Susan Jasan, MS, PLA is a horticulturist and landscape architect passionate about creating custom outdoor spaces that serve as an oasis for rest, renewal, and play.

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Take a Load Off
by Susan Jasan    

After a long day working in your garden, there should be a special spot where you can stop and enjoy your labors. Whether it’s a small whimsical bench tucked in along a little garden path or a swing for two, seating in your garden can extend your enjoyment of your garden tremendously.  

Taking time to sit and enjoy not only the views, but also the sounds in your garden, is guaranteed to quiet the spirit of even those with the most hectic lifestyles. Research has shown that just five minutes in nature can significantly reduce your stress level and can increase your concentration level.  

Selecting your seating feature can be almost as much fun as enjoying the view. From garden centers, to the Internet, to arts and crafts shows, there are many different places to find that perfect piece for your garden. Consider a do-it-yourself project to create your own garden seating. It may even become a family heirloom.   Plan your seating to take advantage of special views. Think ahead as you design your garden. When you think about where you want to place that special garden feature, making it a key focal point in your garden, remember to also consider the best placement for seating to enjoy that feature.    

Think about where to sit to enjoy the feel of the sun warming your back on a cool day, or shady areas for a hot summer’s afternoon when perennials are in full bloom. Think whether you want a conversation space or a private, contemplative space. Are there certain views you’d like to be able to sit and enjoy? Or do want to create a cozy enclosed area?  

Just as we furnish the interior of our homes, more and more we’re furnishing our outdoor rooms. Many of the same rules apply. Keeping conversation areas away from heavy traffic areas such as near doorways and sidewalks should be considered as you lay out your outdoor seating.  

And just as you use accent colors in your home, think in terms of color for your garden seating too. Do you prefer muted tones? Or do you like to use strong bold colors?  The same paint cards that give you ideas for color combinations in your home also work well as you select garden combinations and outdoor furniture combinations.  

Remember too that dark colors will typically be hot to the touch on a hot summer’s day. White furniture makes a strong statement in a garden. Just as a few white blooms in the garden go a long way, a white bench makes a strong statement in your landscape.  

Cushions add comfort and pillows are fun accents. The materials for the seating can vary widely – from wood to concrete, metal frames to large boulders, from swings to brick seat-walls. Remember maintenance as well as comfort when you select materials. Each has its pros and cons. But whatever you choose, make it your style, make time to sit in your garden, and take time to smell the roses. 

 

 

 

 

A version of this article appeared in a February 2015 print edition of State-by-State Gardening.
Photography by Susan Jasan.

 

Posted: 01/08/19   RSS | Print

 

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