One of the most beautiful areas in the garden is the place under the shade of a tree. Now the question arises, how to design a comfortable and functional seating area there and integrate the tree into the construction project. We’ll show you 20 ideas for creating a seating area under a tree and explain what you need to consider.
Table of Contents
- Design seating area under tree: The wooden terrace is a true classic
- Design and build a terrace under a tree
- Create a seating area under a tree: The tree bench
- Creating a seating area under a tree: The gravel terrace
- Designing a seating area under a tree: The patio
- Designing a seating area: Tying trees together and letting them grow together
- Designing a seating area on the lawn
- Create natural stone terrace under tree
- Design seating area under tree: Alternative to lounge furniture and seating groups
- Garden design under and around a tree
- Lighting a wooden terrace under a tree
Design seating area under tree: The wooden terrace is a true classic
If you want to design a seating area under a tree, the first question that comes to mind is: what are the actual options to choose from? A wooden deck is a long-lasting option. It will allow you to enjoy the cozy sitting area for years. However, it also has disadvantages: it does not offer flexibility. This means that you must always remember to include the patio when designing your garden. In small gardens, the wooden terrace takes up too much space. The construction is complex and the cost is much higher than the other variants.
In addition, when designing a terrace, you should always think about what will happen in the coming years. Is the tree stable and large enough, if there is enough space for its roots?
So, a wooden terrace can be considered if the garden is large enough, the tree is at least 20 years old and there is enough space left for its roots.
Design and build a terrace under a tree
The terrace on the house is the absolute classic. However, this option is not always optimal. In many cases, it is better to design the seating area under a tree. Especially if this is located in a visible and wind-protected place in the garden. Deciduous trees with an umbrella-shaped crown, which provide light shade, prove to be optimal. They can be integrated into the wooden terrace particularly effectively. Below we explain how to build such a terrace step by step:
1. first clarify important questions:
- How exactly do you envision the terrace (shape, size)?
- What purpose should it serve (outdoor dining area has different requirements than a lounge area)?
- How many hours of direct sunlight a day will it get?
- Do you need electricity or water connection?
- How do you want to design the area around the patio (garden path, plantings, steps).
- Is the terrain level or does it have a slope?
2. then measure the garden, make a garden plan and mark the terrace on it. To get a better idea, you can mark the desired course of the terrace with rope on the ground.
3. get detailed advice from the garden center on how to design the area around the tree.
4. take into account the needs of the tree when designing the terrace. Also clarify in advance whether you should compact the soil under the terrace and how this will affect the tree roots. In any case, you should not concrete the subsoil around the tree. It would be better if you build a substructure.
5. As a general rule, trees can not tolerate changes in the soil well. If you integrate a tree into the terrace, it will have to cope with soil compaction and will continue to struggle with inadequate nutrient, oxygen and water resources.
6. To get an idea of how large your tree’s root system is, look up. The root system is as wide as the tree’s canopy. Depending on whether the tree is a shallow or deep rooter, you should leave a certain distance between the terrace and the tree trunk. The size of the terrace is also closely related to this.
7. After you have built the terrace, you should observe the tree. If you notice that the tree leaves are changing color and turning yellowish, you can water it additionally. For the terrace has sealed a large area, accordingly, much less water and nutrients get into the soil.
Create a seat under a tree: The tree bench
You want a comfortable place to sit in the garden? Then you can build or buy a tree bench. In the trade you will find numerous variants. Especially practical are the tree benches made of wood, which have a metal structure. You can use the space under the tree bench as a storage space for wood chips.
Create a seating area under tree: The gravel terrace
If you don’t have a lot of free space and want an inexpensive option, you can opt for a patio made of gravel. The gravel can be laid quickly and easily. This variant offers more design freedom, but the maintenance is very costly. Foliage, flowers and fruits get on the gravel and are difficult to remove. For coarse-grained gravel, you can use a leaf vacuum, and for fine-grained gravel, you can use a leaf rake.
One of the main advantages of a gravel patio is that the tree will thrive quite well, and you won’t have to worry about its root system. As for the design of the seating area, there are no limits to your own creativity. Just make sure that the gravel is not too fine. The coarse-grained gravel is more stable and better for designing seating areas with chairs and a table. The small-grained gravel is great for lounge areas and benches.
Design seating area under tree: The patio
The city villa and the terraced house often do not have a large garden, but a small backyard or courtyard. If a tree grows there, the whole plot may be in the shade. Many garden owners then decide to lay the whole courtyard with paving stones and create a container garden. As a rule, the area around the tree is not paved. Nevertheless, the roots may lift the paving slabs.
The paved terrace is suitable for small gardens with small and slow-growing house trees. Trees that stay small include true redthorn, willow-leaved pear, and fan maple. For example, the star magnolia has a maximum growth height of 3 meters, which it reaches after more than twenty years. The disadvantage of a slow-growing tree is that it is not very suitable for shade.
Design seating area: Tie trees together and let them grow together
Alternatively, you can plant several trees of the same species around the patio and then tie the crowns together so that the branches of the trees grow together over time. This creates a “pergola” that provides privacy and sun protection for the outdoor seating area.
Design a seating area on the lawn
Another option that is particularly well suited to a natural garden is to design the seating area directly on the lawn beneath the tree. This design is only temporary and is a good idea if the furniture is only placed on particularly hot days. Perhaps because the tree is located in a shady and windy location. Or if you organize a garden party and the terrace does not have enough space for all the guests. Then you can arrange individual seating groups on the lawn. Folding chairs and tables can be easily moved back and forth and offer design freedom.
Create natural stone terrace under tree
Natural stone is perfect for terraces that are placed under a tree. The material easily defies snow, rain and moisture. The only drawback is that the tree roots can lift the stone slabs. Therefore, it is best to lay the stone slabs loosely.
Design a seating area under a tree: Alternative to lounge furniture and seating groups
Do you want a cozy seating area under a tree, but there is not enough space? Fortunately, there are several alternatives to the lounge sofa and coffee table with chairs. The first option is to attach a hanging chair to the tree. This will give you a comfortable reading corner where you can relax on hot days.
Alternatively, you can build a table around the tree. Such a table is built similar to the garden bench, but is higher. You can decorate the table top any way you want – wooden plates you can paint, metal plates you can stick broken porcelain.
A third option is to cast a concrete garden bench and spice it up with colorful decorative pillows. You can also place several concrete garden benches next to each other so that they form a semicircle. This option is great for large gardens that you want to divide into several areas.
Garden design under and around a tree
Of course, it is important how you will design the patio under a tree. But it’s also important how you plant the area around the patio and around/under the tree. For the terrace, shade-loving potted plants are a good choice. Around it, you can create flower beds with ground covers and flowers. Shade-loving flowers like hydrangea will add splashes of color to the shade area.
Another variation is to plant a lawn around the tree. Lawn may look like a low-maintenance and easy alternative at first glance, but it is not. Most lawn varieties are only partially suitable for shaded areas. Areas in partial shade can be landscaped with certain types of grass, but they are more susceptible to mold and pests and much less resilient than grass grown in full sun.
Lighting a wooden patio under a tree.
Lighting is a very important part of patio design. Don’t forget to include the tree in the lighting design. The best way to do this will be with several floodlights that you point upwards. This way you can illuminate the tree trunk and the crown at the same time.
If you want romantic garden lighting, you can hang several lanterns directly on the tree. LED candles give off a soft light at the garden table. A fire bowl not only provides warmth, but also light for the lounge area. However, don’t forget to include indirect lighting where there is a risk of tripping. Stairs, steps, railings and planters should be clearly visible. Even in winter, the terrace should be well lit.