Creating Seating Areas in Your Garden

The Summer Palace

The Spruce / Marie Iannotti

Many gardeners create seating areas in their gardens, but very few sit in them.

Gardens are meant to be viewed and admired, but most home gardeners spend the bulk of their time performing gardening chores and maintenance and don't stop to enjoy what they've created.

Seating is an important aspect of any garden. Gardens are representative of the gardener's vision and are as ever-changing as the weather, so there are no hard rules about using seating in a garden. Seating 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 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 might not sit, but the temptation is there. Even more alluring is the promise of a secret hideaway 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 are several creative examples for adding seating areas to your home landscape and gardens:

  • 01 of 11

    Dragonflies, Frogs, Duck Weed and You

    Backyard Retreat
    © Marie Iannotti

    No one will even know you're here, tucked behind the elephant ears 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 well-placed bench lets you pause and enjoy an ecosystem so unlike the rest of your garden in its plants, insects, and animals.​

  • 02 of 11

    Secluded, Cool and Probably Never Used

    Shady Nook in the Garden for Sitting
    © Marie Iannotti

    You might get the feeling this garden bench doesn't see much action because 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.

  • 03 of 11

    Garden Seating Doesn't have to be Secretive or Subtle

    Garden Seating in Splendor
    © 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 sits on its own little slab right smack in the middle of the garden beds. It's a place to view the garden or just enjoy it with a glass of wine.

  • 04 of 11

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

    Using Color in the Garden
    © 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 are quite comfortable. But it's the color that makes them so perfect for this cool green location.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Who Needs Flowers?

    A Splash of Color in the Garden
    © Marie Iannotti

    It's color again that makes these vintage metal chairs a focal point in this shady nook. It's hard to have a shade garden with colorful blooms all season unless you cheat a little and use colorful ornaments or chairs like these. Using vintage furniture also gives your garden a sense of age, even if you only planted it last year.

  • 06 of 11

    The Romance of a Garden Seating Area

    Classic Wrought Iron Garden Furniture
    © Marie Iannotti

    There's a reason wrought iron lawn furniture is 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.

    Don't be hemmed in by fads. Use what you like. If you like the look of weathered rust, the practicality of molded resin or retro chic webbing, in a few years, they'll all be classics.

  • 07 of 11

    Freshness to the Extreme

    Dining in the Vegetable Garden
    © 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.

  • 08 of 11

    Not Your Average Stone Bench

    Garden Seating for Fun and Whimsy
    © 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.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Blurring the Lines Between House and Garden

    Garden Patio Seating
    © 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 few chairs clustered around a small patio table and surrounded by overflowing flower pots and borders. You barely have to leave the house to enter your garden.

  • 10 of 11

    It's Your Garden. Make Yourself Comfortable

    A Place to Relax in the Garden
    © Marie Iannotti

    There's no confusion about what this bench is used for, and that's comfort and relaxation. Even in a small city yard, there's always room for some comfort and escape. To create shade, install an umbrella or plant a small tree.

  • 11 of 11

    The Chair as Art

    Sitting in the Garden?
    © Marie Iannotti

    Sometimes seating serves no function besides its aesthetic appeal to the gardener. Or maybe someone took the seat out of this chair as a subtle reminder to keep working.