After the hard work of creating a garden escape filled with gorgeous flowers and lush foliage is complete, you want to sit down and enjoy it. Finding the right garden seating ideas for the style, mood and size of your garden can be challenging. Start with simple, easy-to-place furnishings that will create serene spaces for repose in your outdoor oasis.
Garden Seating Ideas: The Design Choices
360-Degree Tree Bench – If you an old tree that has been the garden’s silent caretaker many years before you arrived, why not honor it by creating a bench that wraps around its base? Martha Stewart’s garden designers created a lovely way to enjoy cool, shaded views from all aspects under a sprawling black locust. Regardless of the type of tree, shaping the bench like a hexagon with five distinct seating panels and a slightly raised back edge will create an economical use of space while taking advantage of various garden vantage points. Although the sample bench was crafted from poplar, any wood sturdy enough for outdoor construction will do, provided it receives weatherproof sealing.
Stump Settee – Sometimes a simple solution is best. For garden seating ideas that blend into the surroundings yet provides a welcome resting spot for a single garden admirer, HGTV.com offers up a modest, portable tree stump seat. Precisely what it seems, the stump of a cut tree is measured to a comfortable seating height and leveled carefully at the base and seat. The result is a heavy yet portable seat for one that can be clustered in groups of several along a garden path or placed as a single statuesque figure hidden in a garden bed. The wood will wear naturally over time, creating an organic feel to this simple seating option. Paul James, master gardener for HGTV.com, also suggests that stumps may be available at no cost if you do a little legwork.
From Blocks to Bench – Traditional garden benches made of metal or wood abundant at local retailers provide a simple fix to supply garden seating. However, the wall blocks and capstones for a do-it-yourself cement block bench, as modeled by Better Homes and Gardens, can be purchased from the same retailers. Stack blocks facing opposite directions for each row to create stability, and place capstones on top provide a neat seat. Flat, rough cut stones may also be used for a more informal, rustic look. These assembled benches are sturdy enough to survive anywhere, whether under cover along a pathway or among flora and fauna under the trees.
Board Swing – An old-fashioned board swing for adults or a tire swing for children provides whimsical informal seating. Landscape contractor Roger Cook of This Old House.com recommends using a branch at least 8 inches in diameter and locating your swing at least 3 feet from the trunk, but not so far out that weight on the swing stresses the branch. The swing should have sufficient space to move freely along its path without encountering an obstacle. Bare grass or soil serves well for footing beneath the swing.
Lawn Chairs – For comfort and mobility, consider lawn chairs. These are often made with metal frames. Inexpensive lawn chairs have nylon webbing, while higher end pieces come with cushioned seating and weatherproof fabric. Tilting your chairs against a table or tree while they are not in use will ensure they are handy, close to where you use them, but keep the seats free of bird droppings and relatively free of rainwater.
Garden seating ideas can vary from formal to informal. Choose seating to fit your setting and fill your needs and the needs of guests. Consider whether your guests require cleanliness and comfort or a more natural, tactile experience. For location, face your seats toward the more comely features of your space–a corner filled with flowers, the sweep of the lawn or a small grouping of bird feeders. This will give your guests a lovely view or entertainment in addition to relaxed enjoyment of the space.