Summer is fleeing and I have not posted any garden inspiration photos yet. However, I was at Hollister House recently (a Garden Conservancy property) and in addition to reveling in the voluptuous greenery and an ever fluctuating palette, I focused on the lovely garden furniture George placed strategically throughout the space. There are great shapes, worn finishes and beautiful textures.
The garden furniture at Hollister House provides short term perching places for moments of reflection. I, too, use furniture in the garden not only for perching but to add structure and decoration. But, as Bunny Williams says in her book ON GARDEN STYLE you have to decide if you want to look at the furniture more than the garden. She asks if you want to furniture to be a prominent feature or do you want it to disappear. Will it distract from the garden or will it disappear.
Making decisions about garden furniture is really no different from the choices you make when furnishing the interior of the house or planning a bath; aesthetics and function matter equally. Before selecting furniture, decide what activities will occur in the space; lounging, reading, entertaining, cooking or dining. All of these functions require different types of furniture and selecting pieces with the right scale and level of comfort is very important. Also, you have to ask if the furniture is being placed on a terrace close to the house. If so, it is appropriate to select pieces that relate to the decoration of the house.
I love the idea of mixing and matching materials and designs for garden furniture and most particularly selecting some practical and comfortable items and finding some complimentary modern or vintage designs to mix in. Whether in the actual garden or on the terrace, choose your furniture as a compliment to the garden and the style and taste of the house.