Don’t Forget Furniture in Garden Design
If you’re anything like me, a crazy plantsman, then your garden will be pretty much rammed with every plant you’ve ever been able to get your hands on. I collect plants as I garden, I pop them in wherever there’s space, and every few years I try to bring a bit more of a designed appearance to my garden sprawl by overhauling beds and borders. But, away from the prestigious shows and competitions, most gardens tend to evolve over time and take shape as you collect plants.
The same thing could be said when it comes to garden furniture. The more you garden, the more you develop a style and discerning eye to the things you like. In the same way, you’re likely to collect bits of furniture over time because, frankly, most gardeners don’t have the money to fill a new garden with beautiful furniture AND plants in one go. However, this can cause a problem, leading to a space packed with plants but with nowhere to actually enjoy them because in the midst of filling your trolley with seedlings and blooms, furniture has taken a back seat.
This is the case of my own space. I don’t have a lawn to relax out on, and the only path I have winds its way between two wide borders to the garage. I put in a patio area a couple of years ago with the intention of buying a small round table and two chairs, but the space soon became overtaken with seedling pots and cats sprawling out in the sunshine. On a day such as today, when spring starts to send tendrils of warmth into the receding winter chill, I have a great desire to get out and amongst my plants, not to garden, but to simply enjoy. With only one faded bench by the hen coop my places to sit, other than on the ground, are minimal.
Whilst all of us gardeners love nothing more to potter around, deadheading, pruning, potting up as we go, remembering to actually put areas of seating into our oasis is important. If you’re anything like me and don’t want to pay much attention to the upkeep of seating, pieces such as rattan garden furniture, stone benches and willow constructs are great, with the latter particularly beautiful because, in many cases, you can get to the willow to root so that you’re effectively sat on a living structure. We may not actually take a breath readily, but when the sun shines and you want to take the weight off, to watch and listen to garden life all around you for a moment, having that place to sit is important. In addition, garden furniture can actually turn dead space and odd corners into fascinating places. A winding path is of no interest if it’s not really going anywhere. Place a seat at the end of it and you’ve created a destination. This allows you to do away with paths that need to meander back to the main area as you can simply create areas of seclusion and privacy just by placing benches and loungers at dead ends. And, though I’m unlikely to stop collecting plants at a mad man’s rate, I will make sure that this year I buy that table and chairs so that when the sun’s high in the sky, the birds are singing and it’s Pimms o’clock, I actually have somewhere to sit back, breathe and enjoy my garden.