Garden seating ideas for your outdoor living room

Get comfy with our ideas incorporating everything from sofas to sun loungers
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  • If you truly want to enjoy your outdoor space, good outdoor seating is essential. There are so many options these days, aside from the traditional garden bench or weatherproof dining set for four (though those both still work, too).

    Get your borders in orders with more of our garden ideas

    From designer egg chairs to Do It Yourself pallet sofas, you can create seating on any budget for any occasion. Whether that’s entertaining at your next summer barbecue or curling up with a Richard and Judy Book Club special and working on that tan…

    So sit back and enjoy our garden seating ideas!

    Garden seating ideas

    1. Build a brick banquette

    Country cottage-style patio garden with built-in L-Shaped seating and a pale wood table and chair set

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    One good way to incorporate seating into a garden 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.

    Pull up a table and extra chairs for a dining area that can seat the whole family and a few hangers-on!

    2. Build around a fire pit

    Garden seating ideas 1

    Image credit: Alasdair McIntosh

    Build a seating area around a fire pit, and you’ll be able to lounge around for longer on summer nights. 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.

    3. Carve out a reading nook

    Garden seating ideas 2

    Image credit: 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.

    4. Make the most of courtyard corners

    Garden seating ideas

    Image credit: 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.

    5. Furnish your decking

    garden seating ideas

    Image credit: 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.

    6. Build your own pallet sofa

    Garden seating ideas

    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    If you’re always humming that DIY ditty ‘If I Had a Hammer’, this could be the way to go. Pallet furniture is surprisingly easy to put together, costs very little compared to off-the-shelf solutions and 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.

    Here’s how: How to make pallet garden furniture – a step-by-step guide

    7. Relax in style on a modern lounger

    Garden seating ideas

    Image credit: 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!

    8. Commandeer a quite corner with a quaint bench

    Garden seating ideas

    Image credit: 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.

    9. Set up a breakfast nook with a bistro set


    Image credit: 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.

    10. Nail casual entertaining with a sofa set

    After 1 outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover
    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.

    11. Make outdoor dining the focus

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    In a long, thin plot, accommodating a dining table can be tricky. But if you love to host, 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.

    12. Set up a casual garden office

    bq garden sale

    Image credit: Brent Darby

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

    13. Fill the floor with cushions

    Image credit: 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.

    14. Use seating to add colour


    Image credit: 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.

    15. Pop a bench in a narrow spot


    Image credit: 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.

    Related: Best garden benches – wood, metal and cushioned designs with and without storage

    16. Squeeze more people in on benches

    small garden ideas

    Image credit: 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.

    17. Install a sheltered seating area

    Garden seating ideas

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Want a more substantial outbuilding? Garden shed ideas – projects and designs for your own special outdoor room

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

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