Take a Seat: 5 Classic Backyard Seating Solutions

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1) Adirondack Chair: Did you know that the Adirondack chair was originally called the “Westport Chair”?

Back in 1903, Thomas Lee was bent on creating the perfect chair (one that would remain in an upright position when placed on the hillside) for his summer retreat in New York, in the Westport Adirondack Mountains.

Like any good inventor, Mr. Lee created prototypes and tested them (all 22) on his family members. The winning design was shared with a local friend and carpenter, Harry Bunnell, who quickly realized that he could sell the chairs to local residents. Although marketed as the Westport Chair, they ultimately became known as the Adirondack chair. Mr. Bunnell patented the design (unbeknownst to Lee) and went on the make them for the next 20 years. Its universal appeal, backyard hammockin comfort and design, allowed the Adirondack chair to become a backyard staple in homes all across America.

2) The Hammock:  This quintessential backyard accessory is believed to have been around for about 1000 years. Beginning in Central America, hammocks were originally constructed using the bark from the Hamak tree.

Because hammocks are suspended above the ground, they allow one to sleep peacefully without interference from bugs, rodents or water. The hammock also proved to be ideal at sea, and was adopted by many navies. For sailors living in truncated spaces, the hammock can be easily dismantled. It’s design is flexible enough to allow for easy sleeping, even in rough waters.  

Today’s hammocks come in every color of the rainbow and are typically constructed using a cloth, cord or rope.

3) Garden Benches:  Garden benches that were carved from stone or marble were first found in the gardens of  backyard garden bench early Greeks and Romans. However, it wasn’t until the Victorian age when garden benches were mass produced using cast iron, that they made their way into popular culture.

Garden benches can be made from all sorts of material including wood, iron, stone, cement, marble or plastic, and they are a great way to bring a pop of color into the garden all year long. Position you garden bench in shade or partial shade or in one that has a particularly nice view. They can be either free standing or built into a structure, like a retaining or decorative wall.

4) Garden Swings:  These were first developed in the 1920’s as a form of entertainment by engineer, Charles Wicksteed. Mr. Wicksteed wanted to give something back to his community in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. These free standing single-seat swings quickly became popular across the UK, and they are considered the foundation of the modern day playground. A hit with young and old alike, the garden swing’s  backyard swing construction was adapted to require less height, while the seat was widened to accommodate two people.

If you are looking to install a garden swing, an arbor or pergola makes a perfect base, as they provide shade as well as stability. Still popular today, garden swings come in styles ranging from rustic to modern, and can be found everything from wood to metal to rattan.

Feeling creative? A flea-market, loveseat find can be converted into a garden swing by adding ropes or chains.

5) Porch Gliders:  Post World War II, American’s were excited to furnish their modern suburban backyards to reflect the newly “relaxed” America. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to sit back and unwind in a porch glider, than you know first-hand just how therapeutic the simple act of rhythmically gliding back and forth is.

backyard porch gliders

One of the most popular porch gliders then, and the most collectible now, was manufactured by the JR Bunting Glider Company of Philadelphia, PA. Their patented basket-weave design was widely popular because it allowed air to circulate and rain water to flow through. Vintage porch gliders are coveted by enthusiasts and they can be found in backyards all over the United States.

Do you have an idea creative or classic seating solution? We love new ideas!