11 Garden Benches to Dream About

Nothing spells gloriously idyll time and hours passed in quiet contemplation like a gorgeous garden bench. Here's how to create your own bench moment.

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Photo By: Naphat_Jorjee

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Small Garden © 2004 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Dan Piassick, Piassick Photo

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Photo By: Jill Crowe

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Classic Bench

The classic white garden bench flanked by terra cotta pots with boxwoods is a solid look, evoking the traditional park bench. When choosing a garden bench, decide what your mission is: solitude or sociability? Visible to neighbors or tucked away and private? Covered or uncovered? All those decisions will help you site the bench and decide on what kind of finish you will need. Sheltered benches may not need the regular refreshes of all-weather paint. Or you may want to create a rustic, European look by allowing your unsheltered wooden bench to morph in the elements, developing an aged patina and even a coating of moss. Decide whether you want a naturalistic or more pristine, tailored look and choose your bench accordingly.

Primp Your Bench

Make a warm and welcoming statement with a classically styled garden bench. Though the traditional garden bench approach is to tuck it into a green corner of your garden, this one is placed at a home entryway, which offers guests a spot to pause and take off their shoes or wait for you to get home. A good bench also helps tremendously for extra seating during formal or casual outdoor meals since the benches can easily pull up to one side of a table.
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Take Cover

What makes this garden bench extra special? The gorgeous teepee of greenery of course, giving a sense of cozy enclosure. This is the kind of secret play nook children dream about, and would probably make many adults very happy too. String up some outdoor lights and this special fort-like bench would draw people out into the garden at any party.

Throwing Shade

Thick foliage provides natural shade under this pergola, and a bench is a great spot for enjoying a book in a natural setting. Is your ideal bench in full sun so you can enjoy a relaxing sun bath? Be sure and pick a spot in your garden that gets consistent sunlight. A bench in the sun will also increase your planting options and choice of full sun plants. Or is shade important? A pergola or even a nice stand of evergreens can provide the shade you need.

Containers Share the Spotlight

One of the advantages of a garden bench in the sun: gorgeous flowers to look at. What could be more satisfying to a gardener than to sit on this bench and gaze upon the fruits of your green thumb? When plotting your garden bench think about what sort of landscaping you will choose. Will it be simply lawn and maybe a boxwood or two? Or will your garden bench be surrounded by something in bloom all year long? This floral display is so lovely, there's no need for paint or embellishment on the bench to compete with the view.

Minimalist Bench

This simple seating area features sliding canvas shades to block the sun. Benches and a low table give the area an Asian look. Not every bench has to be a cottage garden star. These simple but appealing benches are perfect for quiet contemplation or social time and suit the clean lines and simplicity of this garden. Don't force an incongruous bench on a garden that doesn't suit it: choose a design that harmonizes with your outdoor space whether you rock a formal parterre or a funky, abundant, edible garden.
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Water World

Here's a formula for relaxation: a garden bench and a water element to provide the restful refrain of flowing water. If your garden bench will be a place to unplug and get away from it all, think about the elements that will make that happen. Bright blue tile makes a striking backdrop and adds a burst of color to this cozy, beautiful outdoor space. The Spanish-inspired water fountain creates a soothing ambiance in this relaxing courtyard.
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Outdoor Oasis

When is a bench more than a bench? When it is the foundation for an outdoor room. By simply grouping these painted benches around a fire pit, a restful or social outdoor vignette is created. Think about ornamenting your bench with pillows so guests (or you) will want to stay awhile. If the benches are unsheltered, consider either durable outdoor fabrics or close-by storage to store your pillows when they're not in use.
From: Jane Ellison

Keeping It Simple

Why complicate things? This gorgeous minimal bench and accompanying planter bring a zen approach to your garden benchscape.
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Dream Bench

More a bench to strive for than plan for your own home, these long, wood-capped benches slope gracefully into the garden, one of the many ways the landscape design in the New Orleans Botanical Garden fits in harmoniously with the plantings. Integrating your garden bench into the landscape is a critical takeaway here.

Think Pink (and Melon and Mint)

A bench supersized into a sofa, this outdoor seating offers room for plenty of friends and their cocktails with well-placed tables. Though this bench is located close to the home, a long, cushioned bench tucked into a garden nook could be the perfect place for a nap or an amazing craft center for you or your kids on a lazy summer day. The array of colors in these throw pillows really takes this bench to the next level design-wise.
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