This is one of the first questions I ask my potential clients during the initial consultation. It's a really important question as some people like to sit in the sun, others like to read in a shady secluded nook. Some like to potter around the garden tending to plants and perching now and then for a rest and some only really spend time in the garden when entertaining.
Most of the time I find people like to have different options for their garden, perhaps a large open entertainment space to allow for additional guests and a bench in the shade for reading or morning coffee.
Here's some of the areas I've created in my designs to cater for my client's needs.
The dining and entertainment area in this compact E5 Courtyard Garden uses the existing raised bed to create a bespoke bench. This clever use of space really puts you within the planting with a fragrant Wisteria surrounding you.
In my N12 Dog Friendly Garden the large entertainment deck with plenty of space for a large dining table and additional guests, is supported by a bespoke wooden bench under the dappled shade of the Apple tree.
The main entertainment and dining area in my E17 Secluded Family Garden is partly shaded by a wooden pergola adorned with a Wisteria during the hot Summer months. An additional bespoke bench seating area at the end of the garden takes in the best views and offers a sunny spot for a morning coffee.
A more permanant solution was requested by my clients for their E11 Industrial Style garden. I designed an L-shaped concrete bench with an integral planter behind to soften the lines and provide some greenery in the space. This was complemented by a striking yellow furniture complementing the colours in the planting.
With my E8 Urban Sanctuary the seating area is fully immersed within the garden. My client didn't want dining space in the garden as the kitchen dining table is right next to the garden. Instead we chose to site her existing bistro set in the centre of the garden to give a real feeling of being surrounded by nature, even in an urban environment.
So if you're thinking of redesigning your garden, ask yourself the question. Where do you like to spend time in your garden?