Outdoor Seating Ideas

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The best way to enjoy the efforts you put into your outdoor spaces is to spend lots of time there. The most comfortable way to enjoy that time is by incorporating plenty of seating where you can relax and take it all in. There are many options for outdoor furnishings and what you choose will have a lot to do with space, budget and your personal aesthetic.
Tip: Selecting lightweight seating that is easy to move allows you to easily relocate from sun to shade or move to different parts of the landscape to enjoy flowers that bloom at different points of the season. Lighter weight pieces also make rearranging a porch or patio easier, as well as moving furniture off the lawn before mowing.

Traditional Outdoor Seating

composite image of cement and wrought iron benches and and Adirondack chairs

Great design never goes out of style and the same is true of outdoor furniture. There are styles of outdoor seating that have proven so practical over time that they’ve become true garden classics. Many are bench styles made of metal, wrought iron, cement, or wood. The iconic Adirondack chair is an example of a design that originated in the year 1903 and remains a popular favorite for lawn and beach seating.
These days there are modern variations on classic garden furniture styles. These are often made with synthetic materials that give you a traditional look, but with a greater ability to stand up to the weather and long-term use.


  • Sturdy.
  • Classic design.
  • Durable.
  • Good choice for a permanent location.


  • Can be expensive.
  • Heavy weight makes moving inconvenient.
  • Wood can require occasional painting or staining.
  • Plastic can fade, discolor and its light weight can result in pieces blowing over in strong winds.

Sustainable Outdoor Seating

composite image of outdoor seating made from straw bales, logs, wood and rock

There are a lot of options that come from natural, renewable sources. These might include logs, rocks, straw bales, wicker, and upcycled items such as pallets, old wooden furniture, and wooden cable spools.


  • Produced from renewable resources.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Good for the environment.
  • May be composted later.


  • Limited lifespan.
  • Can start to break down and become messy.
  • May need time and materials to refurbish.
  • May not be as comfortable as constructed furniture.

Creative Outdoor Seating

Combine comfort and creativity. Turn your imagination loose – bean bag chairs, large cushions, repurposed furniture. Often a can of paint, fresh coat of stain, or a few colorful cushions is all it takes to take an old item from drab to “fab”.


  • A great way to introduce vibrant colors, fabrics, and unique pieces.
  • Often lightweight – easy to move.
  • Inexpensive.


  • Repurposing old furniture can take time and materials.
  • Some items may not weather well and should be covered or stored when not in use.
  • Style is best suited to creating a casual or “eclectic” feel.

Dress Up Your Outdoor Seating

Any piece of outdoor seating can be made more comfortable – and stylish – with a few pillows or a blanket. Textiles are perfect for adding a splash of color or a specific color scheme. Blankets can be used to take the chill off on a cool evening, tossed on the ground for picnic-style comfort, or folded and used as a cushion for a chair, rock, or even a pallet.
Once you’re “sitting pretty” and ready to soak up the sights and sounds of nature, don’t forget to complete the experience with the smells of nature too. Fill the air with fragrance with these plants that have scented flowers or leaves. Grow them in the garden or plant in containers so you can move them anywhere you want to best enjoy their scents.

wood and wrought iron garden bench surrounded by colorful blooming shrubs


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