Category: Garden Features
Published on Friday, 23 January 2009 16:07
Written by Graham
In one of his gardening books, Alan Tichmarsh relates that his father used to say that "every job needs "a good coat of looking"". It's a philosophy to which I very much subscribe, and this is reflected in the range of seats I am adding to the garden. Positioned strategically around the garden they allow the viewer to see the plants and features from different angles. They are also a reminder that a garden is to be enjoyed and should be a place of rest and peace. Try to use different types of seating - some single-seaters to allow a solitary few moments and some big enough to seat friends for an informal "apéro". Think carefully about the positioning of your seating. Choose locations that give unusual perspectives on the garden, perhaps where the sight-lines avoid neighbouring houses or lead the eye to distant views. Psychologically, most people sit more comfortably if there is something "protecting" them from behind. In addition something to shield the sitter from winds in the winter, or strong sunshine in the summer is preferable. Thus a bench placed against a wall or hedge is much more relaxing than one standing in the middle of a lawn. A seat nestled within an arbor of bushes or a wooden pergola will always attract sitters, and will also provide an interesting focal point to the garden.
Gardening books provide endless ideas and designs for garden seating, so no need to repeat that here. I would just recommend that you install a mixture of seating that can range from simple large rocks or stones to old chairs that can be picked up at most French brocantes for a couple of euro. Don't forget also to add a few tables, or similar horizontal surfaces on which to put a cool drink and book in the summer, or a warming cup of chocolate in the winter. Here are some of the places I use to give the garden that "good coat of looking".
- The "Contemplating Chair"
This one-seater was made as a gift for me by friend Bill, and is perfect for a cool drink in the shade of the box tree. The wide arms are useful for books or a drawing pad, or more recently as perches for the two kittens that we have gained.
- The Park Bench
This seat has traditional cast iron ends, with chestnut rails. Again Bill used his woodworking skills to plane-up some timber sourced from his favorite woodyard.
- The woodworker's bench
This old woodworker's bench was bought for € 5 at a local brocante. The foot-operated vice serves as a useful place to balance a cup of coffee as I survey the jardin potager.