Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sitting in the Garden

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My last post was on pots.  In this one I thought I would move on to benches. Here is a collection of bench pictures taken in various gardens in the last few years.  These give some ideas of where to place benches to ensure they are comfortable and look attractive.






On the whole we are more comfortable on benches that are backing on something. Some primitive instinct wants us protect our rear, even when there are no danger.


A bench at Roche Fleurie


Some might find the following bench over protected, even claustrophobic. Whether you like it or not, you can only admire the patience it took to achieve this result.


Although the following three benches are quite nice, they do not feel as welcoming. First, this is because there is no real backing, and second, sitting there,I for one would feel I were on display.




This bench, tucked in at the end of a dead-end ally is not grand looking, but it is the best positioned bench I have ever sat on. Not only does it have plants on three sides but it faces the sun, has a nice view and (especially) is right next to a couple of old rosemary plants. Sitting there in the sun, you are enveloped in the delicious smell of rosemary.



Somehow backing seems less important when there is a lot of space and other benches in sight.




Some benches aimd more for the aesthetic than for the comfortable.



Having a view to look at from the bench is always a plus (this one in Victoria, B.C.).


32 comments:

  1. I must find a space for a glider this summer. It's overwhelmed in the openness of the back yard, and I haven't located a good space for it up front--yet.

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    1. I have fond memory of gliders. I had a colleague who had a plum tree and we would sit on the glider, eating ripe plums!

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  2. I loved the bench with the clipped hedge around it. As you say that must have taken time and patience! The one in the middle of the concrete area is odd, I wouldn't want to sit there for sure!
    I like to catch the scent of flowers and herbs when sitting so I would have the lavender and your rose bench as my favourites!xxx

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    1. It faces due south, so it is nicest in Spring and Fall when the sun is not too strong.

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  3. I'd never thought that there was a strategy for proper placing of benches in gardens.

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    1. Hi Red, don't you agree that one feels better when people cannot surprise you from behind?

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  4. Ah, yes, benches are critically important in a garden. Your example from your own garden is the best, in my opinion. It looks very inviting and comfortable.

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    1. Thank you Beth. Having roses right behind you adds to the pleasure.

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  5. An important point and I realise I haven' t thought of putting any of my benches next to fragrant plants. I must rethink their positions. I do have benches all round the garden which I like to think I might have time to sit on one day. So far, it hasn' t happened, but one can dream.

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    1. I find I sit down on my own benches more to check that the view is OK than to enjoy them!

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  6. I too like to have something behind me when sitting down, even in a restaurant! All the benches in the garden here have either a fence or hedge behind them, you can't be too careful, don't want anyone creeping up on me!

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  7. We tend to have chairs rather than benches as they fit better into out limited space and are teamed with small tables,

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    1. In fact chairs are more convenient. Benches often ends up being things you look at rather than sit on.

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  8. I love the bench near a trellis on the 3d photo, Alain. I think it's enough comfy and suits to a nap in hot summer day:))

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    1. Thank you Nadezda - the one you like is the one in my garden!

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  9. Certainly having a view is a big plus when it comes to benches. I never considered that it is more comfortable and reassuring when a bench backs on something. Interesting! I think you are right, it is a throw back to some primitive instinct.
    I think the color of the bench is another key consideration. I have one wooden bench which I painted white to match the house. Oddly enough I find it almost glows in the sunlight and seems very out of place. Lesson learned about bench color!

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    1. It is an interesting point you are making about colors. My painted bench is stained pale bluish-grey. Have you ever seen books showing the designs of Mary Keen, she has things in the garden painted a blue which seems to fit in very well. I almost used it but I eventually settled for the closest thing I could fine to the color of the trellis (not stained or painted).

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  10. I love benches, and take many photos of them whenever I visit a garden. I have one Jekyll bench in my garden, through which I grow a clematis. When the clematis is in bloom, the bench is my favorite thing in the garden. Even when the clematis is not in bloom, the bench beckons, even in winter, even when covered in snow.

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    1. Thank you for leaving a comment. I agree with you. The nice thing about benches is that they are not only practical but attractive as well. They also encourage sociability as you can sit 2 or even 3 on a single bench!

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  11. I don't have a bench in my garden...yet! I intend to do so when the shrubs and trees are more mature and I think they look better and feel much more comfortable to sit at with something to the rear. We are odd creatures are we not?
    Great pics Alain.

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    1. Good luck with any bench you put in. They are nice to have around even if you don't sit a lot when you are in the garden!

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  12. I think your post has decided me Alain, unfortunately, although I have had some in the past, I can not boast a bench currently although it had occurred to me that I need one whilst making mental plans during the winter. You are quite right about our primal instinct, in particularly in a strange room I will always sit against a wall preferably in a corner from which I have a view of the whole area, I don't think of this as being insecure, just prudent.

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    1. I suppose we have many more primitive instincts than we think!

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  13. Hello Alain, I've several spots in the garden marked out for seating and without even realising it or planning it, they've all got either a backing, or are enclosed by planting, there aren't any out in the open. Funny that.

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    1. i was surprised to see how many people made comments about this. It must be something we feel strongly about.

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  14. At one time I treated the garden bench as something to look at, these days I enjoy the more practical use.

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  15. You know I've often considered a bench for somewhere in my garden but can't seem to find the right place, partly because there's no wall or hedge to back it on to. I don't know why that seems the right way to place a bench but intuitively that's what I want to do with it.

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    1. You might try moving a light chair around and find out that it seems to work better in on spot. You might have several nice views. Unless you actually sit in one spot, it can be hard to see what it has to offer.

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  16. I really enjoyed your post on benches. We have an acre here in Georgia but it is covered mostly with pines and the dirt is orange clay with rocks, so not much of a garden. Because of this I like to visit public gardens and really like it when they have benches. I like benches everywhere anyway. I miss it when a city does not have public benches. For example New York does not have many unless in Central Park, but Paris has many along the boulevards. Does you city have benches – not in gardens?

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    1. Thank you for leaving a comment.
      I also like public benches - all of the pictures I used in this post except one were taken in public gardens.
      We live in the middle of the woods and the closest big town is 75 minute away so there are few public benches around. However there are lots of picturesque views as we are on top of an escarpment.

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