Creating Seating Areas in Your Garden

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    A True Room in the Garden.

    The Summer Palace
    The Summer Palace. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Gardens are meant to be viewed, but most gardeners spend the bulk of their time up close and personal with the plants. Still, seating is an important aspect of any garden. Gardens are representative of the gardener's vision and as ever changing as the weather, so there are no hard rules about using seating in a garden. It can be purely functional or as fanciful as the gardener's imagination. A bench facing a great view might never actually get used, but a secluded spot to read or chairs...MORE waiting nearby when you unload your tools can be too hard to resist.

    Often seating is used to draw visitors into the garden or entice them down a path. They may not sit, but the temptation and romance is there. Even more alluring is the promise of a secret hide-away to read or nap. And don't underestimate whimsy. An oversized or brightly colored creation can make a garden extremely memorable, especially to children.

    Here's how some gardeners have added relaxation to their gardens.

    I call this gazebo in the far corner of my yard my summer palace. It's a very shady area and much more over grown now, but it makes a wonderful retreat from the bugs on a hot summer evening and I've even used it to escape from a sudden rain.

    By setting aside an intentional area for sitting and relaxing, rather than surveying the view, you are more inclined to use it.

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  • 02 of 12

    Dragon Flies, Frogs, Duck Weed and You.

    Backyard Retreat
    Backyard Retreat. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    No one will even know you're here, tucked behind the elephant ear's and umbrella plant. A bench by a water garden serves a unique purpose. Water gardens are relatively low maintenance and there are stretches of time when you barely notice them, because you're so busy weeding elsewhere. A nearby bench lets you pause and enjoy an ecosystem so unlike the rest of your garden in it's plants, insects and animals.

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  • 03 of 12

    Secluded, Cool and Probably Never Used

    Shady Nook in the Garden for Sitting
    Shady Nook in the Garden for Sitting. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    I get the feeling this bench doesn't see much action, since it's being taken over by the plants. Still, it looks inviting, doesn't it?

    You can include seating areas in tucked away sections of the garden. Even if you don't get a chance to sit for a couple of years, one day you stumble on it with fresh eyes, after the initial plantings fill in and integrate themselves in the setting, and it becomes your favorite spot.

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  • 04 of 12

    Garden Seating Doesn't have to be Secretive or Subtle.

    Garden Seating in Splendor
    Garden Seating in Splendor. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    This is a very elaborate and evolving garden and the seating is intentionally conspicuous, almost park-like. It's a destination from the house and set on its own little slab, but right smack in the middle of the borders. A place to review the garden or just enjoy it with a glass of wine.

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  • 05 of 12

    There's No Reason Seating Can't be a Focal Point of the Garden.

    Using Color in the Garden
    Using Color in the Garden. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Functional doesn't have to mean boring. Seating that's meant for convenience can also add character and color to the garden. This series of blue Adirondack chairs are in a good vantage point and comfortable. But it's the color that makes them so perfect for this cool green spot.

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  • 06 of 12

    Who Needs Flowers?

    A Splash of Color in the Garden
    A Splash of Color in the Garden. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    It's color again that makes these vintage metal chairs a focal point in this shady nook. It's hard to keep a shade garden in color at all, let alone all season, unless you cheat a little and use colorful ornaments or chairs like these.

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  • 07 of 12

    The Romance of a Garden Seating Area.

    Classic Wrought Iron Garden Furniture
    Classic Wrought Iron Garden Furniture. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    I'll agree that wrought iron lawn furniture can be over used, but there's a reason it's so popular and it's not comfort. Wrought iron works well in gardens with a cottagey feel. The material is rustic and usually in some state of rusting. It suits the surroundings and doesn't look like it will be harmed by a muddy boot or sudden shower.

    Use what you like. If you like the look of weathered rust, the practicality of molded resin or retro chic of webbing, in a few years, they'll all be classics.

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  • 08 of 12

    Freshness to the Extreme.

    Dining in the Vegetable Garden
    Dining in the Vegetable Garden. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Here's function for you: put your seating within picking distance of your vegetables. A fresh salad is literally within reach.

    It's rare to see a seat in a vegetable patch. Vegetable gardens aren't often ornamental. We go in, pick what we need and head back to the kitchen. What a treat to eat or relax in the midst of the aromas of basil and tomatoes.

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  • 09 of 12

    Not Your Average Stone Bench.

    Garden Seating for Fun and Whimsy
    Garden Seating for Fun and Whimsy. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Just try and keep the kids off these hands. These are not chairs for an afternoon nap, but they bring this part of the garden alive. Sometimes garden decorations and benches can begin to look the same from one garden to the next. Seeking out locally made products or flea market finds can yield some very unusual garden treasures.

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  • 10 of 12

    Blurring the Lines Between House and Garden.

    Garden Patio Seating
    Garden Patio Seating. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Now here's seating that's meant to be used. Whether for a moment alone to collect your thoughts or to share a pitcher of lemonade with a couple of friends, there is nothing as accessible as a couple of chairs clustered around a small table and surrounded by over flowing flower pots and borders. You barely have to leave your house to enter your garden.

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  • 11 of 12

    It's your garden. Make yourself comfortable.

    A Place to Relax in the Garden
    A Place to Relax in the Garden. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    There's no confusion about what this bench is for. Even in a small city yard, there's room for some comfort and escape.

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  • 12 of 12

    The Chair as Art.

    Sitting in the Garden?
    Sitting in the Garden?. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    And finally, sometimes seating serves no function besides it's aesthetic appeal to the gardener. Or maybe someone took the seat out of this chair as a subtle reminder to keep working.