By Angela Maloney
As a manufacturer of commercial outdoor furniture, we have been seeing many different types of properties across the country make shifts to increase the usage of outdoor spaces.
Religious facilities and church properties are no exception. These facilities have been providing new ways for members and visitors to connect with their faith and interact with their church family in outdoor settings.
Whether it is for outdoor services, prayer gardens, meeting spaces, social events, play areas for children or other creative installations, outdoor furniture is an important element in maintaining a welcoming church atmosphere.
Site furnishings not only contribute to the overall church campus aesthetic, but they also help to create additional spaces for a congregation to worship and gather.
Consider the following outdoor furniture products and their unique applications at places of worship:
- Benches provide seating areas outside sanctuary entrances or can be used in multiples to create amphitheater-style settings for outdoor services. They can also be used to furnish prayer gardens, memorial installations and places of quiet reflection.
- Table sets can serve as seating for outdoor meetings, Bible studies or community events. Commercial-grade metal tables can also be used indoors for café settings, classrooms or organized dinners.
- Litter receptacles keep trash in its place and help to maintain clean church grounds, especially during large outdoor events or festivals.
- Bollards offer perimeter security and can restrict vehicular access to certain areas reserved for pedestrian use.
- Planters add pops of color and floral arrangements to create an inviting landscape.
Beyond the basic functions of outdoor church furnishings, here are some other considerations in choosing outdoor amenities for religious properties.
LOOK FOR DURABLE MATERIALS
Outdoor furnishings for churches need to be built to withstand wind, weather and the daily abuse of frequent usage and high-volume weekend traffic. Powder coated, fully welded steel products offer the best durability for lasting installations. The weight of steel keeps the products in their place, while the powder coat finish provides protection from rusting, fading or peeling to keep outdoor products looking beautiful year-round. Powder coating offers a smooth, lustrous finish that is low maintenance and easily wiped cleaned. For additional health and safety, inquire about anti-microbial powder coat finish options
With many product choices and different prices on the market, keep in mind the price-to-life ratio. In the simplest terms, you get what you pay for.
When looking for a bench, table set, litter receptacle or any other site furniture piece for worship facilities, make an investment in something that lasts. Consider the value of a time-tested product that will not require frequent replacements and will continue to enhance your church grounds for years to come.
COORDINATE YOUR PROPERTY
When choosing outdoor product designs and colors, take note of the overall architectural themes and styles of your church facilities. Whether your property has new, modern buildings or historic structures, select site amenities and product colors that appropriately blend in with the surroundings and complement existing exterior or interior décor.
It is beneficial to use the same site furniture supplier for all of your furnishings to ensure the color and design elements are consistent throughout your church properties. Choose a standard for your site furnishings and stick with it for future additions to maintain a cohesive campus plan.
If you have a specific design vision in mind, there’s no need to compromise. Make sure you get products that exactly meet the needs of your religious facility.
Find a site amenities company that can accommodate custom requests if needed. ADA-accessible tables, benches with center arms for separation, kid-sized options or completely custom ideas should easily be possible with a made-to-order manufacturer.
You can even utilize custom outdoor furnishings to reinforce your church identity and mission. Choose a custom powder coat finish to showcase a color theme or plan to incorporate church logos or names. With laser cut logos, decals or cast bronze plaques on furnishings, you can personalize your products and help create a welcoming sense of place.
FUNDRAISING WITH FURNISHINGS
Limited funds and budget restrictions are common problems faced by many church organizations. Encourage fundraising and community involvement by offering sponsorships, memorials and dedications on site furniture.
With the addition of personalized cast bronze plaques or other graphic customizations, it becomes easier to solicit donors to help fund improvement projects.
Specifically, donor benches are a popular concept for religious organizations to raise funds. By offering donor recognition on attached plaques, these benches honor benefactors and local sponsors, while adding necessary outdoor seating to the property.
With the growing trend to connect more with nature, we expect that outdoor spaces will continue to encourage and nourish the mind, body and soul now and well into the future.
Whether you are looking for customized products to emphasize your church’s mission or if you are just looking to take more activities outside, make sure you are equipped with high-quality, durable site furnishings to accommodate public use.
Well-placed outdoor furniture not only makes a great first impression for visitors, but it also provides a lasting impact on the overall well-being of the church community.
Angela Maloney is the director of marketing at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc., which has been providing outdoor public spaces with a diverse line of high-end, commercial-grade and American-made site amenities for more than 25 years, www.keystoneridgedesigns.com.