According to annual national surveys conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, built-in seating has regularly been among the top 10 trends in outdoor living design in recent years. The reason for this is simple…people are spending a lot more time in their outdoor living spaces, and they’re bringing friends. Plus, there’s only so much you can do with traditional furniture, and it typically needs to be replaced periodically due to exposure to sun, rain and critters. Whereas, built-in seating provides a more permanent solution and can perform multiple roles within the design. In addition to providing a place to sit, a seat wall can act as a functional design element to define the space itself. Whether you need to control the slope of your yard, or are just looking for a way to define the transition from one outdoor room to the next, a seat wall may be the design solution to your seating needs.
Fire pit seating
Seat walls provide an excellent design solution for fire pit patios. The wall itself helps to reflect the heat to provide a cozier environment. In addition, the bench-style seating can accommodate more people than traditional chairs. For additional comfort, add pillows or cushions.
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ADDING FORM AND FUNCTION
A retaining wall or perimeter wall can easily be embellished and converted into built-in seating to create a more functional space.
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Incorporating Natural Elements
When using manufactured stone to build seat walls, natural materials can be incorporated into the design to add visual interest.
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Terraced design lends itself well to the addition of seat walls, as a retaining wall is already being used to create the terrace and needs only to be embellished with a seat ledge.
Nextweek: The holidays are just around the corner! Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog for holiday backyard entertaining ideas.
During the construction of a home in the Salt Lake City area, the landscape contractor was challenged with building a retaining wall that would support the garage and driveway area, which had an elevation drop of about twenty feet into the property line and neighbor’s yard and needed to be terraced according to city codes. The home also needed a grass ramp sloping from the driveway into the home’s own backyard, which was at the same elevation as the neighbor’s, twenty feet below. The Mega-Tandem™ Mass Segmental Retaining Wall system achieved the project’s structural goals, with the bonus of an enhanced aesthetic look of natural stone.
DEVELOPER: Ken & Kristen Keller, Keller Development
The country is going green, in more ways than one! Everywhere you look, people are finding new and interesting ways to garden. One of the more recent trends is the rise of the what is called “vertical gardening”. Entire websites and companies are devoted to the trend. For those looking to add a little more dimension to their lives, vertical gardening is the way to go.
What exactly is a vertical garden?
A vertical garden can take any number of forms and is basically any vegetation that exists on a plane other than a flat horizontal surface. It can be as simple as a tier of stacked planters or as intricate as a high-rise wall completely covered in vegetation. Classic forms of vertical gardens include those created with trellises and arbors, but today’s modern vertical gardens have grown to incorporate a variety of ideas, techniques, and materials.
How do I get started?
Wherever there is a blank wall or a bare fence, there is the potential for a vertical garden. There are companies that sell pre-made pockets and planters that are specifically designed to attach to walls or fence boards. However, the ideas are virtually endless for creating homemade versions. Unique ideas include converting rain gutters into vertical rows of horizontal planters, or constructing planter pockets out of heavy-duty fabrics.
What if my yard is sloped?
Well then, you have the perfect natural setting to create a vertical garden. Any gardening you do will already be multidimensional. But if you want to create something more structured and permanent, consider terracing the slope with pavers and retaining walls to create layers of built-in planters, which will define the garden areas and, at the same time, make the space more usable.