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Ten Opportunities for Outdoor Seating in Your Landscaping

Feb 1, 2021 | Gardens

Our houses are much more than just the indoor spaces of the kitchen, bedroom, or living room. We invest in our yards and our landscaping because it is a part of what makes our houses into homes. Beautiful and inviting outdoor landscaping helps us use our homes to relax, to entertain, and to escape from the humdrum of everyday living. However, our outdoor landscaping spaces are only as good as the spaces we create to sit back and enjoy them. 

There are many options you can consider when starting to envision, or re-envision, your outdoor seating options. Here we have outlined ten opportunities for seating options that will add utility and design to your landscaping, as well as design tips to help pull it all together. 

1. Outdoor Dining Set

If you want to use your outdoor space as an extension of your house, setting up an outdoor dining area is a clear choice. To recreate the kitchen table in your backyard, center a large table big enough for four or more chairs on a patio or level surface. Add a washable and weather-resistant table cloth if you are looking to add a punch of color or pizzazz. An umbrella or tree can help to keep this space comfortable even in the heat of the day.

2. Outdoor Living Room 

Another way to extend your indoor living space outside is to recreate a living room among your landscaping. With a couch, comfortable chairs, and ottomans, your outdoor space can be just as comfortable as your family room. Coffee tables and side tables add surface space for food and books, not to mention accent pieces. Because this seating option involves many pillows and cushions, you must consider materials before investing. Ensure your seating is long-lasting with durable and weather-resistant covers. You can also search for furniture with built-in storage to store cushions when not in season or use. 

3. Set Up under a Pergola

Setting up a seating area under a pergola is an excellent option if you are looking for a broader or more dependable shade area than an umbrella or tree can offer. Vines or covers on top of your pergola will create the right amount of shade when you need it. In addition to shade, pergolas can also offer a great anchor to an outdoor dining space, especially in a larger yard with many distinct areas. This effect of shade-cover and space-anchor can also be achieved with a shade sail or retractable awning. 

4. Around a Fire Pit

A fire pit also offers a nice anchor and center to an outdoor seating area. A fire pit offers never-ending fun, not to mention warmth, for guests or your enjoyment, even as the light of the day fades. Fire pits make an outdoor space usable any time of the year. Fire pits come in many designs, from tabletop with fire pit centers to metal bowls with cut-outs to brick rings. Choose one that works with landscaping style, whether that is rustic, zen, or modern. 

5. Sit in Your Garden

Adding a seating area in the middle of your garden is a lovely way to create an outdoor space for contemplation. It also allows you to enjoy your hard-earned garden outside of your gardening tasks. Adirondack chairs are an increasingly popular option for landscape seating, and a great chair for garden seating. They come in many different materials and colors to match your landscape design. They are also durable and comfortable for many body types. 

6. A Reading Nook

A reading nook is another great option for contemplative seating. Place one or two chairs in a semi-enclosed space to create coziness in a small yard or a big one. Create seclusion by placing chairs under a tree, behind a hedge, or using a trellis with vines. 

7. Relax by the Pool

By the pool! If you are fortunate enough to have a pool as part of your yard space your seating should accentuate it! Lounge chairs offer relaxation and comfort right where you need it. Umbrellas and side tables tie the whole space together. 

8. An Outdoor Cafe

Recreate vacation by emulating your dream trip- an Italian veranda with cafe seating and vine-laced trellis, or a beach getaway with lounge chairs and glass accents. 

9. Benches Everywhere

Consider benches to increase seating opportunities. They can be easily tucked against a fence-line and pulled out when the party arrives. Since benches are often made out of durable materials like wood, metal, or resin, they can also be hard to sit on after a while. Add pillows and cushions to soften the seat and the look.  

10. Get in the Swing of Things

If you have mature trees in your yard, string a hammock between two to create a relaxing hangout in the shade. This seating – or laying – option is great for a reading nook or a relaxing nap spot.

Whatever outdoor seating look you choose, there are many ways to snazz up your outdoor seating spaces so they look welcoming, comfortable, and cohesive. 

  • Add throws, colorful pillows, and candles. 
  • Create a sense of privacy and seclusion by placing seating behind hedge plants, trees, or arbors. 
  • Seating under trees or pergolas also helps to anchor outdoor seating whether your backyard is small or large. 
  • Living centerpieces liven up an empty table. Use low-maintenance plants such as herbs or succulents as centerpieces so you can set them and forget them.
  • If your fence is looking empty, consider planting trailing vines to begin to cover that blank space, or add hanging details such as lanterns or lights. 
  • Speaking of lights, lighting is a must around any outdoor seating set-up to keep the space useful and cozy long past the sunset glow. String lights, lanterns, or solar-powered lamp posts are all good options when considering how you will light your space. 

A beautiful, inviting outdoor space will bring you joy and tranquility for years to come. 

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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