Beautiful gardens are labours of love that deserve to be lingered over, and lingering requires a garden bench.
At first glance a garden bench may seem like an indulgence – something a garden could easily do without. But then one afternoon you stroll across the lawn, arrive at the garden bench and, without thinking, sit down. And straight away you notice a faint, lemony scent. Could it be coming from the flowers of the magnolia tree? Apparently it is. How amazing!
Next, the bright ranunculus dancing on their fine stems catch your eye. As does an unexpected green shoot pushing its way up through the soil. Could it be a fuchsia? A gladioli? Or something wild that’s crept in unannounced? You lean forward for a closer look. But no, that green shoot will keep its secret a while longer yet.
So you sit back. Your heart is warmed. Your soul is calmed. Thank goodness for that garden bench waiting right where it stood, between the Azaleas and the potting shed. Otherwise you’d have strolled right on by and missed the magic that is your garden.
When it comes to garden benches, nothing is more apt than stone. Its solidness makes it one with the earth – a natural feature almost. Nor is it going to crumble or disintegrate. Or do anything else in a hurry, least of all get blown away! Stone benches are intended to stand out of doors all year round, resisting whatever nature hurls at them.
In fact, one of the lovely things about having a stone bench in your garden is watching it age. Each does so in response to its own environment, depending on its exposure or shelter, or the greenery surrounding it. It will assume its own antique character over time, eventually becoming one with the garden, as if it always was and always will be there.
Shapes and sizes
Short benches (1400 mm long) are perfect for intimate garden nooks. In those quiet, out of the way places, a bench for two is more than adequate. Longer benches (1600 mm) are best placed on paved paths or areas overlooking open vistas. Even then, garden benches are not intended for crowds. They are private perches.
The shape of the bench depends entirely on the garden in which it will sit. Benches with intricately patterned legs and edges sit best in romantic gardens, while benches with smooth-faced stone and square-cut angles are best placed in modern gardens, those with ultra-minimalist plantings or in rugged bushland settings.
Benches for dining
Benches are often overlooked as seating options for outdoor dining, mainly because they have no backrests. But they compensate for this in other ways. Benches lend a truly relaxed tone to an outdoor dining table. You might even call it a picnic atmosphere. And nothing sits more perfectly with a beautiful stone table, than stone benches of the same elegant design.
A garden bench invites the passer-by to pause and enjoy what they might otherwise have missed. Far from being a luxury, a garden bench is indispensable.
Image Credit: © Yardware