How to Choose a Wooden Garden Bench with Personality
Outdoor furniture is more than just a spot to lounge on lazy summer days. A beautiful bench can become a focal point in your landscaping, or a destination on your walks. The design may speak to you in tones ornate or austere, rustic or refined. Well-made wooden garden benches can last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important to choose furniture based not just on price, but also on aesthetics, purpose, and personality.
Personality? Yes, even furniture can project characteristics to be admired. Sometimes, a piece of furniture has personality embedded in its purpose. Outside storage benches, for instance, exude functionality, as they help their owners keep the garden looking neat and tidy. Personality may reveal itself through design, which may be old-fashioned, elegant, or no-nonsense. When choosing outdoor furniture that reflects your style, it’s important to consider the type of wood that went into its making. Here are the personalities of some of the wood you’re likely to meet in a stroll through the garden.
Quick growing and abundant, friendly and warm, acacia enjoys its role as an inexpensive wood that brings the joy of a garden bench to those on limited budgets. It wants to fit in with your other furniture and your house, so it begs you to stain it or paint it to match. It always emphasizes the positive, so it rejects negative concepts like rot and decay. It’s so welcoming that it even allows in the occasional termite or furniture beetle, so it’s important to protect it from bad company. This gregarious wood doesn’t like to be alone – it’s happiest when providing the setting for a lively conversation among friends.
Cedar relishes its commonplace status as a durable and lightweight wood. It is loyal and hardworking, rejecting insects and rot so that it can be there for you when you need it. This wood is so generous that it’s easy to forget that it has needs, too. Without a yearly application of sealant, cedar becomes rough to the touch. Its soft grain retains the dings and dents of abuse. Although cedar doesn’t mind its status as the go-to wood for picnic tables and sturdy garden benches, it will proudly pull out the family photo album to show you the red cedar relative that became a stunning porch swing.
This wood is the polar opposite of Acacia. It would never even think of associating with insects, and it exudes a natural preservative to let rot know who’s boss. Where Acacia invites, Cypress rejects almost everything, including shrinking, warping, and swelling. When the elements come calling, cypress turns its back on rain and sun, snow and sleet. It disdains the need for paint or stain. Cypress prefers to age naturally, without make-up or facelifts. Its low-maintenance nature makes it the perfect choice for people who don’t have the time and energy to worry about the garden furniture’s feelings.
A member of the aristocracy, teak is supremely strong and self-confident. It is a beautiful wood and it knows its worth. Teak has a tight grain, never swells or shrinks, has natural oils that repel water, naturally resists decay and invasion by insects, and maintains its color as it ages. The one flaw in teak’s character is its inability to understand weakness. It does, however, engage in a bit of charity by donating its restorative oil to the maintenance of wood that is less fortunate.
Shorea is forever trying to keep up with the Teakses. Like teak, it originates in tropical rainforests, and has a tight-grained hardwood with great strength that repels water and resists decay. When it looks in the mirror, it sees that it has aged to a lovely gray patina. It can’t quite understand why it commands a lower retail price, but it assumes it has something to do with teak’s legendary oil reserves. Therefore, shorea is happiest when you periodically slather it in teak oil.
Now that you know the personality of the wood that went into making the vast array of garden benches available for purchase, you’ll be able to choose furniture that suits your style. Are you an elegant aristocrat? Try a teak bench with a Chippendale pattern. Want teak but can’t afford it? Shorea is the wood for you. Constantly rearranging the seating area? Cedar doesn’t mind being pushed around. Have a busy lifestyle? Cypress is your low-maintenance option. And did that garden bench just wink at you? Let me introduce you to acacia, your new best friend.