Summer's here at last, after a rather rainy spring, and it's lovely to be back outside in our outdoor rooms once more. The advantage of the recent wet weather is that our gardens are looking lovely, all lush and verdant. To be able to really sit back and admire it, you naturally need a seat.
Whether it's a patio-based bench for that evening gin and tonic, or a romantic, hidden little seat in a shady nook somewhere, beautiful antique or vintage seating is a garden essential.
A bench can work better than separate chairs - it becomes a feature as well as a practical item, and there are some really individual pieces out there.
We've collected some gorgeous garden seating recently, and there's something to suit every sort of outdoor space. Here is a selection of our current favourites.
The perfect patio seat
Any patio or courtyard garden without a seat is a rather soulless place. These areas are crying out to be either sociable spaces or a place to relax, and a vintage garden bench is an attractive and welcoming feature.
We love this 20th-century version of an original Coalbrookdale design from the 1850s. The flowing fern and blackberry design, so typical of a British hedgerow, makes it perfect for a country garden. Of course, the original was made from cast iron in the famous Coalbrookdale Foundry: this faithful copy is made from cast aluminium, making it much easier to move around your patio!
The bijou balcony vintage seat
Don’t dismiss the notion of seating just because your space is limited. If you're looking for a bench for a small area, how about a folding seat set?
We were delighted when we spotted this set in the South of France, and in typically French fashion, it's incredibly practical as well as stylish. It's unusual to find a folding up two-seater, so this would be an excellent solution if you want a vintage bench but don't have much space. Get it out when you need it, tuck it away when you don't. Perfect.
A secret seat
Part of the joy of exploring a new garden or park is stumbling across unexpected and half-hidden places. You can recreate this simply by adding appealing little touches to be discovered, and a secret seating area is a lovely idea.
A garden is naturally a romantic place, and we couldn't find a more appropriate seat for two than this delicate French wrought iron and metal bench. If you have a secret corner somewhere in the garden, this vintage 1950s bench with its elegant, heart-shaped scrolling decoration would be perfect.
The reader's rest
The reason many of us will happily work away in our gardens is the hope of ending up with a lovely space in which to do very little! Curling up on a bench on a sunny day, with a book, a cat or dog, and a cup of tea is surely every gardener's ultimate dream.
This lovely little vintage bench is called "the property of a lady", and it is indeed a rather feminine design. However it would be churlish not to let a gentleman enjoy his book or paper on the seat, and anyone would enjoy taking a break on this bench. Like the reproduction Coalbrookdale bench, it's made from cast aluminium alloy, so you don't have to commit to keeping it in one permanent spot but can move it to whichever spot of your garden you wish to admire.
These are a few of the antique garden benches we've discovered recently. We're always looking out for vintage seating, as it's understandably very popular.
To find out more about our garden benches, please contact us at Violet Grey. We'd love to help you put your feet up and enjoy your garden!