Cement Benches

If you’re thinking about adding a garden bench to your landscape, you know there are a variety of styles and materials to choose from. We happen to be partial to cement, or concrete benches, because they’re durable, they blend in beautifully with the landscape, and they come in a wide variety of styles to suit any taste. But how do they stack up with other materials commonly used for garden benches?

A cement bench is quite heavy, so you won’t want to move it very often. (Actually, the correct term would be “concrete bench.” Portland cement is one of the materials, along with gravel, sand and water, that are used to create concrete. Another term that is sometimes used is “cast stone.”)

You should also be careful to choose a design that does not allow water to collect, for instance around incised words or figures, because the water will freeze and crack the concrete. This is one of the reasons why some “experts” say that concrete does not hold up well in Northern climates. The problem is not with the material, but with the design. If the bench has been designed correctly, it will last a lifetime, just like concrete buildings.

Concrete blends into most landscaping so well because it has the timeless look of stone.

Unlike a cement bench, a wooden garden bench will need to be carefully resealed on a yearly basis to prevent rot. Some kinds of wood, like teak, can hold up to the weather better than softer wood. Painted benches will need to be repainted on a regular basis. Wooden benches do have the advantage of being lighter, so they can be more easily moved to another spot in the garden. They also have a warmer feel than cast stone, concrete or metal, and painted wood benches can be repainted in a new color to change the look of your garden decor.

Wrought-iron benches have an airier look, and can blend in well with your flowers and other landscaping. You will want to make sure you purchase a bench with certified rust-resistant coating hardware. Regularly clean with a wire brush and repaint as needed to avoid rust formation. Although a concrete or wooden bench can be built at home by a handyman, most people do not have the tools or training to make a wrought-iron bench, and high-quality metal benches do tend to be expensive.

The least expensive and lightest bench is made from resin. This material can be molded and colored to mimic wood or other materials, and their low cost makes them a good choice for many homeowners. They can be damaged over time by sunlight, and should be brought in under cover before winter storms come through.