Garden storage benches are the best way to make sure that you are optimising garden space efficiently.
This can be particularly relevant for those with small gardens, but really applies across the board.
If you’re going to have a bench, why not take advantage of the ground area already being used and get one with a built-in storage compartment.
Here are a few things to consider, to make sure you’re making an informed purchase and getting the best garden storage bench for your needs:
Choosing the Best Bench Material
The initial choice you have to make when deciding on which garden bench is best for you is the material. There are two main materials to choose from – you could pick either a plastic resin or wooden model.
Plastic resin is a more modern choice:
- It often comes in a style that is made to resemble wood.
- It’s much more durable than wood.
- It’s weatherproof, waterproof, difficult to damage and very low maintenance (a wash with soap and water once a year will usually suffice) .
- Some, more expensive, plastic benches will have UV protection – they won’t fade if exposed to continuous sunlight.
- The storage compartments on plastic benches will generally be more protected from the elements compared to wooden garden benches.
Wood is a more traditional choice:
- It offers a timeless and classic aesthetic addition to the garden.
- It needs to be treated yearly to make sure that the wood doesn’t rot.
- The storage compartment may not be watertight as wooden garden benches are often slatted.
- It will start to show weather damage over the years.
There are two main reasons to be concerned with seat size.
Firstly, you need to consider where you’re going to put the bench. Storage benches are great for smaller gardens, but of course it won’t be ideal if it takes up too much space.
Secondly, how many people are going to want to sit on it? As we’ve seen in the reviews above, most benches measuring 140 cm across are suitable for two adults. However, some benches are narrower, by as much as 25 – 30 cm. These might be a bit more of a squeeze for two adults, but will fit into a small garden easily and could be great for kids.
Consider how much space you have in the garden and how many people are realistically going to want to use the bench at one time. You may have to reach a bit of a compromise when it comes to choosing the best storage bench for your garden vs. the space you have available.
Storage Size and Functionality
And so, lastly, we arrive at the question of storage. Of course, if you’re buying a storage bench, you want the storage compartment to be genuinely useful to you. Otherwise, it may as well just be any old piece of garden furniture.
You will need to look at the specifications for the bench you want to buy, and check the storage compartment size carefully – it often differs from the outer dimensions of the bench.
Consider what sort of items you would like to pack away in there, for example: children’s toys, BBQ utensils, gardening tools and outdoor cushions, and take note of their size.
Finally, bear in mind that not all storage compartments are made equal. If you want to store cushions and toys, in a bench outside, you’re going to want something watertight. Generally speaking, resin benches are more reliably watertight than wooden benches, but as you can see from the list above – this can vary between designs.
Don’t forget, these may “officially” be garden benches, but they also offer extremely practical indoor storage solutions; for playrooms, bedrooms, and conservatories!
Some storage benches come with additional features which might make them more appealing to you.
One such feature is a padlock hasp. This makes it possible to securely close the storage box section of the bench. Although I wouldn’t recommend storing valuable items in a storage bench, even if it is closed with a padlock, being able to lock the bench can still offer additional security. Primarily, being able to lock the bench will ensure that animals such as foxes and cats can’t access the storage box. It will also prevent the bench from blowing open during bad weather.
Additionally, you might like to look for garden benches that come with padded cushions. Particularly if you often get uncomfortable sitting on a hard bench, you might enjoy the inclusion of a cushion. The benefit of one coming included with the bench is that it will fit the dimensions well. This can be hard to get right when buying furniture cushions separately.
Checking whether the construction material has UV protection is also a good idea. Although this isn’t as relevant with wooden storage benches, it’s something to look out for in benches made from plastic and resin. If the bench has not been given any UV protection, it is likely to fade and degrade from exposure to the sun. Not only will this lead to the bench looking tired, but it can also weaker the overall construction. For this reason, a UV-protected material is a good feature to look out for.
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