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“Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop” – Garden Benches

by ESP on April 3, 2010

“Smell my finger”…

Err…”No Thanks”!

I would rather smell this, thank you very much!  The aroma from my

Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’

or more commonly known mock orange, is hard to put into words. It is filling the entire back quarter of the patch with the most amazing scent right now, in fact, I am making fake journeys and excuses to go back there just to catch another whiff of it.

The sweet orange blossom aroma from this shrub / small tree will perfume a garden with an aroma that will last for weeks.  It makes an excellent specimen plant and a beautiful tree form when trimmed correctly.  I have trained mine in the same fashion that I do with my mountain laurels, Vitex and Opuntia …that is as high as possible.

Now to business…

The past few days in the Patch I have spent contorted into unusual body positions, performing unusual maneuvers with rather antiquated tools, namely a hand saw, a screwdriver and a drill, I ache in places I never even new I had.  What was I doing?  Well for some strange reason I sort of fell into a project that I have been thinking about for ages.  I have just never really known how to get started or where to begin.  Having some spare lumber already on hand to form the backbone of the project, I decided it was time to jump in and give it a bash.  I was going to build a bench!

“I am Maximus Decimus Meridius and this garden bench SHALL prevail”.

It turned out that this activity was perfectly timed with The Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – “Garden Benches”, over at:

This bench would not be planned, it would not be exact, it was not going to adhere to any ergonomic standards, in fact the whole thing was going to be improvised, winged, made up on the spot…

No spirit levels, no circular saws and strictly no set squares, oh no, that would make the job too easy.  It was either going to end up looking like something from the Beverly Hillbillies or miraculously turn out looking like something that resembled a garden bench, I had no idea.

My intent was to develop some form of seating between these two trellised vertical posts, I say “some form” as I really had no idea what was going to form, or how I was going to build it. The two posts were also not aligned, the right one was actually twisted…mmm, I would deal with this little inconvenience later I told myself.  Early on in the non-planning stage it slowly dawned on me that the Mexican weeping bamboo that I had only removed from the front of my house a couple of weeks back was slap-bang in the middle of the right hand side of where the future “seat” needed to be.  As much as I dreaded digging the beast up once again it just had to be done.

A few Home Depot brackets and a bit of concrete later I had the skeleton of my Frankenstein’s bench blocked out.  Photo courtesy of elder Hobbit.

I was determined at this point, that whatever I built, it was going to have a building code equivalent to Fort Knox…oh yes, this bench was going to be solid and quite large as it turns out.

Putting on the seating slats had to be one of the most mundane jobs…ever, especially considering that I was screwing everything down by hand, it took me the best part of three hours, each panel having four screws in it.  While I was performing this mind-numbing task I actually taught my daughter the meaning of the word “tedious”, just to take my mind off it.  The smell from the blooming Meyer lemon was the only thing that kept me sane.

Here is the final Alice in Wonderland throne in all her pre-stained glory. In order to secure the backboards to something in the middle, I found that I required yet another post to be concreted in for support, digging that hole was such a joy! Not!  I used the top of this new post for a small shelf, I figured it may come in useful for something in the future, like citronella candles!  You can see it behind “Alice”, she is already hosting a tea-party on it!

“Interesting proportions ESP.”

Likewise Helena !

The bench seats all members of the Patch with room to spare!  Just a couple of finishing touches…

Well you have to have one of these…

“Nice touch ESP”!

…and a couple of lucky horseshoes to ensure your arse stays splinter free!  Now I need a few more coats of stain, a seating mat and some pillows and its done.  An improvised bench that took three days.  My oldest hobbit calls it the garden sofa, me?  I have many names for it, most of which will make your hair curl!

This new bench offers a great lounging place from which most of the garden can be viewed, in the shade!

The unintentional over-sized proportions really gives it a sense of presence in the Patch…where has it been all my life!  I have another two vertical beams that I am thinking I may use to construct another, but not until the memory of building this one fades into my subconscious.

Oh no! no-one is getting out of here without another four nerve daisy plug.

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