30 garden seating ideas to suit every outdoor space

Make your garden work for your needs by finding the best seating solution, whatever size or style your plot

'Tis the season to set up and enjoy your outdoor space as the days get longer and warmer. Finding the right garden seating ideas for your area will make all the difference in terms of stye, comfort and practicality.

Whether you're looking to provide seating for outdoor kitchen ideas, relaxed entertaining zones or quiet nooks to relax, there are options to make sure you get what you need. There's a plethora of styles to explore, from traditional benches and dining sets, to corner sofas, egg chairs and in-built solutions.

When choosing seating for your garden, terrace or balcony, it's key to first asses your needs. What zone is the seating for, how many people would you like to accommodate, and what mood would you like to achieve. For example, a bistro set, however sweet, won't allow you to cater for large numbers. While a couple of large, plush sofas take up too much space if you're trying to create a space simply for yourself.

Garden seating ideas

Sit back, relax, and explore these garden seating ideas that will make the most of your space.

1. Integrate seating with raised beds

garden area with wooden bench and firepit

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd-Davies)

Save space while simultaneously creating good looking garden ideas. Make your raised beds work harder by building on benches, providing you with seats without using up much extra square footage.

You can take things a step further by working in waterproofed storage underneath the seating, perfect for tidying away cushions and blankets.

Make sure to plant sweet smelling flowers or herbs in the beds so you have an atmospheric aroma, or on-the-go drink garnishes.

2. Create a cohesive scheme

garden area with bench table and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd-Davies)

Stylish schemes aren't just for interiors, so make sure your garden has a theme, too. Learn how to choose outdoor furniture to work out what you need and where. Then link together different seating types or areas by limiting to a restrained colour palette and using the same materials throughout.

For added impact you could even plant using these same colourways.

3. Take it low

garden with wooden bench and brick walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

Not every space needs, or responds well to, a dramatic seating moment. Low stone walls and garden borders are perfect for adding a simple wooden bench. This type of design works well with narrow or small garden ideas, but can also offer additional seating zones in larger spaces.

4. Create a flexible space

garden with wooden dining set

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

When choosing your garden seating ideas it can feel like a toss up between fitting everything in and still leaving room outdoors. If you have a shed or garage for storage, you can get more flexible with your plans. An in-built bench works wonders year round. Then, when you're ready to host summer soirees, add in a table and outdoor dining chairs. You'll get everything you want, whenever you need it.

5. Mix and match

balcony with bench cushions and flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC)

For a fun and eclectic vibe, enjoy mixing and matching different colours and materials. Metal chairs, wooden benches, raffia pouffes can all sit together to create a relaxed space. Ensure they don't seem too disparate from one another by linking with similar soft furnishings, like cushions and throws.

If you're a little nervous about this style of garden seating ideas, perhaps simply mix colour or material to dip your toe in the trend.

6. Create a border with your seating

garden with wooden bench

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Double up your outdoor seating with garden edging ideas. This will visually separate different zones in the garden, while also providing a place to rest. Choose or build a bench to match the shape of your borders to make this addition feel organic.

7. Choose informal dining furniture

garden with dining furniture and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Next)

Let your furniture choices dictate how you use the garden, by choosing a more informal and laid-back dining table with a corner sofa sets the scene for casual dining. A comfy corner sofa at the dining tables helps to make the area feel more inviting at alternative times of the day – not such while you're serving lunch or dinner.

8. Make multipurpose seating work for your outdoor space

garden area with armchair and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

If you have a small garden or are looking for budget garden ideas, opt for multipurpose seating solution such as pouffes and floor cushions. They can be used as extra seating when required but remain useful as alternative accessories - a footstool is the perfect accompaniment to a garden armchair, to pop feet up and enjoy a snooze in the sunshine.

9. Swing in style with a fashionable egg chair

garden with swing chair and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Hanging chairs are the dream for achieving a feeling of complete relaxation. When you take a seat in a suspended chair you are quite literally taking the weight off, creating a sense of floating – and when you close your eyes that sense can be heightened. In a garden this calming feeling is enhanced by the sounds and sights of being surrounded by nature.

A smart idea, as seen here, is to concealed the frame within a planted border to add to visual effect of the chair freely floating in the space. Great for small gardens, as the free flowing space beneath the chair helps to make it feel less imposing.

10. Build a brick banquette

balcony garden with brick wall green plants and wooden table with chairs

(Image credit: Robert Sanderson)

One good way to incorporate seating into grassless garden ideas without it taking up a lot of space is to make it part of a retaining fence or wall. If it's a fence, you could build a simple bench in a matching wood stain. And if it's brick, you can build a more substantial banquette, topped with stone slabs and cushions for comfort.

11. Build seating around a fire pit

garden with wooden bench and firepit

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Build a seating area around a fire pit, and you'll be able to lounge around for longer on summer nights. Build a central fire pit a safe distance from where you wish to place your seating, whether that be a built-in pallet corner sofa (like the one above) or existing outdoor furniture which can be placed against the wall.

12. Share the same principles of indoor furniture layouts

seating area in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alasdair McIntosh)

The easiest way to make your patio space feel like an outdoor living room is to mirror the layout of an indoor living room. Choose a central point of focus, using the fire pit instead of a fireplace, to place a sofa and a matching armchair opposite each other.

Keep things simple with a set of sleek grey garden furniture. However, grey doesn't have to mean boring. Add a pop of colour with accent cushions in neon yellow and navy blue, pair with a woven orange blanket for those chilly evenings.

13. Use a quite corner to carve out a reading nook

corner seating area in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

An arbour placed in the corner of a garden creates the perfect place to escape and loose yourself in a good book. Choose a design where you can encourage climbing plants to grow around the frame, to enhance the feeling of being immersed within the garden. Paint the structure an on-trend dark shade to make the surrounding greenery really standout.

14. Make the most of every available space

garden with wooden bench and lantern

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Make the most out of every alcove in your garden by building in a bench between two flower beds. Surround the little bench with gorgeous scented plants to make this the perfect place to hide away with a good book, stimulated by nature.

A few lanterns won't go amiss, either, allowing you to enjoy the space as dusk settles.

15. Cleverly use courtyard corners

garden with seating area and brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Use every inch of outdoor space to its  full potential with clever seating ideas. A courtyard area has the potential to feel quite enclosed, simply by the nature of surrounding brick walls.

Using clever corner seating will not only use the space most effectively, the high-back design will also hide a large portion of the imposing walls.

16. Furnish your decking

garden with wooden bench and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

We all love a garden deck, but unless there's some carefully placed garden furniture on it, the chances are we're not actually going to spend too much time on it. Cue a humble wooden garden bench, a few choice homeware accessories and the addition of some day-to-night lighting. And voilà, you've got a usable outdoor seating space that you can truly call your own.

17. Build your own pallet sofa

garden with brick wall wooden sofa and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

If you're always humming that DIY ditty 'If I Had a Hammer', this could be the way to go. It's surprisingly easy to learn how to build palette furniture and it also costs very little compared to off-the-shelf solutions. Plus, it can be configured to seat as many – or as few – as you and your space dictates.

DIY stores like Homebase and B&Q will sell everything you need to get going – including those all-important seat pads. Our top tips? Sand carefully to prevent splintering and always coat your finished seats in a protective stain so they'll look just as good next summer.

18. Relax in style on a modern lounger

garden with potted plants and relaxing chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Faded yellow plastic loungers? No thank you. Sophisticated dark wood teamed with dark grey upholstery and a hooked-up pillow that won't move out of position for an all-together classier and more comfortable recliner. Surround yourself with potted plants so you ca truly immerse yourself in the lush greenery of your garden... and relax!

19. Commandeer a corner with a quaint bench

wooden bench with coffee table in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

Thoughtfully use every corner of your garden, such an otherwise wasted space in a corner by popping in a bench and plenty of potted shrubs to add colour and foliage.

The combination of trailing plants and pretty blooms helps to create a secluded, tranquil corner. Adding a small coffee tables creates a welcome space to sit and take five minutes with a cup of tea, appreciating a view of garden beyond.

Dress the bench with cushions, to add a decorative touch as well as comfort.

20. Set up a breakfast nook with a bistro set

bistro table and chairs in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

We think it's a good idea to set up a few different seating areas around a larger garden, so you can enjoy different aspects of your space throughout the day. Take advantage of the sun first thing in the morning and pick a bright spot where you can place a bistro table and chairs. OJ and avocado on toast, coming right up.

21. Nail casual entertaining with a sofa set

sofa set with coffee table in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Capitalise on a corner with an L-shaped sofa where you and friends can take in the whole garden. Add a chiminea and blankets so that you can enjoy the space long into the evening without a chill spoiling your fun. This is the perfect type of seating to retreat to after enjoying garden bar ideas.

22. Make outdoor dining the focus

garden area with dining table and flowering plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

In a long, thin plot, accommodating a dining table can be tricky. But if you love to host with garden party ideas, there's an argument to make your table the focal point of the garden. Here, raised beds enclose the area for a cosier feel. It's a good idea to plant scented flowers nearby, alongside herbs that can be picked fresh to use as garnishes.

23. Set up a casual garden office

garden office with potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

You might not want to go the whole hog and use your office as a shed – we need somewhere to store her tools and lawnmower, after all. But you could set up a small table and chair on the patio for impromptu studying. Keep your back to a busy plot so you're not distracted by gardening jobs to do.

24. Fill the floor with cushions

garden cabin with macrame swing footstool and wooden table

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

You don't need lots of space or lots of money to incorporate more garden seating. Here, a shed has been commandeered as a bohemian sitting room, with cushions and stools scattered around so that there are multiple spots to settle down in and relax, in both the sun and the shade.

25. Use seating to add colour

garden with armchairs and coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Enjoy an evening drink a deux in armchairs that pop as brightly as your most colourful flowers. Clash if you can – either with a contrasting coffee table or cushions and throws – for more fun and drama.

26. Pop a bench in a narrow spot

garden with bench and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC /Lizzie Orme)

Go old school with a bench, especially handy in small outdoor spaces. You never know when you might need a quick five-minute break after a strenuous gardening session, so a bench offers a convenient spot where you can a breather.

Pop it in shade – under a tree or against an external wall – so that you can stay cool. The table next to this bench doubles as a drinks cooler, handy for keeping some thirst quenchers ready and waiting, too.

27. Squeeze more people in on benches

balcony area with wooden table and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC /David Giles)

A bistro set is an obvious choice for a small balcony or courtyard garden. However, as most come with only two seats, three instantly becomes a crowd. Switch in some benches, however, and suddenly you have room to host four or more. It's cosy, yes, but definitely more fun.

28. Install a sheltered seating area

garden with sheltered seating area and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Take advantage of a neglected part of your garden by installing a gazebo for gossiping with the girls (or boys), away from the main house – it will provide shelter from showers or bright sunlight, making it a useful garden shade idea too.

Teenagers might also appreciate a spot where they can chat with friends without Mum or Dad or younger siblings interrupting.

29. Paint to protect and repurpose

garden area with wooden table and chair

(Image credit: Protek)

If your budget is tight try this nifty upcycling idea. Repurpose a dining table and chair set to provide the perfect spot for dining alfresco, all it need is the right paint to protect it from the elements. Prepare the wood with a clean and primer (if required) before adding your chosen colour to give the set a new lease of life for a garden patio.

30. Set the scene for a snooze with a day bed

garden with bed cushions and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

Place a traditional day bed in a secluded spot of the garden for the ideal place outdoors to take an afternoon siesta. Line the iron bed frame with comfy cushions, showerproof fabrics would be ideal, to make it irresistible for spending an afternoon relaxing in the garden. Store it in shelter during prolonged rainy spells, to prevent the frame from rusting.

What is a garden seat?

A garden seat is technically a seat in your garden! However, there is much more available than simple folding wooden chair.

'If you are looking to entertain family and friends, you are likely to opt for more casual dining options over a traditional dining set,' suggests Tim Penell, Head of Sales & Marketing, Bramblecrest (opens in new tab). 'These offer the versatility of dual height tables (simple to switch from coffee to dining height) or consider a set with a firepit table and feel warm long after sunset.'

'If you are looking for outdoor furniture for summer pool parties, then why not serve cocktails from one of our bar sets or keep the beer chilled with an ice bucket coffee table?
Lounging is of course an essential part of summer living – furniture options include daybeds, loungers and recliner sets.'

How big should garden seating be?

'If you’re limited on space, don’t think that you’re limited for choice,' says Francesca Hadland, Product & Content Executive, Bridgman (opens in new tab). 'Look for smart, space-saving flexible furniture like stackable chairs, bar stools and even loungers that can be stacked on top of each other and stored away when not in use. Pair with a foldable table for a set you can effortlessly move to one side whenever you choose.'

'If you’ve got a larger space to work with, choose a beautiful dining set with enough seats to comfortably host your loved ones. Or, configure your perfect modular sofa arrangement to make the most of your patio or decking area.'

'For tricky spaces, think outside the box. For long, narrow gardens, consider placing your furniture diagonally to suit the space better. Or, embrace this year’s contemporary, curvaceous garden furniture favourite with a curved modular sofa set that fits into unusual spaces.'

Amy Cutmore
Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.