There is no better way to unwind than sitting in a garden, soaking up the scents and the sound of birdsong.
But do you have enough seating placed around your garden so that you can do just that?
In my last garden in England, about an acre in size, I had at least five benches – one for morning coffee, one by the pond, one for catching the sunset and so on. I gradually acquired them – at auctions, reclamation yards or garden centres – as I came across them and so that the expense was spread over many months.
Siting your Bench
A bench, unlike dining furniture or loungers on your terrace/patio,
- is likely to remain outdoors all year round
- doesn’t need to be as comfortable as dining chairs
- can be softened with cushions in the summer months
- can act as a focal point
- looks decorative in its own right
- can encourage exploration of your garden, especially in winter months
A bench placed just in view in a large garden can direct visitors onwards to explore further.
But even a tiny city centre front garden, where outdoor space is at such a premium, can find room for a bench. I’m amazed at how few people seem to really use this space – you wouldn’t ignore 10 sq metres inside your house.
Stone, metal or wood?
It’s worth buying the best you can afford for longevity. Look out for something unusual at reclamation yards, second hand shops and flea markets, as well as online stores and garden centres.
A period stone bench may cost you thousands but there are many good reproductions available which will look authentic after a winter or two outdoors. I think they look timeless and improve year by year.
I like the look of these pretty metal benches, lovely in the gardens of older properties where they look decorative in their own right, though they are not always the most comfortable for any length of time.
They can be painted to suit your taste.
There are many wonderful designs available in wood, from reasonably priced to the intake of breath variety. They are often the most comfortable – elegance and comfort are probably the most desirable assets in a bench I think!
There’s the classic Lutyens style bench, named after the British architect Edwin Lutyens, who collaborated with Gertrude Jekyll on a number of country houses and gardens. The flowing lines add romance to a garden.
Even a cheaper flatpack bench can be jollied up with a coat of paint or woodstain.
Here are some websites in Britain and Ireland which may provide inspiration – you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a stylish look.
Hope you’ll be sitting comfortably quite soon!