The familiar park bench is an integral feature of the urban landscape and countryside, providing a comfortable place to relax and watch the world go by. Traditionally, park benches consisted of an ornate and intricate cast iron frame, with the slats crafted from strong and durable teak or other hardwood. These old-fashioned benches, whilst adding character and charm, are extremely expensive, and they were never designed to meet the ravages of weather, theft and vandalism. Whilst cast-iron seats still find a niche in private gardens, other materials provide more durability for a lower price, albeit by sacrificing a little elegance
The Cast Iron Park Bench
The cast iron option is possibly the most ornate of all the solutions, usually consisting of cast iron ends, with wooden slats providing the seating area, combining the dynamism of iron with the comfort and elegance of wood. Some varieties are made entirely of iron, although they are not the most comfortable style.
The hybrid benches are reasonably priced, sturdy, and comfortable, making them a great choice that blends into most garden design themes. As with wooden benches, it is important to take care of the wooden components, nourishing them with teak oil or other preservatives to protect them from extreme weather and ensure that they remain a fixture of your garden for many years. In addition, the ironwork may need the occasional touch up to ensure that rust does not eat away at the metal. Apart from looking ugly, this will compromise the beauty of the bench, turning it from a feature piece into an eyesore.
The Concrete Park Bench
The ubiquitous concrete park benches are the most common type, and combine high durability with value for money. Concrete benches are constructed with strong cast concrete ends and sturdy timber struts providing reasonably comfortable seating. These benches are exceptionally strong, and the sheer weight makes theft a difficult proposition, but they are very ugly and can detract from the aesthetics of an area.
In addition, the wooden slats are attacked by both weather and vandals. Despite these disadvantages, the concrete park bench is an excellent choice for municipal areas and buildings, their sturdy construction and immovability making them the practical choice.
Teak Park Benches
Park benches constructed from durable teak are one of the most beautiful options, especially as the teak ages and matures into a deep and rich silver finish. Teak benches are easily available, and do not cost a fortune, but this type does carry some disadvantages. Teak park benches must to be treated with teak oil every year, or they will soon rot. The beauty of teak means that these benches are a prime target for thieves and, in a sad indictment of human nature, they often need to be chained to a nearby post or tree.
These benches are most often found in private homes and as memorial benches, but there are a couple of other factors that you should consider. Firstly, teak is a tropical hardwood, so you should make sure your bench is made from timber derived from a sustainable source. Secondly, cheaper teak park benches can be extremely flimsy, so cheaper is not always better.
Of course, teak is not the only wood used for park benches, and oak, pine, eucalyptus and maple wood are just some of the other options. Whilst there is some difference in the relative durability of the different timbers, treatment with preservative or varnish will ensure that your wooden bench will last for many years. Choosing a timber bench really depends upon price and upon aesthetic appeal.
The Metal Park Bench
Steel and aluminum park benches are becoming more common, combining strength, and practicality. Metal park benches are available in two major variations: The first resembles the traditional park bench, using box girders as the frame and the slats. The other variant consists of a tubular metal frame with flat pressed metal sheets providing the seating.
The metal park bench is more expensive than concrete and wooden benches, but are extremely vandal resistant. Tough powder coating protects these benches and ensures that they are corrosion resistant and long lasting. However, they are ugly and uncomfortable, especially in extreme cold, where they conduct body hear away a little too quickly.
The Resin Park Bench
A new entrant to the fray is the resin park bench, and this material is rapidly becoming the material of choice, combining looks, strength and comfort with a very competitive price. Many enterprising companies mold plastic benches from recycled plastic, derived from old circuit boards, so choosing the plastic option also helps the environment. Plastic park benches come in a wide array of colors, from imitation teak to brightly colored benches for play areas and schools. The choice really is limited only by the imagination.
Plastic is an extremely adaptable medium, and is often combined with other materials. For example, concrete and cast iron park benches often incorporate plastic slats instead of the traditional wood, providing a cheap and efficient way to reduce the effects of vandalism and weathering. Instead of expensive powder coating, metal park benches are often coated with a layer of thermoplastic, which is a little warmer on a freezing morning.
Park Benches – The Practical Choice
Park benches are available in a huge number of options, and each type carries its own advantages and disadvantages. Selecting the best park bench for your specific purpose is a simple matter of assessing your priorities, and balancing the aesthetic appeal with budget and durability. Finding the perfect bench could not be easier, and finding an online of high-street supplier is easier than ever.
The Park Bench in the News
- New Park Benches Liven up a Park
- Community Park Benches
- The Lakewood Observer :: Read :: 5 :: 16 :: Time To Paws And Appreciate The Park
The Lakewood Observer brings you fresh local news for the Lakewood area, written and produced by local residents.
- Tales from a Park Bench : TreeHugger
Image from Tales from a Park Bench Park benches are a place to chat, rest and watch the world go by. We wrote about Stephen Emms’ project and magazine column, Bench Marks, where he explains the story behind the
- Nottingham artists Michael Pinchbeck and Hetain Patel are among those shortlisted for an Arts Counci
A HEARTBEAT and a sit-down on a bench are the ideas behind two Nottingham artists’ proposed projects for the 2012 London Olympics. Michael Pinchbeck…
- Conversations on a Park Bench – On Being Jewish
They have a son, they told us, and he’s going out with non-Jewish girls. They’re terrified he’ll marry out. Have we any solutions? Yup, just like that, standing in front of the Bonsai exhibit, in fifty words or less they sought the solution to keepin
- The park bench workout – The Denver Post
- Dedicating Park Benches
- Park Bench Vandalism
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