The garden furniture industry is rich with terminology, although to the average consumer, it can initially come across as confusing jargon. To help you choose your products with confidence, we’ve put together a handy glossary which covers many of the specialist terms surrounding garden benches and their care. If you need guidance, this page will get you up to speed in no time.
A tropical hardwood tree, known for its hardiness and quick growth. Acacia wood has an attractive wavy grain and a greater variation in colour compared to other hardwoods.
Cornis is made from an FSC mix derived from Viatnamese khaya mahogany and has a dense grain with few knots. Its colour can vary between a gentle pink to a deeper reddish brown.
The final layer of paint, oil, wax or varnish applied to a piece of wood.
A ground anchor is an accessory that keeps benches fixed to the ground. They’re often used on benches in public spaces to prevent theft but also provide the additional benefit of increased stability. There are anchor kits to suit different ground types, from concrete to soil, and some come with additional security fittings for extra protection.
Hardwood is the type of wood that comes from deciduous or angiosperm trees that produce fruits or nuts. Though most hardwoods live up to the name and are very dense, there are some exceptions to this rule. Examples of well-known hardwoods are teak, oak, mahogany and beech. Although teak falls into this category, the term 'hardwood' is generally used within the industry to refer to other non-teak hardwood timbers used for bench making.
A bench designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. These benches are characterised by elegant curves and a symmetrical design with an emphasis on traditional romantic aesthetics.
Mahogany is a hardwood most associated with antique fine furniture due to its popularity in the 18th and 19th Century. It's known for its characteristic reddish-brown timber, straight grain and attractive lustre.
Memorial benches commemorate a lost loved one and usually feature an engraving or plaque with a special message.
Mortise and Tenon Joint
A mortise and tenon joint is a type of joint used in woodworking to connect two pieces of wood. It’s formed of two components: the mortise hole and the tenon peg or tongue. It’s a type of woodworking joint that has been used for thousands of years because of its strength and reliability.
A surface appearance that develops because of use or age.
Wood preserver contains fungicide and is used as a base coat to provide protection against mould, fungus, pests and decay. Once fully dried, most brands will allow you to stain, seal and finish the wood as normal. Durable hardwoods will not require preservatives due to their high natural moisture resistance.
Roble is an exceptionally durable hardwood and is similar to teak and American oak both in terms of its strength and light golden colouration. Roble is native to South America and is an easy-to-work timber, making it highly sought after for furniture making.
A substance such as paint or oil that is applied to the surface of an object to protect it against damage from other liquids, such as water. It can also be applied as a barrier between the stain and the finish to prevent the colour from bleeding.
A storage bench has a solid, chest-like base which can be used to store gardening tools and equipment, outdoor cushions, or children’s toys. They’re a good choice for keeping garden spaces free of clutter.
Softwood is any wood that comes from evergreen or gymnosperm trees that produce seeds such as cones. Most softwoods are generally ‘softer’ and less dense than hardwoods but there are some exceptions to this rule. Common softwoods used in furniture making include cedar, pine and spruce.
Teak is a slow-growing, tropical hardwood that grows in southeast Asian countries and is famed for its exceptional resistance to moisture and decay. It has a golden-brown colour and a dense, straight grain that makes it good for fine furniture. Its high oil content means that it can feel slightly greasy to the touch.
Despite its name, teak oil is not derived from teak – it's a specially made treatment designed to give outdoor furniture additional protection against the weather. Though it is commonly used on teak garden benches, it can also be used on other tropical hardwoods.
Tree benches are specialist products designed to wrap around the trunk of a tree so people can enjoy its shade without having to sit on the floor. They are usually circular in design and face outwards from the tree, which is situated in a hole in the centre of the bench.
Weave Back Bench
Weave back benches traditionally have a criss-cross lattice pattern across the seat back, although some have other unusual patterns.
Some oils can act as a sealer and a finish with no other products required. Oils are absorbed into the wood fibre, nourishing the material and providing it with a warmer appearance. Some oils are derived from natural sources, whereas other products may be compounds mixed with further chemicals for specific applications.
Stain is a liquid designed to change the colouration of wood. Some stains do not offer moisture protection and are designed for additional sealants and finishes to be placed on top, whereas others are designed as an ‘all-in-one’ product that stains, seals and finishes.
Any measure undertaken to extend the longevity of wood, whether it’s in the form of a coating or an industrial process.