A few years ago Rich got hold of an ace new bench from Sloane & Sons. His Westminster is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship and he has been bragging about it ever since, suggesting meetings round his house are held outside (even in winter) just so I’m forced to sit on the bench and admire its sturdy features.
Last week we were chatting with the good folk at Sloane & Sons discussing how, with the country in lockdown, and gardens being busier than ever, those Westminster benches have been flying out of the warehouse.* During the conversation I casually mentioned that my own garden was currently bereft of benches** and, quick as a flash, they offered to rectify the situation with a handsome flat arm Turnberry teak bench.
In return for this generosity I have agreed to write about the bench’s exquisite qualities while providing some insight into where the best place to position it might be…
Where to place a garden bench
Anyone unpacking a new bench might be inclined to simply plonk it where there’s some convenient space. But seeing as you’re going to spend a fair bit of time relaxing on your new piece of furniture it pays to give due consideration to where it might fit best, re-landscaping that area if necessary. When casting an eye across my own garden these are the questions that I worked my way through
Do I want to maximise sun or shade?
Which direction should the bench face?
Should it be close to the house (for convenience) or as far away as possible (for escape)?
What should the neighbouring planting scheme consist of?
What surface should it sit on?
My garden is North East facing, so during the afternoon and evening the sunniest spot is at the end furthest away from the house. This is where my neighbours have their bench and they can be seen reclining on it, glasses of booze in hand, on most sunny evenings. However, the far end of my garden is currently a mess and I prefer a bench closer to the house.
Besides giving me a shorter journey from beer fridge to furniture it also allows me to keep a better eye on dogs and children running in and out of the house. In design terms, a bench that is visible from inside the house can also create the illusion of the garden being an extension of the home, encouraging more frequent use of the outdoor space.
Because most of my bench dwelling will be during the heat of the midday sun, some shade will be quite useful, so I’ve placed the bench among tall plants for a dappled light effect. It’s surrounded by rose and honeysuckle, giving me some floral fragrance while I relax, and there’s room either side for pots of further scented specimens (I will soon choose between lavender and rosemary).
As it’s by the border it faces out across the lawn, giving me a good view of the garden (and my lager-swigging neighbours). I have a slate chipping surface, which allows it nestle down solidly while providing a dryer base than the lawn, which will help protect it from damp. I may be missing out on that evening sun but in situ it looks splendid.
Turnberry Flat Arm 2-Seater Teak Bench
The main difference between my Turnberry bench and Rich’s Westminster is in its curves. Where Rich’s is all straight lines, my Turnberry flows with a graceful sophistication. A gentle arch across the top, and curved slats to lean against, provide excellent support and comfort for post-digging backs, while the smooth curvature of the arms is ideal for leaning on. Like Rich’s Westminster, the arms are flat, but mine widen at the front to create an ample platform on which to rest a mug or pint pot.
The bench arrives as a flatpack, but assembly is easy – the back, base and arms are already made up so it’s just a case of fixing them together with the narrow strip of wood at the front. Simply hammer in a handful of wooden dowels and a screw in a couple of screws (the screws are underneath so won’t be visible) and you’ll have a perfectly sturdy bench that’s ready to take the strain.
From now on, meetings are round my house.
If you want a Turnberry teak bench to rest upon the click here
*Rich claims his bragging on this website is partly responsible
**I had an old, narrow bench (converted from a shoe rack) which finally succumbed to rot last winter