How to restore a garden bench

Revive your garden bench

Bring your garden bench back to life with this simple guide.

Well-kept furniture makes a garden more inviting, but the outdoor life can be tough. Moisture can lead to rotting and ultraviolet (UV) rays can bleach the natural colour of the wood. But with a little care you can revive that natural glory and have a wooden bench that lasts for many more summers to come.


Here’s what you need

To clean and re-stain the bench:
Scrubbing brush
Scrubbing pad
Paint brushes
Wood preservative
Wood stain
Danish oil

To replace any old slats:
Slates cut to size

Outdoor wooden bench
Outdoor bench

Step 1: clean the wood

To see what you’re working with, you’ll need to give the bench a good scrub down – get rid of any algae and dirt by washing it with a scrubbing brush and very hot soapy water. Once it’s dry, you’ll be able to see if rot has set in. 

Person drilling plank of wood
Drilling wood

Step 2: replace dead wood

If a bench has been left untreated for too long, there may be some slats that can’t be saved. If the wood flakes away or crumbles when pressed, it needs replacing. Unscrew any fixings and replace the slats with similar wood cut to size.

Outdoor wooden furniture being varnished
Varnishing wood

Step 3: restore and revive

Once your wood is dry, apply a wood restorer[LINK:product] liberally and see the original glory slowly return. Then work it into the surface with a mildly abrasive scrubbing pad – similar to those used for a washing up. Let it work away for up to 15 minutes, then wash it off with plenty of cold water. Then very lightly sand to remove any residue.


Step 4: wax on

Now apply a protective topcoat[LINK: product] to keep things glowing for years to come. Some wood oils contain wax for added protection against water and sunlight.

Ready to revive?
Head over to the product pages[LINK].