Benches

Rather than trying the painfully difficult task of cutting all the legs of the tree bench to fit uneven ground around a tree trunk, level it using flat rocks as wedges.

The pleasures of a backyard or flower garden are meant to be shared. While a lone chair may be suited to solitary reflection, benches call out for company. More than anything, a bench is an invitation, beckoning visitors to sit and chat or simply enjoy the surrounding views.

This chapter shows how to build three different styles of benches. The garden bench shown at left and on the following pages will suit more formal tastes. Its solid, upright backrest puts it in character in a well-ordered garden. But in the right location, the bench could also serve as an interesting counterpoint to a more informal layout. In either case, try to situate it in front of tall flowers or shrubs, which will serve as a backdrop to frame the piece.

The park bench (page 64) is a versatile piece. The curved lines of its armrests and legs give it a more casual look than the garden bench. A simple and attractive bench when used

Rather than trying the painfully difficult task of cutting all the legs of the tree bench to fit uneven ground around a tree trunk, level it using flat rocks as wedges.

by itself, it can be transformed into a glider when combined with the base shown on page 112. The park bench is relatively simple to make, assembled with butt joints that are reinforced by screws. The joinery is more than sufficiently strong, and eliminates the risk that the connecting parts of the bench will trap water that could rot the wood.

Perhaps more than any other piece shown in this book, the tree bench (page 70) must harmonize with its setting— both in its color and size. Ideally, it should appear to be almost an organic outgrowth of its environment. Made by encircling a tree trunk with six modular seats that are attached end to end, the bench must be planned and designed with a particular tree in mind. The internal diameter of the bench should exceed that of the trunk by about 6 inches. The table on page 71 will help you choose the appropriate dimensions for your bench, given the circumference of your tree.

Before you paint your outdoor furniture, consider where it will be placed in the garden. The white of the garden bench shown at left serves as an eye-catching counterpoint to the colorful flower bed that stands behind it.

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