Relaxation In The Garden
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
Outdoor lounging activities often take place near the house on a deck or patio. Perhaps it is time for a stroll a bit further into the garden for refreshments or to catch up on some reading. Is there a comfortable inviting place to sit, imbibe, and peruse? The proper placement and selection of seating in the garden influences the look and use of a too often underused outdoor space.
Benches, chairs, rockers, bench swings, and hammocks are an invitation to explore and linger awhile in the garden. Place seating/lounging opportunities amid color or fragrance for seasonal interest. Be sure to provide a good view. A water feature can withstand closer inspection and the proximity of cascading water can cool the body and soothe the ear. Multiple seating locations along pathways will link a variety of garden spaces together during a journey through the garden.
The heat of the summer sun may require a shady location under a tree, vine covered pergola, or arbor. A south-facing bench open to a sunny sky and protected by a wall or hedge can take the edge off a winter chill. Around a fire, flexible seating arrangements may be adjusted according to where the wind drives the smoke.
Select a style themed to your home and garden and it will also become an attractive focal point. When viewed from inside it may lure you out into the garden. One of our favorite seating locations is away from the house. From that remote vantage point a view back is unique and rewarding since we spend most of our time house bound looking outward.
Benches and seats are available in steel, lightweight aluminum, stone, concrete, wood, and synthetic wicker. Steel requires a durable powder coated paint finish to resist rust and aluminum is lightweight and easy to move about. They both dry quickly after a rain event. Over time, stone and concrete will obtain a mossy patina and will require a cushion for long visits. Weighty but tough to relocate, they will stay put in a fierce wind. Wood remains cool to the touch and teak left unattended weathers to an attractive silvery grey finish. Pair the durable synthetic wicker with cushions covered in Sunbrella® fabric so they can conveniently remain outdoors.
Do not be surprised if a bench becomes a resting spot for potted plants and is ultimately consumed by the garden. That is another good reason to have numerous places to relax and experience the garden.
- To keep seating level, legs should rest on leveled stone, brick, or concrete pads instead of soil or mulch.
- The height for a seating wall is in the 18-22” range.
- Place steppingstones at the seat so feet rest on a firm dry surface.
- Select metal furnishings with rust-resistant powder coated paint finishes.
- Insist on teak harvested from sustainable teak plantations.
- A backless bench with access to both sides allows a view from either direction.
- Those with large frames should seek out furnishings with deep seating.
- Search for contoured backs and seats for comfort.
- Whenever possible, test drive seating with your body.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.houzz.com/pro/hortusoasis/__public.
Credit: All photography by Stephen G. Pategas/Hortus Oasis