Outdoor Living, Indeed: How to Design the Perfect Satellite Seating Area for Your Garden

 A seating area doubles as a focal point in this garden on the Oregon coast.

A seating area doubles as a focal point in this garden on the Oregon coast.

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.

 This intimate bench in Salem, Oregon is a lovely garden feature and the perfect spot to meditate on the view of Mt Jefferson.

This intimate bench in Salem, Oregon is a lovely garden feature and the perfect spot to meditate on the view of Mt Jefferson.

Location

  • 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.
 Ample woodland plantings surround an oval-shaped flagstone patio in Eugene, Oregon.

Ample woodland plantings surround an oval-shaped flagstone patio in Eugene, Oregon.

Size

  • 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.
 This 20' diameter circular, seating-height stone wall makes a fire pit for a crowd on the Oregon coast.

This 20' diameter circular, seating-height stone wall makes a fire pit for a crowd on the Oregon coast.

 This stone bench is just the right size for a family of two to enjoy their Eugene, Oregon garden.

This stone bench is just the right size for a family of two to enjoy their Eugene, Oregon garden.

 A circular terrace is the centerpiece of this shady space.

A circular terrace is the centerpiece of this shady space.

Shape

  • 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.

 

 

 

Materials

  • 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"
 A stone border adds visual weight to the rectangular gravel terrace in this front yard landscape.

A stone border adds visual weight to the rectangular gravel terrace in this front yard landscape.

All photos by Mosaic Gardens.

 

 

Source: mosaic-gardens.com