21 garden seating ideas, from benches to hanging chairs

Take a pew – we’ve got every garden seating idea under the sun for you to maximise relaxation in your outside space.

One of the best ways to properly enjoy your garden is by simply sitting in it. Whether you have a wildflower meadow, decking or artificial grass, comfortable seating completes any garden design. 

There are so many different garden seating ideas to choose from, so it’s tough to settle on a design that’s right for your space. Especially if you have a small garden, or perhaps an exceptionally large plot to fill. 

corner sofa garden seating with central table and drinksCredit: Danetti

We have lots of garden seating ideas and designs to help you decide how you want to use your garden – whether that’s lounging in the sun with a book, or dining with friends beside your outdoor kitchen. 

Plus, we have expert tips from garden designers on taking care of your new furniture to make sure it lasts for as long as possible. 

1. Hang out in an egg chair

No tree? No worries

roof terrace with hanging egg chair and bench around a tableCredit: B&Q

Egg chairs have been a big trend in recent years, with Aldi’s affordable versions selling out several summers in a row.  

It’s easy to see why hanging egg chairs are so popular. All your weight is held off the ground and you can swing gently in the breeze. The rattan design pictured from B&Q is big enough to curl up in and relax. 

This garden seating idea is also useful because it is self-supported, so doesn’t need a tree. It’s ideal for roof terraces and balconies, as well as larger gardens. You can mix up seating types too if you’re feeling social, by matching the chair with benches as seen above. But you also can easily seek egg-based solace by snuggling up with a book and a cuppa in the hanging chair if you want to spend time alone. 

Buy the GoodHome Apolima Rattan effect hanging egg chair for £280
Buy the GoodHome Apolima rattan effect bench from B&Q

2. Dine more comfortably

Party on the patio

lONG DINING TABLE IN GARDEN FULL OF FOOD AND SURROUNDED BY WICKER CHAIRSCredit: Oxenwood

A long banquet-style table wouldn’t be complete without chairs. But why settle for uncomfortable, traditional dining chairs that might not have much support and only a thin cushion to sit on? These chairs from Oxenwood will support you completely by enveloping you.  

Being able to use armrests, change seating position and or add more cushions means your patio party can continue all day and long into the night. These chairs can also be used indoors , in a conservatory perhaps, and are lightweight enough to be moved around the garden.. 

“Having versatile furniture that can adapt to your changing needs throughout the seasons helps to maximise the amount of time you spend in the garden,” says Charlie Alexander, founder of Oxenwood.  

“Having different ‘rooms’ throughout your garden can help to create a sense of purpose and flow. It can also help make your outdoor space feel larger and more spacious.” 

How to choose your garden seating, according to Karen McClure Garden Design

The team at Karen McClure Garden Design shares its expert insight with Saga Exceptional on planning your garden seating. 

Their first tip? Place seating as a destination point or on a sight line from a window to entice you to use the garden.

Check the seating is in proportion with the space before purchasing.

Make sure that cushions and covers are waterproof to avoid having to store them elsewhere.

Use the RAL colour [which you can find that on the online RAL colour matching system], or the textures/finishes that match other elements in the garden/interiors for further harmony.

It discolours quickly in the sun.

If you want a little ‘pause point’ where you can admire a view, or a quiet place for contemplation, you might consider a bench. But for an entertaining or relaxing area where you are likely to spend more time, look for more comfortable, deep seating with cushions.

Will it need storing at the end of the season?

3. Save space with furniture that slots together

For more modest plots

Top view of garden decking with four seats that slot in together around a tableCredit: Maze Living

Furniture that neatly slots together is a great idea for smaller gardens where saving space is a priority. It’s even better if the seats don’t sacrifice their style over this function. These chairs from Maze Living tuck in rather satisfyingly around central table.  

The table itself can be raised and lowered, with a circular cushion available to top it when the chairs are pushed in. It’s not just forming a neat cube. This sweet little suite doubles up as a daybed.  

But if you’re sitting around the table with family and friends, simply push the chairs in together at end of the evening, and protect with a single cover, to avoid water damage.  

Buy the Outdoor Fabric Snug with Rising Table from Maze Living

4. Gather under a parasol

Don’t forget shade in a sunny spot

Garden seating idea with outdoor dining table next to kitchen with parasol and bar chairsCredit: Karen McClure Garden Design

In an exposed, sunny spot, shade is essential. Parasols are a great addition for any garden that doesn’t benefit from natural shade during the day. This can, of course, protect you from sun or rain throughout the year.  

Pair a large, covered round table with dining chairs alongside raised bar seating, as seen in this arrangement by Karen McClure Garden Design. This gives your guests the option of dining formally, or snacking next to the barbecue while they watch the chef prepare dinner. 

5. Double up seating and storage

Keep your garden tidy

garden bench with storage box built into the seatCredit: Wickes

One multipurpose garden seating idea is a bench that incorporates a generous amount of storage space within the frame. 

This bench from Wickes is made from waterproof resin and doubles up as useful storage for keeping your garden neat and tidy. Stow away any additional garden cushions under the seat itself when it’s raining. 

If you’re planning on storing any items of value in this type of bench, then it’s worth checking out designs that include a lock.

The Keter Eden Garden Storage Bench is available at Wickes

6. Choose sustainable materials

Rattan is kind to the planet

Rattan garden seating on garden lawn around a tab;eCredit: Sazy

Echo the natural elements of your garden with rattan furniture, like this set from Sazy.

GardeningExpress said sustainable materials would be one of 2023’s top gardening trends. The company named rattan as a popular environmentally-friendly materials. 

Unlike many synthetic outdoor garden seating designs, natural rattan can completely biodegrade without harming the environment. It also compares favourably to hardwood seating when it comes to sustainability, albeit it’s not as hardwearing Hardwood trees can take from 40 to 150 years to grow to maturity, making them tricky to replenish.

Rattan can be grown and harvested incredibly quickly (within two years). Another fast-growing, sustainable material for your garden seating idea is bamboo, which can reach maturity in three to five years.  

Always choose certified hardwood

If you do opt for hardwood, make sure it is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. This ensures that the wood comes from a forest that is harvested sustainably, with no net loss of trees over time. It also ensures that plant and animal species are protected, and that forest workers are paid fairly and given proper training.

7. Wrap around a tree

Rest in leafy shade

Iron seat wrapped around a tree trunk in a fieldCredit: May & Watts Garden Design

Take advantage of natural shade with a bench that wraps around a tree abundant with leaves. This great garden seating idea from May & Watts Garden Design works with and incorporates the space’s natural features. Plus, you don’t have to buy an additional parasol to escape the sun. 

You can often pick up this style of wrought iron bench second-hand from reclamation yards or antique fairs, making it a sustainable choice. Though consider also picking up some cushions, as this seating is often not the softest surface to sit on for long periods. 

8. Snuggle up on a sofa

Soft seating can live outside, too

wooden sofa in the garden topped with grey and white cushionsCredit: Oxenwood

A solid sofa with removable, washable cushions is a great year-round garden seating idea. Sofas help create a space people can relax in and prompts them to treat the garden as an extension of a living room by mirroring interior furniture. 

“A comfortable sofa will encourage guests to spend hours enjoying the sun throughout the day,” says Charlie Alexander, founder of Oxenwood. “Then, come dusk, they can cuddle up under a blanket.  

“Using a combination of sofas and chairs means you can adjust seating arrangements to suit any occasion and create varied options for guests.” 

This sofa’s cushion covers are waterproof and UV resistant – an essential design feature for soft outdoor seating.  

Visit Oxenwood for more info on its Falco range

Caring for your garden seating 

Mark Watts of May & Watts Garden Design says it is ideal if your wooden garden seating can be put in an outbuilding for winter storage. 

“Otherwise, a winter cover keeps the worst of the weather off,” he adds. “Give it a mild soapy wash with a soft brush in late autumn and early spring. Then follow up with a coating of proprietary oils recommended by the manufacturer and don’t forget to take cushions indoors during the winter months.” 

Check out furniture covers at Robert Dyas

9. Integrate benches into borders

Nestle into the edges

table and chairs in walled garden that is lined with planters and benches built into the boundaryCredit: Karen McClure Garden Design

Not sure what to do with a courtyard garden? Make the most of the walls by planting around the boundary. Then, like this garden seating idea from Karen McClure Garden Design, integrate benches between the planters. 

This is the perfect opportunity to surround yourself in scent, becoming completely immersed in the planting design. This can help you relax into the natural surroundings in an instant – useful if you live in a built-up area. Plant lavender and herbs to heighten the sensory garden appeal. 

10. Buy upcycled or vintage

Less waste to landfill

blue metal upcycled garden seating idea with food set on the tableCredit: Scaramanga

You don’t always have to buy something new. Give old furniture a new lease of life. This garden seating idea from Scaramanga has been gently restored by experts using traditional tools and techniques.  

If you’re trying to live more sustainably, then give this type of seating a second chance at creating memories.  

If you’re buying reclaimed or antique furniture from a boot fair or charity shop, check that it doesn’t feature any dangerous materials like lead paint. Also, make sure any restoration has taken care of exposed rusty nails, splinters or sharp edges. It may look chic, but seating needs to be safe for the people using it. 

11. Mirror your backdrop

Reflect your masonry or fence colour

garden seating idea with black fence and wooden chairs and table with black metal legsCredit: JYSK

A cohesive garden design communicates colours and textures around the space. Your garden seating design doesn’t have to be left out of this conversation.  

Draw on materials and colours used on surrounding buildings or boundaries and match them in the seating palette and materials. The black metal legs of this table and accompanying chairs from JYSK link to the black pergola and surrounding fences and walls. It’s a subtle design cue but works effectively.  

12. Choose an L-shaped sofa

Cosy up in a corner

corner sofa in garden with chair and tableCredit: Danetti

Gathering people on a sofa feels a bit more intimate when it’s in a corner, doesn’t it? L-shaped garden seating is a great use of space, comfortably fitting lots of people into a compact area. This design from Danetti has transformed an empty garden corner into a sociable space with the inclusion of a table. 

This model even has an inbuilt side table so everyone can easily access drinks, snacks and books. Pair your L-shaped sofa with freestanding chairs to add variety to the space. 

13. Make your seating modular

Have a flexible setup

Bamboo modular sofas and chairs in a walled garden around a treeCredit: Idyll Home

Modular sofas allow you to amend your seating plan depending on how you’re using your garden.  

Want to have elongated seating that frames a central space for standing (or dancing)? Then you can easily rearrange the chairs into a daybed for relaxing in the sun. This modular garden seating idea from Idyll Home is also made from bamboo, a sustainable furniture material. 

This seating will also be easier to stack and store over winter months if you don’t plan on using it or are going away for any length of time. 

14. Squeeze in a bistro set

Minimal fuss and easy to store

small metal foldable table and chairs in a walled garden on gravelCredit: Garden Trading

This small garden seating solution can instantly transform your outside area. Chic bistro-style chairs (and an accompanying table) are ideal if you’re setting up a spot to enjoy the morning sun and a coffee on your patio, balcony or even in a front garden. 

Or perhaps you have an emergency seating situation and immediately need to create more places for people to sit during a party. This slimline bistro seating idea from Garden Trading can be scattered around a larger garden, then neatly folded away and stored when not in use.  

If you have a small space, this garden seating idea can tuck into a compact shed during the winter months. Being lightweight, bistro seating is easy to move around and chase sunny spots in your garden.  

Buy the Rive Droite bistro set from Garden Trading

Repurpose old furniture 

If you’re replacing your existing garden seating, don’t just throw it away. There are all kinds of ways to repurpose these materials at home. 

May & Watts Garden Design tells us they once reused an old metal frame bench as a climber frame for honeysuckle to creep around as part of a woodland stumpery renovation project. This is a great option for people with large country gardens or lots of space. 

Wooden furniture could be broken down to make small planters, or line borders with wood. Just make sure there are no dangerous chemical treatments on the wood if you’re planting anything you plan to eat.  

If you don’t have the space to give old seating a new lease of life at home, there are apps for giving things away in your local area. Check out Olio, Freegle, Freecycle and Trash Nothing, for example. 

15. Embrace curvy seating

Match with soft planting lines

curved stone bench in a garden with lillies planted either sideCredit: May & Watts Garden Design

Sometimes a simple bench can still provide all the moments of calm you need. This curved stone bench was lovingly brought to a new house when the owner downsized. It was made a focal point of a much smaller garden designed by May & Watts Garden Design. 

We love how the edge of the lawn subtly mirrors the curvature of the bench. With that and the arum lilies framing the bench, this garden seating idea remains understated, but still invites you to sit down and share a mindful moment with your surroundings.  

16. Place seating under a pergola

Then plant climbers

wooden garden seating idea underneath a wood pergolaCredit: Toolstation

Create a semi-covered outdoor dining space by adding a pergola, like this idea from Toolstation, over your garden seating. 

It can transform a standard dining table and chairs into an elevated area for entertaining and relaxing. Create more shade and add texture by planting climbers that can weave their way around the wooden frame.  

If you’re keen to increase the amount of time you spend in your garden, building a dining ‘room’ like this will no doubt tempt you to eat more meals al fresco. Dressing the space with twinkly fairy lights and potted plants will make it even more inviting.  

17. Soak up the sun on a lounger

Laze about on a traditional recliner

Wooden sun lounger with grey cushion in a garden next to a table with a drink on itCredit: VonHaus

Make hay when the sun shines and recline in a traditional sun lounger, like this one from VonHaus. Immediately evoking that summery feeling of being on holiday, sun loungers are also easy to fold up and store away when not in use. They can also be rearranged to face the sunlight at any given moment.  

The easily detachable cushion means it’s easy to keep clean and you can set the recline up into whatever configuration works best. You can sit up to eat, drink and read, then lay back and soak up the rays in an instant.  

This sun lounger is available for £139.99 from VonHaus

18. Frame your seating with plants

Surround your sofas

Large corner garden sofa with raised bed and lavender planted behind it and to the sideCredit: Karen McClure Garden Design

Do you have a large space in your garden, but don’t know how best to introduce a seating arrangement there? You could construct a whole new social area by building raised beds (read our pick of the best plants for a raised bed).  

This garden seating idea from Karen McClure Garden Design frames an extensive sofa setup with large, raised plant beds. Not only does this design heighten that cosy, intimate feeling, it’s also a great way to include colour and flowers to your garden, especially if you have a patio or decking. It’s a good seating solution for a large garden. 

19. Match your planting palette

A lick of paint

white garden bench next to white flowering shrubCredit: May & Watts Garden Design

Perhaps you already have a garden bench, but don’t know how to give it a new lease of life? Hopefully this restoration idea from May & Watts Garden Design will inspire you.  

A new focal point was created in a garden by painting this bench bright white. Importantly, the colour matches the flower palette of the plants growing next to the seat. This cohesion works in the same way as when you draw influence from manmade features of your garden, mirroring colours and textures in the seating choices. 

It doesn’t matter what comes first – the paint or the plants. But if they share colours, patterns or textures, then it’ll be a garden seating match dreams are made of.  

20. Lounge about on a daybed

Seating made for daydreaming

black rattan day bed with grey cushions in a garden with two drinks placed on the endCredit: Danetti

On their own, these garden seats from Danetti look like a pair of al fresco chaise longues, but pushed together they become a large daybed. 

This garden seating idea will work for people who want to while away the hours reclined in their garden with icy drinks within easy reach. If needed, they could be pushed against a wall separately, and plumped with additional cushions for back support. Et voilà – you have two makeshift garden sofas ready to receive visitors.  

Buy the Shilo black rattan daybed sun lounger from Danetti

21. Snooze in a hammock

Lightweight seating that’s easy to store

Garden with lots of flowers and plants growing and a hammock strung between two posts in the centreCredit: The Garden Co.

Is there anything more relaxing than letting yourself melt into a hammock? You don’t necessarily need to have two trees or other large existing structures to hang one, either. 

As shown here, this garden – designed by James Scott FSGD and built by The Garden Co. – is home to a restful hammock completely surrounded by a bountiful planting scheme. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the garden (or not be found), this is the perfect spot to go unnoticed.  

Try before you buy 

“Before siting a garden seat (under a tree or anywhere else in the space), it is a good idea to place a chair there and spend some time making sure that you enjoy the location,” suggests Scott. “This includes considering viewpoints and getting a sense of shelter.” 

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her

Published:

Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller, i-escape.com, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

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