In honor of my new book, The Spirit of Stone – 101 Practical and Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden (St. Lynn’s Press, 2017) that was released last week I am sharing this post about stone benches.
In the heat of the summer when we should be pruning what we really want to do is sit in the cool shade and drink a tall glass of iced tea.
Ah, a place to sit in the cool leafy shade!
What better contrast to the soft green lushness that surrounds you than a stone seat or bench, immutable, grounded and cool to the touch…
sitting on stone outdoors grounds you and aligns you to the earth’s electromagnetic pulse…
It is like a calming sedative that you feel almost immediately.
Stone seats in the garden have a storied history. The Druids of Northern Europe fashioned stone chairs out of boulders. It is surmised that they were used for rituals and perhaps coronations of a sort. Today, in the British Isles and in France, you can find ancient stone seats in fields, woods and near sacred springs.
Sunny Wieler, an Irish stonemason / artist, follows in his ancestors’ tradition and wrote about making stone seats in his marvelous blog, Stone Art Blog (check it out!). Stone Art is his company which serves County Cork and Dublin. Here are some of his marvelous creations.
You might expect all stone seats to be massive and heavy but this is not the case.
In the Chinese tradition, they fashion rounded stone seats (some are carved to look like drums) which encircle a stone table. You can see a great example in the Chinese garden at Naumkeag in Stockbridge.
Following this idea, the wonderful designer Jinny Blom created Spore seats. Although not technically pure stone (they are made of a eco friendly moldable stone) they hark back to Chinese stone seats with a more modern flavor. I love them.
They were a commissioned design for a permanent installation at London’s Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, which won a prestigious BALI Landscape Award.
Another modern take on ancient stone benches is made by Escofet. Their Bilbao benches are also not pure stone but look how great they are.
I show more stone bench ideas in my new book, The Spirit of Stone- 101 Practical and Creative Stonescaping ideas for Your Garden