relax.
One of the simplest ways to savor the season is by relaxing on a garden bench. From there, you can truly appreciate the beauty of nature and the fruits of your outdoor labor, as outdoor bench seating reminds us to literally stop and smell the roses. Garden seats can also serve as an inviting spot for family and friends to gather, as well as a focal point in your landscape design.
Since styles, sizes, and materials abound, get started here with our curated selection of garden bench ideas for inspiration.
1. Vintage Victorian
Typical of Victorian furnishings and architecture, this garden bench features an intricate design with attention to detail. Constructed of painted wrought iron, this bench is heavy, sturdy, and durable. Belying the delicate beauty of its complex pattern and the brightness of its white color, this wrought iron bench is capable of withstanding the elements. Maintenance is easy with a power washer, a little soap, and perhaps some steel wool for stubborn stains. This bench is well-suited to a Victorian or other stately historic home.
2. Built-in Planter Box
Simple and sturdy, this combination trough planter and bench seat is multifunctional. Available in two sizes, both of which are big enough to hold large plants, the bench requires minimal maintenance, and in fact you may want to let the bare steel weather to an attractive patina.
Formed by folding Corten steel panels (avoiding welds that can break), this bench is modern and practical. The bench seat made of polystyrene and aluminum—lifts off to provide storage space for garden tools or other outdoor paraphernalia.
3. Tropical Teak
Teak is traditionally used for outdoor wooden benches due to its strength and density, as well as its natural oils that help make it weather resistant. This live-edge bench made from reclaimed wood adds a rustic touch—lending a DIY wood bench feel, even if you don’t actually build it yourself. Each bench is unique in shape and grain pattern. Its weight adds stability and its ease of care enhances the appeal. Teak can be oiled and sealed to retain the honey-brown hue or left to turn naturally gray, needing only mild soap, a soft-bristled brush, and water to clean.
4. Arbor Arch
Imagine your favorite fragrant vines climbing the arbor above the bench you love to sit on. One of the most romantic bench designs, this combo bench-and-arbor could make the picture-perfect setting for wedding or engagement photos. Made of UV- and water-resistant solid wood, this arbor bench adds height to a garden. Bench plans include instructions for assembly.
5. Classic Cast Iron
The classic black cast iron bench boasts Art Nouveau-esque swirls in the backrest and a middle wave, providing a contrast with the clean, simple lines of the seat and arms. Sized to comfortably seat three adults, this bench is a comfortable 21 inches deep. A traditional choice, cast iron benches are heavy (ideal for windy areas) and durable. While generally low maintenance, cast iron will need protection from rust.
6. Tree Trunk
It doesn’t get more rustic than a bench carved out of a tree stump. If you have fallen trees on your property, you may have discovered how difficult and costly it is to remove the trunk. Instead, why not create a natural sitting spot in the heart of your yard? Plus, by leaving dead wood, you permit soil stabilization, nutrient retention, and biodiversity. This DIY outdoor bench requires a chainsaw or ax to carve away portions of the trunk.
7. Cozy Curves
For more intimate seating, backless curved benches take the spotlight off the seating and put it on a focal point in the center of the circle (or semi-circle). That could be a fire pit, a tree, a fountain, or anything that makes you want to gather around with family and friends. Each section seats two to three people on a comfortable slatted surface. Square legs and clean lines complete the simple look of these wood benches.
8. Clever Convertible
Sometimes you simply want to sit down and relax; other times, you need a working surface. This weather-resistant polystyrene simulated wood and powder-coated metal bench converts to accommodate both needs in just seconds. It takes just one person to easily adjust the bench to suit, and its simple contemporary styling suits a large variety of decor schemes. Bonus: Put two together to form a full-size picnic table—or two benches, as the situation dictates.
9. Barrel Bench
If sipping wine en plein air is a favorite activity, this bench—crafted from a genuine French oak wine barrel—ought to fill the bill. The barrel is laid on its side so that the metal chime hoops on the ends form the arms for a cozy fit. It’s mounted on a frame so it won’t roll away, features a comfortable seat made of aged oak slats, and lends a whimsical look to an outdoor setting. A votre sante!
10. Modern Minimalist
The popular floating vanity look found in contemporary interiors comes to the great outdoors. The seat of this industrial-style backyard bench hangs over its base, which appears to vanish into the scenery. A solid “block” of wood panels with no back, it takes up very little visual space and can seamlessly blend into its surroundings.
11. Glide On!
You don’t have to be a kid to love a little gliding action. This glider bench, made of weather-resistant polystyrene simulated wood that won’t splinter, features ball bearings for a smooth, quiet, relaxing motion. UV protection keeps the material from fading, cracking, and peeling. This low-maintenance bench doesn’t need painting, varnishing, or staining and is easy to clean with just a swipe of a dam rag.
12. Basalt Beauty
Basal (a dark, fine-grained igneous rock) is often used for outdoor furniture because, as volcanic rock, it’s one of the densest and strongest stones available. It’s resistant to cracks and practically impervious to weather. This bench boasts a Stonehenge vibe with its rustic chiseled edges and legs, but other basalt benches can be polished to elegant perfection. It’s a good choice for Zen meditation in a natural setting.
13. Seat with Storage
Think inside the box! This squared-off bench offers ample storage space (70 gallons) for garden tools and hoses, toys, patio cushions, or any other items that need to get tucked away when not in use. It’s even padlock compatible for extra security. The polypropylene material is weather resistant, so it won’t rust, peel, or dent, but the resin has a wood texture for a more traditional look.
14. Around the Tree
This half-round metal bench is designed to sit against a 16-inch-diameter tree. Two can be combined to complete the full circle, but they do not bolt together. Formed of aged, painted green steel, the charming bench should weather well with little maintenance needed other than the occasional cleanup. This delicately shaped tree bench looks like it might be found in a park near a Paris Metro station.
15. Basic Bench
If you wanted to build a bench on your own, you might find plans for one that looks something like this simple outdoor bench. This model is made of Acacia wood and it sits on a powder-coated frame. The modern industrial-style seat is practical, comfortable, and durable enough to resist wear and weather. The heavy frame ensures its stability, while a slatted top allows water to run off, preventing a wet seat.
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16. Neat Concrete
If your garden design is “set in stone” and you don’t anticipate alterations, you might consider a cost-effective concrete and wood bench. Creating a DIY concrete bench requires a certain skill level, but can result in a unique, personalized piece that’s perfectly sized for your garden space. The addition of a wooden seat – and possibly sides – further customizes the look. Those hoping to learn how to build a bench like this should research using forms to pour concrete.
17. Swinging Seat
Is there any better way to relax on a hot summer day than to sit in the shade and gently swing? This easy-to-assemble, portable swing comfortably holds two adults under a sun-shielding canopy fashioned from canvas. A coating resistant to UV, rot, and weather protects the shorea (a tropical hardwood) bench to give long life to this swinging seat.
18. Secluded Seating
What happens when you take a simple wooden bench and incorporate it into a three-sided lattice arbor? Suddenly, it becomes a romantic hideaway. Ideal for a cozy reading nook or a private spot for viewing a lovely garden, this covered bench can feel like it’s part of the foliage when climbing plants grow up the lattice sides.
19. Faux Finishes
This heavy, industrial-style bench boasts ample chunky charm, and its good looks are likely to last. The piece is constructed of durable natural material with a faux distressed wood finish, complete with manmade wormholes. It’s an eco-friendly, durable, and low-maintenance choice, providing practical seating that gives the impression of an aged iron-and-railroad-tie bench.
20. Conversation Piece
This semi-circular, high-backed wood bench creates an ideal setting for friends and family to gather for conversation. Add a small table in the center to hold drinks and snacks or a patio umbrella for shade. Horizontal slats along the backrest provide eye-catching detail and offer an inviting embrace that welcomes visitors to your garden.