- Death & Loss of Life
Memorial Benches for Parks
Parks are mostly vast, green and serene. As much as memorials are suited for commemorating the departed, they can also be used for various functions ranging from national events to institutional team building, fun base and birthdays. Some memorials are set up in remembrance of tragedy, and this means they must be capable of hosting individuals, small groups and large crowds.
Therefore, memorial benches ought to cater for events across the board. The main types of materials used to make park benches are plastic, wood, concrete and metal.
Plastic benches are usually fancy, aesthetic-looking and attractive. They can be fashioned in any design imaginable. They are light and comfortable to relax and meditate on. Most plastic benches are made from recycled materials as they are cheaper and fast becoming alternatives to wood.
The benches are usually made elsewhere before being ferried and installed in the parks. Various components are added to bring out the desired colour, texture and material properties like elasticity. Patterns and images can be engraved on the surface of the plastic or they can be painted. Painting is great in crystalline plastic material.
Wooden benches are made from softwood and hardwood. The wood used should be of high quality to withstand the stress and strains of heavy usage and overcome harsh weather conditions. Timber merges beautifully with the natural setting of most memorial parks. Some timbers have very cool and sleek grains and fibres, and are best in representing the memorial mood. Timber is relatively too heavy and tough for mobility. It has to be arranged for crowds, small groups and individual convenience.
Concrete benches are expensive and long lasting. They take long time to construct (off site or on site). Engravings and images are made during the construction of the slabs for the bench. The engravings and other features are hard to modify once the benches are complete. In the modern world, concrete benches are becoming rare in memorial parks.
Metallic benches are mainly made from recycled metals. They are tough and light. The metallic benches, just like those of plastic, wood and concrete, can be wrought into different shapes and patterns.
The above forms of benches can be modified for comfort. Use of leather lining, cushions and soft boards can increase comfort. While arranging the benches in the park, consider directions of the pathways and the social facilities within the park. Cost, comfort and the nature of the park determine the kind of benches used for a memorial.
The Purpose and Features of Memorial Benches for Cemeteries
Cemeteries are humbling and intimidating in most cases. The atmosphere is sombre and if the birds sing, they seem to hum dirges. The benches that serve in such a place ought to be fashioned with caution and reason.
Special kinds of granite are used to make memorial benches for cemeteries. They are variations of hard stones and rocks with unique chemical and material composition. The reasons why people use this kind of material vary from one person to another. In some cultures, it is perceived as everlasting and means the departed remain part of them forever. Others wish to portray respect and love to the departed by writing epitaphs on what are seen as precious stones.
However, as much as the reasons may differ, the fundamental aspect remains that they need a descent platform to create a long lasting mark in memory of their loved ones. You will hardly ever find pre-existing benches set in the cemetery; rather, they are usually fashioned with the engravings about the dead at the time of need. They are put in cemeteries for monumental purposes. That is why memorial benches for cemeteries do not have a defined design and pattern.
Granite is hard to shape and that may explain why special processes have to be applied to fashion the stones. The engraving or painting is done after the required shape has been obtained. The writings are done before the final polishing of the stone. Black lithichrome stone paint is mainly used with crystalline or white, cream and grey surface.
Other stones used to make cemetery benches are opaque: opal, variscite and turquoise. They are mainly shaped as cabochons. White or grey painting is used to write on such surfaces. Hard and precious stones are treated to improve on clarity and the paint adhesion. There are people who opt for special kinds of artificial granite too.
Other than the use of hard stones for cemetery benches, metallic benches can be used. The slight difference is that they are mounted on the concrete slabs. The clear point on cemetery benches is that they are hardly mobile. They are mounted permanently.
When going for the cemetery bench, consider the available space, the material of the bench, weight, dimensions, the epitaph and additional engravings. Some benches have hearts, wild animals, staff, or shield drawn on them. It’s important to note that some cemetery authorities regulate the nature of the memorial benches that are allowed.
Things to remember when choosing a memorial bench
- Type of material the bench is to be made of
- Positioning of the bench - Location is very important
- Patterns and decorations
- The wording - Take time here, once carved it cannot be changed
- Who to contact regarding its location - Some councils may need to be contacted
How to Select Quality Wooden Memorial Benches
Memorial benches are meant to provide places for relaxation, meditation and general recaps for individuals or groups. People need these benches and such time to ponder over the memories of their departed or past events of great significance in their lives.
The benches can be made from a wide variety of timber, which grow in different climatic conditions of the world depending on the species. Commonly used softwoods are cypress, cedar, fir, pine and spruce. Hardwoods include black wood, black bean, camphor, coach wood, elm, eucalyptus, mahogany, iron wood, hackberry, maple, mable wood and oak.
It is important to consider several factors while choosing timber for memorial benches. Ideally, hardwood is the best choice because of its durability; however, softwood may be more appropriate when there is a special requirement like grain patterns and memorial outfit in relation to the person whom the memorial was established for.
Patterns and decorations on the timber are vital factors to keep in mind. Some timbers have naturally beautiful designs, and the backs can be removed and smoothened to bring out the wood patterns. The body of the bench may be modified with engravings and artistic designs to create an image symbolic of the memorial.
Smoothened wooden benches can be finished by applying a transparent thin layer of vanish. It prevents the wood from harsh weather conditions and improves on appearance. In some cases, the bench may be painted in a particular colour. It is better for the paint to be waterproof, like oil based paint, to prevent the wood from absorbing moisture.
Positioning of the bench is critical. Memorial benches may be arranged in a defined motif. They may be clustered or arranged linearly, squarely or in columns and rows across the memorial ground. Some benches can even be arranged into the name of the memorial. The arrangement plan must consider the convenience of use.
It has to be decided whether the benches will be grounded permanently or they will be portable. Portable benches are best where security is guaranteed. They are convenient for use in groups and by individuals. Permanently grounded benches are slightly secure except that they will not offer the convenience of use for groups as they cannot be rearranged.
Wooden benches are relatively heavy and so if they must be mobile, they should use light yet strong timber. They have to be treated regularly to prevent pest infestation and rotting, hence prolonging their lifespan. All in all, let the bench suit the spirit of the memorial.
More information and facts
Information about roadside memorials:
Funding, support and advice for war memorials in the UK:
The National Memorial Arboretum
Chris Nangle makes memorial benches in Shropshire by skilled craftsmen using only the finest locally sourced sustainable wood.
Concrete memorial benches:
Green burials are where a biodegradable casket is used made from biodegradable materials such as cardboard, wood or bamboo. The body is then left to biodegrade naturally without the use of toxic embalming in quite often shallow graves.
More and more people are opting for this type of burials for a number of reasons. One being the growing cost of traditional funerals but nowadays we are more aware of our environment and green burials are a much more natural and kinder to nature type of burials. Traditional burials were becoming increasingly environmentally harmful with the use of toxic chemicals used in embalming. Then there was the polished stone or marble headstones which some would say caused damage to surrounding ecosystems.
Natural burial grounds are also on the increase, the UK has nearly 300 burial grounds at present. Many are run by councils, charities, local residents and private businesses. Follow this link to see an update list of current natural burial grounds: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/index.php?page=find-a-natural-burial-site