Benches - the easiest and most affordable option for arranging small but secluded places to relax. Sitting in the shade of a tree or hedge, by the flower bed or even on it, you can admire the beauty created with love by your own hands. To many, benches seem boring and rustic, not too original. But do not rush to look for a fanciful alternative: any bench can become the center of a real oasis, if you take care of competent landscaping. Indeed, no matter what magnificent garden ensemble the bench adjoins, the main thing is not to forget to design it with an appropriate “retinue”.
Perhaps, there is no greater pleasure than admiring the beauties of your garden on a comfortably hidden bench. When all things have been redone, it is so pleasant to enjoy the fruits of your labors in a small secluded corner! Rest on a bench hidden in the garden, even in the brief moments of respite between garden cares, will bring only joy and pleasant emotions. Small corners for a secluded holiday allow you to fully experience the atmosphere of the garden and enjoy all its views, aromas and colors. Unlike large recreation areas and terraces, where all attention is concentrated precisely on relaxation and on calm, distant contemplation, secrecy and security, small benches set in the garden offer to immerse yourself in the garden life itself and enjoy the proximity of nature. But so that the shops were not just a trick and decor, you would like to sit on them and spend time with pleasure, just setting up a bench in a beautiful place or a nook is not enough. Like any comfortable place to relax, even a simple shop needs additional decoration. It’s worth a little effort - and any bench in the garden can become a favorite corner and center of attention.
The main task when designing any bench is to create a feeling of magnificent surroundings. Shops should be surrounded by your favorite plants and flowers, delicate aromas, soothing colors, seem to be isolated and as if separated from the whole world, even if they are not hidden from the view. After all, the key to pleasant emotions and comfort during spending minutes and hours on benches in the garden is the surrounding atmosphere. Additional design should make the corner soothing, pastoral, cozy, lulling and romantic. And they solve this problem for all benches in the same way - with the help of plants.
The efforts that will have to be made to design a comfortable corner for relaxing with a bench directly depend on the “initial” data - the presence of shrubs and wood, objects near which a bench is installed, etc. But even in cases when a bench is placed on a lawn or along a track with modest mixed discount (that is, there are no large plants nearby at all), it will still be about simple gardening. A group of grassy perennials and shrubs is planted next to the bench, as if covering it in lush thickets, creating a flower garden in a natural style.
The design of flower beds at garden benches includes such elements:
1. Large plants — woody or shrubs — to protect from wind and prying eyes.
Most often, a bench is installed not just like that, but by a colorful tree or flowering shrub, between trees or bushes in an alley or hedge. There simply cannot be the need to plant plants for shading and protection in shops. But if there is nothing to create a canopy over the bench, then it is better to take care of the appropriate surroundings:
plant on one side of the bench a decorative wood with a landscape crown;
to plant on either side of the bench two compact tree or two large shrubs.
The main requirement for giants is picturesqueness, a beautiful silhouette and pastorality. Beanmen, large bushes of lilac, decorative apple or cherry trees, almonds and colorful maples will look great.
2. “Back” - shrubs or vines planted behind a bench and creating not only a visual background, but also wind protection and comfort.
Landing behind the bench will be needed only if the bench is not installed in hedges, and there is an open space behind it. Most often, the “back” is created from sheared shrubs (privet, yew, buckthorn), flowering unpretentious shrubs (mock or spirea) or in the form of an installed arch the size of a bench along which a climbing rose or clematis is “let out”. If you do not need visual protection, you can not even plant a “back”, and you can always design a narrow row of bushes or supports with vines in your own way. The main thing is not to overdo it with size and volume. The height of the "back" should not exceed the height of the bench by more than 2.5-3 times.
3. Flowering and decorative deciduous perennials on the "sides" of the bench.
The size of flower beds located on either side of the bench should not be too large. Usually, the maximum length is determined as follows: the flower garden should not exceed two or three times the length of the bench itself. But the volume, style of design, like the plants used, are selected in accordance with the whole garden and their preferences. But there are still some general canons and principles of design.
In contrast to the design of small decorative groups with a masking or separating character, even small flower beds at the bench should be designed taking into account the changing seasons. The "frames" around the bench should look attractive regardless of the time of year. And flowering plants in them provide for spring, and for summer, and in autumn.
The "flat" flower beds near the benches are uninteresting. To give splendor and volume (and stable attractiveness), one or two flowering shrubs are definitely added to the flower garden. You can place it on one side of the bench, on the very edge or closer to the edge of the flower garden (so that bushes and trees above the bench do not shade your soloist), and in regular gardens - arrange pairs of symmetrical bushes. Great candidates are hydrangea (but not large-leaved, but unpretentious species like ashen or panicled hydrangea), rhododendrons, spirea. If the place is well lit, then you can even plant beautiful flowerbed roses.
The basis of the design is made up of the favorite and most hardy, undemanding to care herbaceous perennials. It is better to choose your own “TOP” from the already used in the design of garden flower beds and mixborders plants. But there are universal options. Of course, the basis of design is always performed from plants that can put up with shading. Garden geraniums, astilbe, black cohosh, penstemons - an excellent option. The curtains of daylilies, and hybrids of lilies, and lupins or aquilegia, and delphiniums, and perennial asters with chrysanthemums, and yarrows will look great in such a flower garden. If you are a fan of decorative leafy stars, add cleansers, heichera, hosts, ferns or a cuff to your design. Plant each plant with large "spots" - groups that form beautiful and expressive, easily recognizable fragments. For any flower garden at the bench, 5-6 perennials are enough. To emphasize seasonal colors, leave a “spot” on the front edge for the summerman, who can be changed from season to season (for example, for colorful balsamins).
Luxurious spring accents on the flower bed by the bench are even easier to place: just plant small bulbous nests between perennials - from snowdrops and hyacinths to daffodils and tulips. Late awakening perennials will hide their fading greens, but in the early spring they will again set charming accents and complement the look of the spring garden.
If you start “from scratch”, then you should plant the plants in the same order in which the elements are located - from tree and shrubs to the “back” and the flower bed itself on the sides. Planting plants does not have to be carried out simultaneously: only large accents can be planted at first, and after some time, when they take root and grow, complete the design.
Accessories in flower beds at garden benches are rarely introduced. An exception is a game with lighting. If you have the opportunity to add an additional flashlight or lamp for evening relaxation, then it will make the atmosphere even more comfortable. In gardens where sculpture or interesting decor is actively used, one small accent hidden at the very bench will help to “connect” the flower garden with the rest of the site and give it a stylistic expression. It is very fashionable today to place low feeders or drinking bowls for birds at such small corners for relaxation: sitting on a bench, you will get an additional opportunity to admire the feathered inhabitants of the garden.
An interesting alternative to a flower garden by the bench is a pot garden. If you don’t want to complete a full-fledged ensemble or you can’t decide which plants are more suitable for you, you can decorate the bench by placing several containers on the sides with flowering summers or more enduring perennials. Of course, this option of a mobile flower garden will require additional care, but it also has considerable advantages:
plants can be changed from season to season;
You can constantly experiment with style and colors;