Self employed and self isolating since 2000. Socially distant since 1962…
But I do like to get together with friends in the garden. I have a couple spots where people tend to gather. And they tend to gather where the chairs are. And around tables. I am suspicious of gardens that don’t have sitting areas. Where do you set a cocktail down?
Now that we can’t gather together, seems like a good time to hark back – or look forward to – the times that we could and can again.
How to attract a crowd
It takes more than a bench, chair, or table to draw people to spot. Defining the space to be comfortable comes first. Below you’ll see:
- Fire pits
- Movie screens
- Shady spots
- Accessible cold drinks
- Enclosure through outdoor “walls”
- Outdoor carpeting
- Side tables
- A change in floor surface (be it gravel, brick, wood, stone, or concrete)
- A change in floor elevation (a step or two up or down to help define the space)
There’s a couple spots in our garden where people gather. I built a 10′ long picnic table about 18 years ago because I always hated conventional attached-bench picnic tables and they were never long enough. I found some plans on the internet and adjusted them to 10′. We can easily fit ten for dinner, 12 if we get cozy. It has separate sturdy benches (in another few years I’ll be too weak to lift them!). It also sides up to a bar that has a built-in wine/beer ice bucket, and the grill. One side is an arbor with climbing vines of wisteria, porcelain berry, and clematis. The other side is the garage wall, masked in a diamond-shaped dwarf pear tree espalier. But it’s really the food, drink, and conversation that keeps the gathering going.
Are there any garden features I can find for you?
A reader asked, “Do you have any unique pictures I can use to try to make me a sitting area in the corner of my ordinary privacy fence in a very small town of Cambridge, OH? I have looked at lots of photos but they all seem the same.” I hope this post helps with this request.
Whatever it is, I may have it in my 70,000+ photos! Let me know – leave a comment. I have some ideas from readers already – how to complement a picket fence, a reading and painting corner, and community gardens, Here are other garden features I’ve assembled from my photo collection.
- Boxwoods in Front Yard Gardens
- Gardeners Make Great Swingers
- Bridging Gardens
- Gardeners Should be behind bars
- Have a Seat – Garden Benches
- Garden Curtain Calls
- Fabulous Fence Finds
- DIY Fountains
- Steps and Stairs in Gardens
- Backyard Pergola and Gazebo Ideas
- Little Garden Touches
- Heaven-sent Hellstrips
- Curio Walls in Gardens
Here’s a collection of photos of gathering spaces in gardens I’ve amassed over the years.