A Quiet Destination
No landscape should be without a bench sheltered under the canopy of a tree, tucked in the crook of a woodland walk, or set at the far end of the yard with a view back to the house, with all its hustle and bustle. After all, the point of landscaping your surroundings is to spend time outdoors enjoying the feel of the warm sun and cool breezes, the scent of cut grass and blooming flowers, the buzz of insects and the twittering of birds. Taking a seat and being still for a bit allows you to do that.

In choosing a bench, consider how near it will be to the house; the closer it is, the more it should reflect your home's style. An ornate metal bench might suit a brick house with wrought-iron railings, whereas a simple white-painted wood bench will look right outside a modest cottage. Farther away from the house, though, natural-looking materials blend best with the landscape: simple stone slabs that will grow mossy or encrusted with lichen over the years; water-resistant woods such as teak and cedar that will weather naturally; even a fallen trunk hollowed out for a seat. But whatever a bench is made of, the invitation it issues remains the same: Why not take it easy, and sit awhile?

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