Our Guide to Caring for your Garden Bench
May 07, 2024

A garden bench is the perfect addition to any garden: It can help you create a dedicated, relaxing space to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. While garden benches are known to stand the test of time, they still need regular cleaning to keep them in top condition for years. Caring for and restoring a garden bench has never been easier with our handy guide – filled with quick, simple and affordable ways to look after your beloved garden bench seat.

How to Varnish a Garden Bench

The natural characteristics of hardwood benches give them a warming and timeless feel. Due to their natural foundations though, they require varnishing to bring out the unique grain features of the wood. Varnishing your garden bench also creates a protective seal to stop the wet weather from affecting its durability and garden appeal.

If your garden bench already has a layer of old varnish, it’s important to strip away any that remains on the wood first. A build-up of varnish will prevent the new layer from sticking, hindering your efforts to restore your bench. Sanding your wooden garden bench will cut through the existing varnish and stain to reveal a new layer of wood, ready for a new coat. 

Once you’ve thoroughly stripped, rinsed and dried your wooden garden bench, it’s time to apply a new layer of varnish, specifically made for hardwood and exterior applications. We recommend adding an epoxy layer first to help keep your varnish coating intact for years.

The Cuprinol Ultimate Furniture Oil is a fantastic clear oil that allows the natural beauty of your garden furniture to shine, while the Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain Satin Dark Oak is ideal for restoring a garden bench as it colours and protects exterior wood in rain and extreme winter conditions. Find the right varnish for your wooden bench in our exterior woodcare range. 

How To Treat Your Garden Bench

Preserving your garden bench is beneficial for all types of benches, whether it’s made of wood, plastic or metal. But it’s important to use the right oils or vanishes to achieve the final look you want. 

For hardwood benches, teak oil is a great garden bench treatment for replacing the sheen the hardwood may have lost due to weathering over time. Robust metal benches should be treated with multi-purpose drip oil to protect them from rust and corrosion, while multi-purpose cleaners work well on plastic to remove any unwanted stains and discolouration. Discover our metal paint selection to restore your metal bench to its former beauty and give it a new lease of life. 

How to Paint a Garden Bench

Painting a garden bench doesn’t need to feel like an overwhelming chore with our handy tips. But, before any painting can begin, it’s important to prep your outdoor bench. If it already has a layer of paint from last year, using a paint stripper such as the Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper can help restore it to its natural beauty.

Clean & Prime Your Outdoor Bench

We recommend cleaning your garden bench, once the old paint has been removed, especially if it’s been left outside over winter. Use a soft brush and a mixture of washing-up liquid and warm water to lightly scrub away any surface dirt and, if required, use sanding paper to smooth any rigid surfaces of your wooden bench and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Priming your garden bench like this before you paint will create a solid base for your garden paint to stick to. Before using a primer or undercoat paint, ensure it’s suitable for exterior use on either wooden or metal garden benches.

The Final Step: Painting the Garden Bench

Whether you’re looking for ideas for painting your garden bench or seeking the right colour to use, we’ve got you covered. If you’re opting for a wooden stain to highlight the natural elements of your bench, or seeking a bold colour, our exterior paint range has the perfect colour for every garden style. 

The Thorndown Sedge Green Wood Paint is great for those seeking an earthy tone for their garden bench, whilst the Thorndown Blackthorn Wood Paint provides a delicate and natural finish.

To make your garden bench unique, our engraver kit can etch a personalised engraving on your wooden, metal or plastic garden bench. It’s perfect for carving a special date, a loved one’s name, number or symbols.

How to Secure Your Garden Bench from Theft

Garden benches are a great addition to any outdoor space, particularly in a front garden. If you’re placing your bench in a more open space, we recommend securing the bench to a hard surface to protect it from theft. Try using the L-shaped anchor brackets to secure your bench fast. You just need four screws to firmly attach one of these brackets to your wooden, plastic or metal garden bench and ensure it doesn’t move into the wrong hands.

Protect Your Garden Bench From Harsh Weather Conditions 

During the cold and harsh winter months, the bad weather can take its toll on your bench. While varnishing or treating your garden bench does provide protective layering, the long autumn and winter months can still threaten its condition. To make it last for years to come, we suggest either storing it in a garage or shed, if available, or using a garden bench cover to prevent the elements from affecting the natural beauty of your outdoor bench.

In just a handful of steps, your garden bench will be restored to its former glory and protected from harsh elements. Discover garden furniture sets and more to make your outdoor space a relaxing haven.