How to Create a Memorial Bench


| Jan 20, 2021

Memorial benches offer a novel way to commemorate a loved one. They afford those in grief an added level of sentimentality — mourners can choose a location or cause that symbolically represents their lost loved one. No longer are memorial plaques tied to existing cemeteries. For instance, surviving family members might purchase a bench at their loved one’s favorite landmark, park, or restaurant. People can also buy a memorial bench as an act of charity, supporting an organization or business that was important to the departed.

While intricate gravestones can be lovely, the dollars spent on a memorial bench can support an important cause, such as national park maintenance. Memorial benches for loved ones benefit those in grief, as well as society at large. They also benefit architects and planners — since these benches are paid for by donation, they present a cost-effective way to beautify an area. In these ways, memorial benches benefit many individuals. Learn more about how to buy memorial benches in this guide.

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How to Make a Memorial Bench

Many opportunities are available when it comes to obtaining a personalized memorial bench. Once a mourner has decided on a location, they have several options for placing their bench. Existing adopt-a-bench programs are the easiest option. They’re usually simple to find, marked by existing benches.

Keep in mind some existing adopt-a-bench programs are more expensive than others — endowing a bench in Central Park is bound to come with a higher price than endowing a bench in a small, local park. The more popular the setting, the more it’ll cost to purchase a memorial bench. Do some research to see where these funds go.

If you’re a city planner, architect, engineer, or head of an organization, you can create a new adopt-a-bench program. Purchase memorial benches with blank plaques from a manufacturer — you can purchase in bulk to minimize cost. Once you advertise the opportunity, you’re bound to garner interest.

If there is no existing program in the location of choice, a few other options might be available. There doesn’t need to be an established adopt-a-bench program to erect a bench. These other options may even be more economical.

A mourner could contact a local funeral home or cemetery to ask for suggestions. Often, these businesses have a list of memorial resources on-hand to offer. If you’re starting a new adopt-a-bench program, reaching out to funeral homes and cemeteries is a great way to get the word out.

Another option is to contact the local government, as well as local businesses and organizations like the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Such groups are likely to be receptive since the mourner’s donation will pay for the bench. A mourner could contact conservancies for local parks, boards for local school districts, or similar groups, offering to donate an endowed memorial bench. If other methods prove unsuccessful, they could reach out to a memorial bench manufacturer on their own.

Tips for Buying a Memorial Bench

When it comes to donating a memorial bench, there are several options. Many manufacturers produce memorial benches for loved ones with engravable plaques, so choosing the right one may seem overwhelming. It’s important to keep a few things in mind when deciding on the right memorial bench.

If you’re designing an adopt-a-bench program, you’ll want to consider these factors to help you choose the right manufacturer. When browsing memorial bench options, take note of the following elements.

Choosing the Best Material for A Memorial Bench

A memorial bench is meant to immortalize someone’s memory — it needs to last for many years without deteriorating. Of course, certain materials fare better than others, especially with permanent outdoor placement. Outdoor furnishings need to withstand the weather and the wear and tear of regular use. You’ll want to purchase benches made from durable materials designed for outdoor placement. Consider the following factors an outdoor bench would need to withstand:

  • Rain and humidity.
  • Snow and ice.
  • Mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Sun exposure.
  • Dramatic high and low temperatures.
  • High winds.

You’ll need to choose a material resistant to rust and corrosion, warping and bending, rotting, molding, and any other possible effects of outdoor placement. Durability and easy maintenance are key. When choosing a memorial bench manufacturer, pay attention to the materials they offer. Weigh the pros and cons of each of these materials:

  • Wood: While wood looks beautiful and makes for a comfortable seat, it requires a great deal of upkeep. Wood is prone to warping, cracking, bending, and rotting if left unchecked. It can become unfit to bear weight if any of these effects set in. Wooden materials require periodic re-staining and reapplication of protective coatings. Only purchase wood benches if you’re certain proper maintenance is available. Otherwise, your bench may decline into a poor state within a few months or years.
  • Gauge steel: Steel tends to be a better option for outdoor furnishings. A gauge steel memorial bench is likely to last much longer than a wooden bench while requiring less upkeep. To keep a gauge steel bench standing, all you have to do is tighten screws and replace any broken or worn parts regularly.
  • Synthetic wood: Certain synthetic wood materials make for superior outdoor furniture, as they can resemble wood without requiring all the upkeep. However, many find them less pleasing to the eye and touch than real wood.
  • Recycled plastic: Recycling is always great for the environment, and a recycled plastic bench has impressive endurance in outdoor conditions. The con to this option is recycled plastic is less strong than metal or wood, so it may not withstand years of use and weathering.
  • Wrought iron: Though wrought iron is a stylish and strong material, it’s also susceptible to rust. Rust is simply iron’s reaction to oxygen and water — any metals containing high amounts of iron are prone to rust. A wrought iron bench is a fine choice as long as you can brush away rust and reapply protective paint coats regularly.

No matter which material you end up choosing, be sure to keep up with any required maintenance. Even the most durable materials will need occasional attention.

The Available Personalization

For most people, a memorial bench is all about personalization. That’s why it appeals to grievers. When browsing options, be sure to review the available personalization. Some benches will feature a small plaque in the center, either blank or with a standard engraving. Others allow for a line of etching into the bench itself. The text options are important as well — some may want to list only a name, while others may want to incorporate a quote or symbol. It’s important to understand the desired level of customization.

In addition to the memorial engravings, some manufacturers may allow you to personalize color and perforation pattern style. If you’re designing an adopt-a-bench program, decide if you want to standardize such options or allow mourners to choose on an individual basis. Color and pattern have a significant impact on a bench’s overall look and feel.

The Timeline for Production

Another important factor to consider is the production timeline. You’ll have to decide how fast you need the turnaround time to be from the point of order to the bench’s placement. Some manufacturers may take weeks or months to produce your personalized bench. Keep this in mind, and ask manufacturers how long their production takes.

The Overall Cost

The cost of a memorial bench depends on many variables. Material, size, desired personalization, and location all play a role in pricing. Higher grade materials and more engraving will cost more than a simple bench with a standard plaque. Tourist locations and landmarks make for premium real-estate. It’s a good idea to decide on a budget before shopping around.

How to Get a Memorial Bench in a Park

Wabash Valley Furnishings is a trusted supplier of outdoor furniture. We’ve furnished public parks, amusement parks, outdoor dining arrangements, and tourist destinations. We offer an array of memorial benches in different colors, styles, and materials.

Learn about our memorial bench offerings and choose one that fits your preferences. All of our furnishings are made to last and built to withstand outdoor conditions with minimal maintenance. Here are some of our top choices.

Contemporary Portable Surface Mount Bench With Plaque

A specialty series option, this contemporary, 6-foot bench is surface-mounted. You can rearrange it as you see fit, or move it into storage during an offseason. Its engravable plaque is 4 inches by 6 inches, for a notable yet unobtrusive memorial quote. The plaque allows for total customization — you can have it engraved however you like once you receive the bench. 

Another way you can customize this bench is by choosing from 16 different powder-coating colors, like charcoal, cranberry, or kelly green. You can also choose between a perforated or rib pattern for the design. Use these customizable features to tailor a contemporary bench to your taste.

Courtyard Bench With Plaque

The courtyard bench has a more sophisticated feel with gentle sloping armrests. It can help beautify any setting. It has all the same customizability as the contemporary portable surface mount bench. After you receive the bench from Wabash Valley, you can engrave the 4-by-6-inch plaque however you prefer and choose a color and pattern to match your setting.

Prestige Bench With Plaque

An even more customizable option is the prestige bench. In addition to choosing a color and pattern, you can choose from three leg options — inground, portable, or surface mount. Opt for inground legs or surface mount legs for stability or portable legs for easy movement.

Decide whether you prefer your bench to be moveable. It’s a good idea to think about weather conditions in your location of choice. If flooding, high winds, or heavy storms are common, you’ll want to choose a sturdier leg option.

Covington Bench With Back, Arms, and Plaque

A comfortable and refined option is the Covington Collection bench with a back, arms, and a customizable plaque. You can choose between 18 powder-coat finishes, including granite, and pewter vein. Additionally, you can choose between square or round perforation. 

Benefits of Creating Memorial Benches for Loved Ones

Buying a memorial bench provides a unique way to celebrate someone’s life. The flexible placement allows for more sentimentality than you can achieve with plaques in a cemetery. Just as a loved one may choose to scatter ashes in a meaningful location, they can place a bench somewhere significant. Those who pass by will notice the engraving, which will keep the deceased’s memory alive.

Another benefit not to be overlooked is the donation itself. While decorative urns and gravestones are meaningful, memorial benches offer an opportunity for altruism. Memorial bench donations provide funds for parks, local governments, or other organizations.

A mourner can honor a departed loved one by contributing to a meaningful cause. This is similar to a funeral arranger asking for charitable donations instead of flowers. Mourners who purchase memorial benches can support a humanitarian interest while honoring someone’s memory.

In this way, a memorial bench benefits both the mourning family and the larger community. These benches also provide a cost-effective way for city planners or architects to beautify an area.

A place to sit and relax makes an area more popular with visitors. Benches welcome visitors to stay awhile. A lack of benches might create a hostile feeling or urge visitors to move along. Placing benches is a simple way to make an area more inviting, and a memorial bench program redistributes the cost of purchase. Everyone wins.

Browse Memorial Benches at Wabash Valley Site Furnishings

It’s human nature to honor the memories of those who pass on. Over the years, people have gotten creative with their memorials — no longer are commemorative plaques resigned to cemeteries. Instead, mourners can erect a memorial in a location of their choice as a meaningful gesture. Many memorial objects are affordable for regular families.

Memorial benches offer mourners a physical tribute to their departed loved ones. Since you can arrange a bench just about anywhere, memorial benches allow for meaningful placement. A mourner might want to place a bench where their loved one grew up, at their favorite park, or beside their favorite species of tree. Mourners can capture the memory of a loved one while also contributing to an altruistic cause. In that way, their dollars are serviceable as well as symbolic.

Consider instituting an adopt-a-bench program for your project. Promote the program and encourage individuals to sponsor memorial benches. In the end, everyone benefits from a memorial bench program. To learn more about memorial benches, contact Wabash Valley Site Furnishings today. We offer bulk-buying opportunities to cut costs for large projects.

*Wabash Valley does not specialize in personalizations or engravings of plaques.