Seating Areas for Small Gardens

Long afternoons, extending into evenings sitting around in the garden as continuous pots of tea and bottles of wine flow from the kitchen. There are a few guiding principles about where to sit in a garden. We will want to be out of the wind. When I decide where to sit with a cuppa tea in my hand, the first thing I determine is what direction the wind is coming from. Then there’s the question of what you’re sitting on. Linked to the style of seating is the consideration of what you are sitting around. While style has a large bearing on the appeal of seating, so does the material of which it is made. Whether you’re after seating that looks transparent or solid will depend upon the placement.

What draws us into a certain part of the garden? People are drawn to and congregate in the open spaces of a garden. The addition of a seating area can add size to the home and result in outdoor spaces being used more. The size and amount of privacy provided in an outdoor seating area signals how a space will ultimately be used. Boundaries and privacy can be created using existing structures and plants such as trellises, screens, fences, arbours, the house, or garage to define the parameters of the seating areas.

A functional and practical area does not have to mean boring. Softening hard edges invites the garden in. Built elements need to be softened or de-emphasised to lessen the contrast between hardscaping and garden surroundings. Flooring is important with many options to choose from, stone, brick, pavers, concrete, gravel. Consider the area’s eventual use and likely furnishings (stability and traction). Incorporating planted boundaries adds depth to garden beds and creates softness.  For small, narrow areas there are ways to add softness without taking up much space. Plants can be trained against fences and walls to create living green walls. Using plants with narrow upright growth habits such as vines can create a living soft division of space without requiring a lot of living room.

Seating areas at Tamar Cottage

Every garden needs an area where we can sit down and enjoy a meal. This west facing section receives sun from from mid-morning onwards, gaining more sun over the afternoon. With comfy chairs and cushions, its a nice place to sit and eat a meal or read the paper while enjoying the view over the garden.

Almost husband and I, sometimes find ourselves soaking up the sun with a cuppa sitting on this round cafe table setting in this cosy sheltered spot on the veranda. This little area makes use of existing structures of the veranda and the house to define the parameter of the seating area and has been softened with pot plants and the outlook of the surrounding garden.

Almost husband and I often find ourselves under the shade of a deciduous climber, the ornamental grape, vine sitting in low, comfortable rustic cast iron chairs. Here we can sit amid the lush garden instead of above it. The ornamental vine has been trained up the arbour to create shade during summer and provides sun over winter.

One of the best parts about outdoor areas is sitting outside and soaking up the sun, whether its napping or siting outside and sipping your morning tea in a comfy chair. Almost husband and I often enjoy our weekend mornings pleasantly spent on the outdoor teak lounge in our east facing undercover gazebo soaking up the morning sun. Seating that is meant for convenience can also add character and colour to the garden. This seating area is in a good vantage point and comfortable.

The simply designed teak seat is perfect for curling up on a sunny day whether you are reading or drinking tea or coffee. The size of it allows 3 people to sit on together and making it perfect for afternoon naps too. Thick cushions with several pillows make the chair even more comfy. It is in a sheltered and cosy backyard spot, conveniently located in front of the fire pit with a view over the yard facing the house.

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