A lot of talk about outdoor furniture revolves around spaces with hard floors – like a deck, patio, or porch. But chances are that most of your back yard isn’t finished with wood, tile, or brick, but with grass, gravel, or mulch – which means you need a very different set of furniture. Having a cute place to sit and relax in the middle of your garden can be wonderful, and the right garden furniture can help add a nice finishing touch to your landscaping, but it does need to be a little hardier than anything you’d typically store under an awning.
Wrought Iron Bistro Sets
One of my favorite types of garden furniture are small, wrought iron cafe tables. Modeled after the kind of furniture you’d find on the terrace of a cute French restaurant, these dining sets are small enough that they won’t take up much space in a smaller garden, but are plenty roomy as a table for two if you want to enjoy a nice quiet breakfast among the flowers. Metal tables and chairs are also a better option for your garden than your patio for a couple of reasons. First, they’re fairly heavy, which means they won’t go anywhere even if you leave them out of sight in a stiff wind. Second, metal outdoor furniture has a habit of leaving behind rust stains, which can ruin a nice deck but won’t do any harm to your lawn or garden pathway.
Stone Garden Benches And Memorial Seats
Stone and concrete are also wonderful for outdoor seating that’s a little off the beaten path. Both are far too heavy to be practical on a deck or patio, but in a garden they’re both substantial enough to stay in place and organic enough to feel like a natural part of your landscaping. Stone or concrete garden benches run the gamut from grand installations to petite memorials – either a feature of the garden itself or a small stone seat with an inscription on the surface in a quiet, reflective part of your garden.
Freestanding Garden Swings
Porch swings are, as the name implies, usually kept pretty close to the house and hung from some kind of awning or overhang. But you can also find similar garden swings that let you sit comfortably and swing out in the sunshine away from your house. Rather than hanging from a ceiling, these garden swings include some sort of support frame that makes them freestanding. They’re also typically made entirely of metal, without any of the pillows or canopies that can get easily be ruined by prolonged exposure to the elements.
Park-Style Tree Benches
One of my favorite mundane accommodations are those little tree benches you often find on walking trails or in parks. You know the kind – metal or wood benches that encircle the trunk of a tree, creating a 360 degree seating surface that doesn’t take up much space at all – and that won’t block the path. If you have a large, tree-filled garden (or even just lots of walking paths on your property), adopting these tree benches can make for a charming accent – and one you can set up and forget about, since they’re made to stand up to harsh weather conditions.
Unusual Garden Benches (That Make Great Statement Pieces)
You don’t see them very often – not the least because they’re a little odd – but in addition to some of the more iconic types of garden furniture, you can also find some really fun outdoor benches. If you want a piece that has an artistic look, or something that feels like a sculptural addition to your garden rather than a purely practical one, keep an eye out for metal or stone (or concrete or stone-finished resin) benches that range from a little unconventional (like back-to-back tete-a-tete seats) to downright whimsical (like animal statues designed to be sat on).
Simple Park Bench
All that said, whether you have a classic, manicured English garden, an organic Victory garden, or if you’ve upgraded from landscaping to xeriscaping, you really can’t go wrong with a classic park bench. Styles and materials will vary a little, but whatever the ambiance and aesthetic of your garden, chances are a simple bench won’t be out of place. And your garden furniture really doesn’t need to be more complicated than that; while benches can have a little personality or even be personalized, an iconic wood or metal park bench will never go out of style.