In more relaxed gardens, sleek furniture tends to look out of place. Quirky, reclaimed furniture and mix-and-match country styles - like lightweight wood-and-metal folded pieces paired with reproductions of Victorian fern seats or Lutyens-style benches - are worth seeking out, whether in-store or online.
Traditional, hard-working or utilitarian designs, updated with a splash of color, add to the relaxed atmosphere of a country- and cottage-style garden.
Romantic Willow Weave
Though not as durable as wood, wicker furniture, like this circular tree bench, adds romantic charm to an old-fashioned plot.DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Well-dressed seating makes a strong statement, particularly in courtyards, terraces and other areas that link in-side and out-. Modern, minimalist items made of steel and synthetic mesh fabric or man-made rattan can add style and comfort to a contemporary design, while all-weather beanbags add colorful highlights.
This up-to-the-minute design echoes the 1960s. Its curves, colors and texture contrast well with the sparse background.
These sleek, monochromatic deck chairs relate perfectly to the tall metal planters. The glass table extends the look of the glass doors, which convey the indoor and outdoor design across the threshold.DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited
It's hard to put your finger on why certain furniture styles have an up-to-date feel. In general, clean lines and plain, neutral-colored fabrics coupled with man-made elements like steel, glass and chrome appear modern. Sometimes a traditional item or seating shape is updated for modern living using hi-tech materials; sometimes designs from previous decades experience a revival. Today's designers are increasingly developing the architectural role of furniture, as well as working on integrated or site-specific designs.
The Japanese influence of this modern \"Samurai\" set helps create an atmosphere of calm in a green oasis.
The Appeal of Illusion
This curving, raised walkway culminates in a seat that \"floats\" on transparent glass.DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Furniture as Art: Modern Abstract
The sculptural qualities of certain furniture items, typically in wood, metal, ceramic or resin, puts them into a different category from everyday functional seating. You can order sculptural furniture online and find artists via their websites, but it is also worth visiting the studios of local craftspeople, as well as gardening shows and galleries, to commission custom items. If possible, allow the artist to see the garden and the site for the piece, or provide as many photographs as possible, as this can really affect the success of the design.
The organic form of snail shells is the inspiration for this original bench with a carved wood seat.
This floating bench echoes the wall's sweeping curve, and is an integral element of this striking installation.DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited
As your garden changes through the year, different areas will become more or less attractive or accessible. A portable seat, such as a deck chair, allows you to take advantage of particular settings, or to follow the sun around the garden.