A deck against the house is a convenient outdoor dining room, but there is nothing like sitting in the garden. Satellite seating areas reward a short journey through the landscape with a new perspective and offer a place to rest your eyes even when you lack the time or good weather to enjoy them in person.
Without the defining structure of the house, designing an in-garden seating area can feel dauntingly open-ended. Location, size, shape and material are all up for grabs. Fortunately, we have some guidelines to help make a seating area your new favorite part of the garden.
- Satellite seating areas make ideal landscape focal points. Consider locations in view of your home’s primary doors and windows or other important points in the garden. A glimpse of a secluded bench might give your mind a break on a busy day.
- The view from the seating area is important, too. You can orient a bench or patio toward a scenic vista or a favorite perspective on the garden.
- Wrap the seating area in at least a few feet of planting bed to separate it from fences and property lines. Exceptions for gorgeous views are encouraged.
- Put function first in determining size. How many people will use the seating area, and for what purpose? A fire pit with room for twenty is ideal for a family who entertains often, while a simple bench gives a quiet couple an intimate space for conversation or meditation. A correctly sized space will feel more welcoming, in addition to being the perfect fit for your needs.
- Consider a geometric form to strengthen your satellite seating area’s impact. Rectangles, circles and even ovals make beautiful, grounding focal points as well as functional garden rooms.
- Don't worry if the design seems "hard" at first. Surrounding plantings will balance and soften any hard lines, while the shapes give definition to the design.
- In general, flagstone or a floating wood deck adds visual heft, while gravel appears softer and more informal. Bordering gravel with stone can add definition without hard paving. For a detailed look at paving, click over to our post, "Paving the Way"
All photos by Mosaic Gardens.