Memorial Bench Design and Uses

Members of the US armed forces standing at attention among the 184 memorial benches that make up part of the Pentagon Memorial in Washington DC

Memorial Bench Uses: 

Traditionally, memorial benches have been used to honor leaders, donors, supporters, or other outstanding community members.  However, memorial benches are becoming more and more popular to remember everyday loved ones who have been lost.

memorial bench made from granite with a concrete base inlaid with lights

Benches can be installed in a local park, hiking trail, or playground.  The memorial bench not only offers a visual remembrance of a lost individual, but also a physical spot to sit, relax, and reflect.  Along a hiking trail, the bench allows a place to rest along the way.  In a playground, it would offer a place for parents to sit, chat, and watch their children.  More importantly, the bench typically has an inscription or plaque which creates an interest in the soul that was lost.  Just by reading the customized writings, you may find yourself wondering about the person who is gone, what they were like, what kind of life they lived, even if you didn’t know them at all.

Memorial benches can also be placed in a lost loved one’s favorite location.  This allows family members or friends to visit that spot to grieve or just reflect on their time together, which may allow them to heal.  The bench can tell a story of the individual by being customized to reflect their spirit and personality.


The bench is one of the oldest pieces of furniture in history.  From fallen logs arranged around a campfire to modern plastic polymer structures, benches can ignite in the human spirit a feeling of gathering and safety as well as a refuge from standing and walking.  As such, there have been countless designs of benches over the centuries and memorial benches are subject to a similar flair for aesthetics.

Memorial benches have become popular in parks and schoolyards, often as a way to memorialize a beloved leader, teacher or student.  Often, these “park setting” benches will be made of wood or metal.  These materials can look pleasing in a park-like setting and are generally less expensive than a traditional granite or stone bench. The downside is that they will degrade more quickly over time, leaving rusting or broken remnants which give the opposite of the desired effect.  Maintenance and repair cost over can lead to these “cheaper” options being more expensive over time.   Newer plastic and polymer materials have the benefits of a longer life than metals or wood, sometimes several decades.  In addition, maintenance time and cost can be lower.

For the ultimate in memorial legacy, few materials can match that or stone or granite.  Used for millennia due to their long-lived properties, stones can leave an enduring legacy, with very little upkeep.  The stability and durability of stone and granite can give a sense of the permanence of a loved one’s impact on others.  Granite, the number one choice for headstones, grave markers, and memorials, is especially well suited for memorial bench use.  It can be polished to give a smooth finish and still be etched with intricate designs or inlaid with plaques and ceramic photos.

Members of the US armed forces standing at attention among the 184 memorial benches that make up part of the Pentagon Memorial in Washington DC

The Pentagon Memorial features 184 concrete memorial benches with a unique, sloping design, giving the appearance that they were “lifted” from the ground. Credit: Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess, courtesy U.S. Navy

Urn Benches

Often, memorial benches will have a compartment built into the design that allows for the placement of a cremation urn or urns.  This can be a great option when cremation is chosen and yet a larger memorial is also desired.


Memorial Benches are practical, providing resting spots along walking trails, parks or playgrounds, and are easy to install. They can be the perfect way to memorialize a person or persons that had a strong impact on those around them.

For over 30 years, Woodside Granite has been creating custom memorial benches as well as urns, columbariums and exquisite headstones.  Visit one of our showrooms for more information:  Brigden Memorials / Hale Monument in Albion, NY; Hart Monument in Rochester, NY; and Oakley Monument in Batavia, NY.


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