Garden benches are prized as places to relax, focal points, and landscape design unifiers. Let me champion their conservation potential too.
Witness data for our 4 benches. Consumption is zero for the 700 square feet of hardscape or mulch in front and under them. By contrast, that space done as usual in grass consumes 4,500 gallons/month. That’s not pocket change. And if a bench prompts no-water material beyond its immediate footprint to, for instance, anchor a terrace, savings soar.
While locale and needs will guide design choices, our whimsical stone examples show what’s possible:
#1. Sculptural 2-stone
We topped a large stone with a stone slab and anchored it with a graceful gravel arc inset with a single flagstone. Ta da –instant seating in shade plus utility protrusions masked.
#2. Purchased basalt at sacred circle
Our property slopes down to a nature trail. Rather than add plants to a bare area near there, Pat Brodie suggested concentric circles of light stones and small dark Mexican pebbles. Adding a basalt bench from Porch satisfied my urge to sit when I came up the hill from a hike.
#3. Hillside custom stone creation
A 22’ long bench built at an upper hillside provides seating for the best ocean view and acts as a small retaining wall. Cherokee Creek forms its back and base, 3 flagstones its seat. First sited alongside lawn, a flagstone terrace done in our 2014 grass removal #1 abuts it now.
#4. Funky focal point
The sight of haphazard rectilinear stones on a stone yard pallet conjured up a sofa. In 2 hours we built a comfortable chaise with these giant Lego bricks. An angled stone is a sloped back, a short stone an armrest, and a leftover one a footrest. Initially on lawn, its bed became a circle of dark pebbles within gravel in our 2015 grass removal #3.
So many aspects of conservation involve sacrifice, whether inside the house or out. Imaginative use of a garden bench is one of the few cases where it’s all for the better.