Picking The Location and “Setting”

A design client of mine called to ask if I’d help him find a spot in the landscape for his new iron garden bench. He tells me he wasn’t looking for one, but happened to come across this “rocking” one (literally – not figuratively). I believe they call this an “impulse buy” and it happens to the best of us.

After we surveyed the property we chose the location you see in the photo above. It offered an excellent vantage point to look at the house, patio and gardens. The Birch tree provided shade as well as another feature in the composition. I think it’s so important to create “settings” for garden features & ornaments. It just makes them appear more integrated to the landscape.

The Process

The hardest part of the project was removing the sod. You can see the white lines I painted to guide the installation crew. It’s basically a simple oval shape. Curvilinear lines are easy to work with and maintain.

First, the edge was cut on the white line with a garden spade. The sod was then stripped from the ground using a grape hoe.

One of the challenges was to give the iron garden bench a solid and level footing for it to sit on. Although the land sloped gently we were able to create a level platform using 1/8″ crushed stone for the base and a thick piece of flagstone on top. The soil we removed to prepare for the gravel base was used to build up and support the now level platform.

It only took the guys a few hours from start to finish, but I’m sure you’ll all agree the iron garden bench now has a place to call home. In the spring we’ll add some plantings around the bench to really “tie it all together.”

Most of these iron garden benches today are not actually iron but cast aluminum. The finishes are a powder coat paint and seem to last forever.  Even if they get nicked they don’t rust. This is just another example how today’s technology and manufacturing can bring classic, older design into the landscape without some of the inherent maintenance problems of the older materials.

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