Seating is important in any garden.
If you entertain outdoors, ample and varied garden seating helps the party be successful. Second, seating provides rest, and rest is part of garden work. One needs to stop every so often and check progress. Next, as we age, and endurance lessens, a place to rest and gather energy for the next garden task becomes important. Last, but not least, a garden seat is a place to stop and metaphorically smell the roses — enjoy the plant and animal life around us.
Seating choices in yards are often limited to a single option – chairs around a patio table. The chairs focus inward around the table, relegating views of the garden to secondary, almost accidental, status. For outside dining, table and chairs are indeed best on a flat surface like a patio. For outside garden enjoyment, further seating is a must.
Garden seating can take may forms. Concrete benches are simple, weatherproof, and hard on the backside. Wood is nice, but can be a maintenance issue. Metal chairs can get uncomfortably toasty in the summer. Plastic garden chairs are a good stop-gap measure, but can decay and break unexpectedly, depositing Aunt Fanny on her fanny. So now that we realize there are no ideal solutions, why not simply have some of each?!
Think Around the Corner
I agree that adding seating is difficult in today’s smaller gardens, but it is still possible to do. Start by using the side yard! So often there is ample space in the side yard for some seating. It could make a lovely “secret” garden, instead of a boring utility “hallway” of rocks and a few shrubs.
The side yard is the place to tuck away a garden glider or other seating. Put it under a bower of flowering vines, like the butterfly favorite, passionflower vine. Make the seating big enough that you can tuck your feet up and enjoy a good book. Perhaps add a small water feature that you turn on when you go back there. If you build it, and it is pleasant, you will find yourself using it – thus expanding your home by another “room.”
Something to See
Find a sunset-watching spot and add a seat. Since sunsets don’t last that long, you could use a concrete bench here. Consider using the community easement areas beside your yard. One woman won permission from her HOA to install a cement bench. She now has a number of new friends sharing her sunset seat.
Seating around a fireplace or firepit should be comfortable. There appears to be some primal instinct to gather around a fire. Seating would be a large enough circle or include movable chairs in case the wind shifts smoke direction.
I have a number of metal chairs that migrate around the garden as the season changes and shade shifts. Most of the time they are bare of cushions and make a fine place to sit for five minutes while pondering the next garden chore. Before a party happens, the chairs get their cushions, but the rest of the time the cushions rest in a metal box the packrats can only dream of getting into.
Seating in the garden allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and to just plain enjoy life. Be sure to add some seating to your garden – and then take the time to use it.
Find out more.
Please come to my presentation at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word in Silver City, New Mexico on October 6, 2019. The entire event is from October 4-6 and features many notable authors and poets in a lovely town at a stunning time of year. More here: https://swwordfiesta.org/
After my reading I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press). Note – this link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there we get a few pennies.
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