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Park Bench Buying Guide

A park bench is just a park bench, and choosing one for your space should not require a lot of thought - or should it? When you stop to think about it, if you were purchasing a park bench as a gift for someone else, you'd most likely give some thought as to the type or style of bench they would want. If someone asked you what kind of a bench you would like as a gift, you'd likely give that some careful thought as well.

Choosing a bench should not be particularly difficult nor should it require extensive research or in-depth analysis. Ask yourself the right questions, and you stand a better chance of ending up with a place to sit that suits your needs.

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself

This guide should help you by asking a number of questions about park benches. As you go down the list, you'll come to realize that a bench is often more than just a place to sit and rest your feet.

1. Is Appearance Important? - You probably don't want a piece of furniture that's unattractive, even if it's for use outdoors. Many benches are neither attractive nor unattractive; they are simply benches. How a bench fits in with the landscape can sometimes matter, and how attractive or appealing it is can matter as well. There are times when a bench needs to be chosen based on how it fits in with its surroundings, making such things as color, material, and style important. Appearance is not easy to quantify - it's largely up to you.

2. Is Comfort Important? - Not all benches are designed for comfort, but if it's your personal bench, comfort is most likely important. A wood bench is apt to be more comfortable than one made of stone or metal, especially in very cold weather. A slightly curved seat is usually more comfortable than a flat seat, and a back of the right height that leans back at a slight angle is more comfortable than is a vertical back, or a back that is too low.

3. Is Durability Important? - In this case you want to ask yourself if you want a bench that will last for a few years or for a lifetime. Few will last a lifetime, but a solidly-constructed bench should be good for at least 20 to 30 years.

4. Is Landscaping a Factor? - In a large park, landscaping may not be all that much of a factor in making your choice, but in an estate setting or in a smaller garden, landscaping can play a definite role as to what style or type of bench would look best. Try to visualize how a bench type or style will look in your chosen location, or look for examples.

5. Does It Need to Seat One, Two, or More? - Get a bench that can comfortably seat at least two people. Even if you don't intend to share it with someone else (you never know when you suddenly might), the extra space is always nice to have. A curved rather than a straight bench is a good choice for three or more people, especially if they are to be sitting around a fire.

6. Plastic, Metal, or Wood? - Recycled plastic benches tend to be strong and durable. Benches made of recycled plastic will often outlast wood, and require a minimum amount of maintenance. You can purchase metal benches made of aluminum or steel. Some are coated with thermo plastic. Steel benches are often powder coated. Wood benches are typically more traditional looking, as you would expect a park bench to be, and also tend to fit in better with outdoor surroundings.

7. Portable or Stationary? - Most benches are portable. You may however want a bench that is to be mounted in or bolted to concrete as a permanent fixture.

8. Do You Want to Sit or Sit and Lean Back? - A bench that is meant for sitting on, especially for any length of time, needs a back. A bench purchased as a landscape feature will not necessarily need a back, nor will one mainly used for a moment's rest or contemplation.

9. Is the Bench a Gift, or a Memorial? - A bench that is being purchased as a gift will usually require a certain amount of thought as to what type or style the recipient would prefer. If you are purchasing a bench as a memorial, such as to a spouse or a close friend, style and durability would be key factors, and wood is often the material of choice.

10. How much Does a Bench Cost? - Benches typically cost between $100 and $400, but expect to pay more for a custom-made wooden bench of the highest quality.

Now you have everything you need to know about choosing the right park bench for your space. A picture is however worth a thousand words, and viewing images of a number of different styles and types should help you to zero in on exactly what you want.

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Find more about the author: Kristen Breedlove