Garden Seating Simplified

Mirror WindowIt’s June so it’s time to think about spending more time relaxing and entertaining in your garden. A well-designed outdoor seating area expands your home and gives you more options for entertaining outdoors and al fresco dining.

It doesn’t matter whether you have an expansive well-landscaped garden, a simple apartment balcony, or a small deck or patio. By paying attention to a few design principles, you can create an appealing outdoor space that you can enjoy all summer.

Here are some tips from garden designer Darcy Daniels found in a recent newsletter from Fine Gardening:

  1. Set boundaries to define your seating area. The size and amount of privacy provided in an outdoor seating area signals how a space will ultimately be used. Small, secluded spaces invite intimate conversations. Large, open areas work for large gatherings of friend and families. Boundaries are what establish this framework for your seating area.

    Take advantage of existing structures, such as your home or garage, to define the perimeters of a seating area. You can also create boundaries using plants or built elements, such as fences, arbors, trellises, or screens. A strategically placed umbrella or a pergola draped with vines can provide privacy from overlooking houses.

  2. Choose flooring to suit your space and budget. There are many options to choose from, including stone, brick, pavers, concrete, and gravel. Let the intended use and your budget be your guides.

    Casual seating areas are easy. A wooden picnic table on the lawn is perfect for casual seating and dining, but a dining table and chairs with slender legs require a more solid surface. Stone, concrete pavers and bricks work better in this case.
    One inexpensive way to define an outdoor seating area is to use an outdoor carpet. Just like a carpet in the home defines the sitting area of a room, comfortable chairs on a patterned outdoor carpet place on a patio or deck make the whole arrangement look pulled together.

  3. Soften hard edges to create a more inviting space. The obvious way to this is with plants. Resist the tendency toward a long, straight, narrow border lining the edge of your seating area. Another way to soften edges and expand space is shown in the picture above.  A window frame with the glass removed and a mirror put in its place reflects green space and creates the illusion of a much larger area. And it’s so  much more attractive than a blank wall or wooden fence. If you’re really short on space, say on a balcony, plants can be trained against fences and walls to create living green walls.

To read the originial article, click here.