Okay, so I’m probably pushing it a little bit with that title, but I DID ask a question about my new garden bench on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and quite a few people answered, so that sort of counts as a debate I think. Also, you want the best garden bench for your garden and you want to know where to put it, so I know you’re interested.
My dilemma was this: a lovely company called Garden Benches was, as the name suggests, sending me a new garden bench.* However, my back garden currently resembles a prison yard. It’s literally just a square of fenced in gravel. There is even some spray paint on the fence panels where I sprayed my bed pink, which adds to the ‘abandoned railway embankment’ vibe. I didn’t especially want to sit out there.
My front garden however, is much tidier. (Not a euphemism.) Our house is off the road a little bit, so I look out onto a nice little patch of grass and people often walk past with dogs. I’ve even planted out Belle’s apple tree. You remember the one we accidentally grew from a pip when she was tiny? We’ve dragged it round with us in this battered old pot, praying that one day we’d have a house of our own to plant it in, and now, thank God, it has a home.
I have some plants in pots too. Generally the front garden is a much friendlier place to be and makes you feel less like you are part way through a three year sentence for actual bodily harm.
So, I asked on Facebook whether it was okay to have a garden bench in your FRONT garden, or whether people walking past would think it was a bit weird to see me sat there with a cup of tea. One person did say that it was fine, as long as I sat out there in a grubby dressing grown smoking a roll-up, but the general consensus seemed to be to go for it, to embrace front garden bench life. (I think what people were trying to say was ‘Grow up! It’s your house! Put the bench wherever you want and stop seeking approval on Facebook!’)
So here we are.
I went for the ‘Oxford Cross Weave Back‘ bench in teak, which I have to say is the best garden bench I’ve ever owned. (Also the only one, but still.) It’s a dainty 120cm wide, so it doesn’t look like my garden is a park or anything, it just fits nicely under the kitchen window. It was really simple to put together, very solid, and because I own a house and I’m that sort of person now, I also gave it a good rub down with some teak oil that I happened to have under the kitchen sink.
It’s a lovely shiny brown colour now and I’m very much enjoying sitting outside with a cup of tea and a magazine and offering friendly ‘hellos’ to the dog walkers. (To be honest it’s nice to escape the smell of cat food for a while. The kittens aren’t allowed outside yet, so the atmosphere inside is distinctly catty.)
It’s also proving very handy as a way for people to find our new house. I hosted book group for the first time here this month, and two people came through the front door saying ‘I knew I was in the right place because of the bench outside!’ Definitely a perk.
It also makes me feel a bit like I am on holiday, which is never a bad feeling. I could be an elderly woman sat outside her house in rural Spain, chatting to her neighbours, or maybe I’m in a friendly caravan park, sat next to my caravan on my special caravan garden furniture, which I keep in one of those outside storage boxes when I’m not using it. You know the sort.
Basically then I am putting an end to the garden bench debate. Front garden benches are IN.
You heard it here first.
*Free of charge, for the purposes of this review, but all opinions my own and I especially asked for it so you know I must like it.