Looking for ways to maximize your outdoor living space design? Built-in seating may be just the solution you’re looking. This small variation to seating can provide a far more efficient use of space, potentially doubling the value of your usable outdoor living space area.  A custom built pergola can be constructed around your seating as to not interfere with the design mojo you have going on, but still provide sun or shade for a more comfortable space to spend time in. 

Benefits of Built-In Seating

A spatial problem-solver, in tight or narrow outdoor spaces with minimal room for furniture, built-in seating allows for the addition of seating without sacrificing a single square foot. Add seating along a wall, sliding tables right up, minimizing the need for additional furniture. Providing a place to sit back and relax year-round, built-in seating is also a boon in colder climates, eliminating the need to move patio furniture in during the cold weather season and lug it out again when the weather warms. With built-in seating, a place to enjoy the outdoors and rest is always available – even on those rare warm fall and spring days when your furnishings might otherwise be buried in the garage or shed.

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Tips for Adding Built-In Seating

Integrating built-in seating isn’t difficult. The ideal time to incorporate built-in seating is when you’re adding a wall, raised planting area, or other structural components, such a slim, unobtrusive StruXure adjustable aluminum pergola. These structures can easily be adapted with additional seating.

Built-In Seating Guide

Look to these tips to construct built-in seating that is attractive, spatially-efficient, and comfortable.

  • Seat Wall
    Any time you add a low wall 18-30-inches in height to your landscape, consider incorporating a seat wall to double as a bench. For comfort, make sure the top surface is flat. Natural cinder block or poured concrete is not enough. Seating should be smooth to avoid damaging clothing, with narrow mortar joints to prevent sharp and from sticking up. Adding a foot-wide cap with a bullnose edge using masonry is best.
  • Inset Seating
    Outdoor living space share a wall with your home, privacy wall, or other structure that would serve as a good backrest for a built-in seating nook? Use it to create a versatile, intimate conversation area that is enclosed on 3-sides. Deeper designs more than 2-feet wide can also double as a place to recline. Avoid going too narrow, as this can make seating uncomfortable. Consider the comfort of the backrest as well. Designs that are sloped slightly away from the seat are more relaxing to lounge in than those straight up and down.
  • Bolt-On Seating
    In spaces too narrow for inset seating, where walls are too tall and straight for comfort, bolt-on seating is another alternative. Popular in public parks and plazas, bolt-on seating is best anchored into block, stone, and concrete walls.
  • ‘Natural’ Seating
    In design schemes incorporating a great deal of stonework, large, flat-top boulders can be used to create convenient seating areas. Popular in Japanese gardens, they offer seating without spoiling the look of landscapes. Rock shape and design is critical for comfort in boulder seating. The best boulder seating is flat on top, in sizes or inset into the ground at the proper height for comfortably sitting. Incorporating flagstone into your design? These lighter stones offer seating opportunities as well. Simply set a large flagstone slab atop multiple supporting stones for a beautiful natural seating alternative.

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Comfort Additions

When designing built-in seating, don’t overlook key comfort details. Concrete and metal can be uncomfortable in temperature extremes without a cushion. This is why benches with wood slats are common. Design with dimensions for standard outdoor cushions in mind, which are easy to replace by the season or as your tastes change. Otherwise, leave room in the budget for custom cushion creations. This will ensure you, your family, and guests are happy and comfortable enjoying time outdoors.

Get the most out of your outdoor living space design.  If you’re planning on including a patio cover in your design, StruXure Denver to learn more about ways you can maximize your available space today.

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