A bench in the garden does not guarantee that a gardener will sit still for a moment, but it provides the opportunity as well as a welcome reminder to take a moment to reflect and enjoy the garden. There is nothing like a well placed bench when you’ve been toiling in the garden.
I’ve always loved a good bench, but lately I’ve become rather obsessed. I am always on the look out for benches in the other gardens, and find that there are usually never enough. I have six cedar benches that I bought over a decade ago, all naturally aged to a well worn patina: two are in the kitchen garden, one in front of the garden shed, another at the entrance to the garden and several are on the front porch.
I don’t want to sound judgmental, but I think you can tell a lot about the gardener by what type of bench they have chosen for their garden. If it is made of wood or stone, and is shrouded in fragrant blooms or vines there is a pretty good chance the gardener took time to seriously consider how important this bench would be to their personal comfort. If the bench simply sits in the middle of a grassy area, well, it’s really just a bench.
Like a good pair of shoes, take your time to find the right bench, and then buy a lot. They don’t have to match, but do some research and consider how the right bench can add style and instantly becomes an important design element in your garden. Here are some of my favorites from collecting photos over the years.
Captions: Top to bottom: Ilona Bell kitchen garden | Ellen Ogden kitchen garden: cedar bench with climbing hyacinth bean in background | Chanticleer Garden | Ilona Bell kitchen garden | Hollister House Garden | Hollister House Garden | Gordon Hayward Garden