This year I decided to buy an all-weather seat for my garden. Bizarrely I didn’t actually have a permanent place to sit where I could admire my hard work.
There is an art to choosing and placing garden seating. First decide whether you want to sit in full sun, or dappled shade. Watch the path of the sun and make a note of which particular parts of the garden are illuminated at each time of day.
Think about when you will sit in you garden. Will you want to eat breakfast out there? If so pop a seat and little table in a spot which catches the morning sun. If like many of us the only chance you get to sit out is during the evening then look for an area which is bathed in golden light of late afternoon. Would you like to dine out doors in the evening? Can you make room for a table, and would a patio heater be a good investment, so you can make the most of the setting.
If the only area you can place a bench is in baking sun then it’s good to place some sort of overhead structure. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Sawn tanalised timbers can be used to make a very simple frame over which you can train a vine or climber. Use galvanised screws and it should last 20 years, providing a delightful place to rest.
Choose all-weather furniture for ease of use unless you have oodles of storage space for the winter months. Plastic is cheap but can look very tacky. There are some wonderful synthetic wicker style pieces available now though, and excellent metal furniture which requires no care at all. My favourite material is wood, though mostly this does require ongoing maintenance. I did discover some rather attractive polystyrene slatted furniture on an aluminium frame which looked remarkably like the real deal. If finances allow you can buy beautiful teak wood furniture which requires very little in the way of after care.
Try before you buy! Yes you want your furniture to look wonderful but the most important factor is comfort. Are the seats wide enough? Is there enough back support? Does it come with pads?
Finally, to bring a touch of indoor comfort and style to an outdoor area, I discovered outdoor rugs! Yes really. Made from long-lasting material, outdoor rugs can cope with rain or shine. They are made from robust, resistant, easy-care synthetic fibres, which absorb minimal moisture and which dry quickly afterwards. They don’t fade even when exposed to bright sunlight and are cleaned easily by vacuuming, with a broom, or by beating them. I was a sceptic, but I think I’m a convert and bought a little one to place in front of my bench. My dog loves it!
By Rachael Leverton