Romancing the Rustic

 The cats can always find me here.
Breakfast Bench

Two sturdy wooden garden benches, lovingly home-made from recycled timber, mark my first serious flirtation with rustic garden furniture. After all these years of resisting, I've finally succumbed to the romance of the rustic.

I've been far too dismissive of rustic seats. My very first rustic furniture attempt resulted in a picnic table with seating benches attached. No pattern or plans - I made it all up, using willow branches (too soft) and ordinary nails (too rusty).

Hmm... Two winters later my rustic creation was consigned to garden obscurity, its future definitely ornamental. It ended life in the fourth winter as firewood.

Wiser - And Older

I am wiser (and older) now. I know that screws are often needed for stability. I know what the word 'galvanised' means. I also know that seats need to be sturdy and stay in one piece - collapsing into the marigolds is not a cheerful option for the ageing gardener. And most of all - I recognise that usable rustic furniture has to be robustly designed and expertly built. Which is where a Non Gardening Partner with a construction-engineering bent comes in handy!

 In position.
The First Bench is Finished

For my first serious rustic furniture fling I chose simple, flat surfaces and basic right angles. I thought that NGP would be more easily conned if I kept curves and shaping out of the design. Cushions could perform whatever extra comfort tricks were needed.

 Fluff-Fluff on the rustic garden bench.
Fluffy Cat Seat

But NGP, naturally, was a marvel. I showed him a prototype in a garden nursery (four hundred dollars for a pair), and together we hit the demolition yard, tape measure in hand. Sixty dollars worth of recycled timber, a bag of galvanised bits, and voila!

 In the secret courtyard.
Cordyline Albertii by Rustic Seats

The rustic benches sit at right angles to each other in a little sunken square 'courtyard', with a potted variegated cordyline perched in-between. The bench arms are perfect for balancing coffee cups, and the seats are jolly comfortable - with or without padding! No jokes about older lady-gardeners' nether regions, please...

Plants for Fragrance

Surrounding plantings are newish, deliberately chosen to be fragrant. I've planted low growing Rosemary, some late spring flowering Philadelphus shrubs, and several 'new old' roses. I'm definitely looking forward to some sweet-smelling spring and summer lounging.

 After three hard-working hours of tidy-up.
Me Relaxing in the Rustic Courtyard

The rustic seats are just about visible from the house - excellent! This means I take my coffee outside, rather than lazily flopping on the couch. And even better - my cats can easily find me, should they feel like some good gardener-company.

What's next?

What's next in my rustic requirements? This is only the beginning. Actually, what I'd really like is a little rustic garden shed with a balcony and a recycled stained-glass window, built by the Moosey pond...