Viewpoint Carved Benches

Solid wooden benches with unique artwork etched into the backrest.

Greenspace Designs have been creating and installing innovative and highly distinctive pieces of interactive wooden furniture for more than twenty years.  They can be found at viewpoints across the United Kingdom, from the Isles of Scilly to the Scottish border. We can carve the view from your site onto the backrest of a solid wooden bench made by skilled craftsmen using English timber. We can add into the view your local wildlife or historic features to help your visitors interpret the area and its evolution through time.

Each wooden bench is carved specially for the point where it is to be installed.  The view is chosen by the site manager who also decides which landmarks or features are to be identified on the bench back.  They can also choose to celebrate local wildlife and habitats, or human activities which have taken place there recently or historically.  So, the Viewpoint Bench becomes both an interpretation for its location and a useful educational tool.  If preferred, the view and interpretation can be carved onto a panel which is fixed to the back of the bench.  This way visitors can stand behind the bench to see both the panel and the view then sit on the bench to enjoy the landscape at leisure.

Families and groups love to explore the images and discover different animals or features incorporated into the artwork.  As well as interpretative wildlife themes, we have created benches showing Roman lifestyles, Tudor ship building and Georgian architecture, and the way these activities have shaped the landscape.  Artwork is created for each site, we then use our unique etching process to carve the artwork into sustainably sourced English timber for the bench backrest.

Wooden bench with wildlife images etched onto backrest with dog

Intricate Etching Process

detail of wildlife etching on bench
Detailed section of a customised Viewpoint Bench backrest

Our unique etching process allows us to accurately carve artwork into the timber giving a lasting impression of the view. It is carved between one and three millimetres deep creating a clear, sharp image which will withstand vandalism and weathering, therefore allowing the image to be viewed for decades to come.

The beauty of carving timber is that it lasts and looks good years after its installation. The images inspire visitors of all ages and encourage close examination of both the bench and the view on which it is based.

Greenspace Designs work with Mike Langman, an internationally renowned and award-winning artist with over thirty years’ experience drawing and painting for the RSPB, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts and other heritage and wildlife organisations.

His ability to capture the essence of British wildlife, habitats and scenery can be seen in the images he creates. The intricate nature of his artwork means that returning visitors can discover new features within the image that they perhaps missed on their first viewing.

Wooden bench with local wildlife view carved into the backrest
This Viewpoint Bench with the pylon central to its image, mirroring the one in the view behind it, demonstrates how site-specific our benches are. The scrub has been cleared beneath the pylons resulting in the conservation of the wildlife rich marshes, celebrated in the image on the bench back.

Tree Trunk Viewpoint Rest Seats

If your particular location is better suited to a more rustic style of seating, then we can also etch appropriate wildlife images and text onto simple tree trunk benches. This is an ideal way to install a resting place for weary walkers that’s in harmony with its natural surroundings. Sympathetically located to offer the best unobtrusive view of the local landscape.

A popular choice especially with clients who have access to their own felled or wind-blown timber. By reusing a local tree as a seat, you are adding to the story behind the installation by letting the tree live on as a practical addition to its original landscape.

Sustainably Sourced Timber

We tend to work with three timber species, Oak, Sweet Chestnut and Cedar.  All our timber is grown in Britain and has been sourced sustainably. We can tell you where each piece of timber we use came from and the reason the tree was felled. Much of our wood comes from wind-blown trees as we have a network of tree surgeons who let us know when suitable, large trees blow down in storms. Legs are made from English Oak or Sweet Chestnut, two of the most durable native timbers available. Benches installed over twenty years ago are still much used and loved today. By selecting the highest quality timber, we are able to guarantee our benches against rot for ten years and expect them to be enjoyed for decades.

Master Carpentry

The professional craftsmanship involved in the manufacture of a Greenspace Viewpoint Bench is a joy to behold. There are no visible fixings above or below the bench. The robust design is put together giving silky smooth sanded and oiled surfaces that excite the senses of sight, touch and smell. We can offer straight edges, or we can follow the natural curves of the grain giving a ‘waney’ edge.

Because the benches are made from timber heartwood, the natural durability of the product means that no maintenance is required. Over a couple of years they weather to an even silver colour and will remain in this condition for decades with the image still clearly visible.

Some site managers like to keep the fresh honey-coloured timber look. To do so, benches can be lightly sanded once a year and coated with Danish Oil to seal the surface and prevent the silvering process that comes with age. Timber sculptures are made from a living material, which may develop minor cracks over time as they settle into a new location. This is a natural process with all native timber products that does not detract from the form or the function of the product.  

carpenter cutting a tree trunk
Working with timber on site

Tamper Proof

The two inch thick timbers and robust fixing techniques make our benches extremely tamper proof. We regularly install them in city parks where they withstand the worst vandalistic abuses thrown at them. Due to their substantial dimensions, any physical attacks or pen graffiti can be sanded off and the bench re-oiled to return it to its original condition simply and cheaply. 

Furthermore, we have ad hoc evidence to suggest that the natural character of our benches actually reduces vandalism. Often, whilst the plastic and metal features in the same park are destroyed, our wooden benches remain untouched and continue to be enjoyed. With no visible fixings and legs buried deep in the ground, our benches are difficult to steal. If required anti chainsaw measures can be fixed in the legs and supports to stop thieves from removing the benches.

Installation

We have two standard methods of installation. For the first, we make the legs 1 metre long and fix anti-lift pegs to their bases so that they can be dug 600mm (2 feet) into the ground to give a sound fixing without the need for concrete.

For the second method, the legs are 400mm long and are fixed to solid surfaces using either hidden steel rods in the legs or ground anchors fixed through angle iron bolted to the base of the legs. We can install these benches for you or supply them with all necessary fixings for you to install yourself. If you have a skilled ranger service you can save on installation costs by ordering a flat-packed version of our viewpoint bench for your team to install. The self-assembly option will have visible aluminium brackets under the joints of the furniture unlike our standard option which has no visible fixings.