As restrictions start to ease and we can invite another household to our gardens under the Rule of Six, you’ll want somewhere lovely to sit and catch up. But while some people are itching to see friends and family, other people want to stay as they are in the sanctuary of their homes. Both points of view are understandable. Whether you are inviting people over or you’d rather encourage feathered friends and wildlife, here are some ideas for benches and birdbaths to enjoy in your garden.

A PEACEFUL SPOT A nice view can be made into a beauty spot when you create a place to sit and admire it. Shady trees, a pond, a hillside view or anything that makes you feel relaxed and happy can be transformed into a peaceful spot. From here you can appreciate the garden, the visiting birds and butterflies or just enjoy the surroundings. Create a place to share a romantic glass of something sparkling or a quiet nook to read in.

The lake at Chilstone is a tranquil spot, that in normal times is open to the public.

Stone benches are low maintenance, they won’t rot and you can opt for a traditional style or something sleek and timeless. Create a place that’s special to you and make it just as you like it. The ground needs to be stable enough to support the weight, so stone benches are more suited to patios than decking, but these will last for years so you can relax and enjoy your garden.

A PLACE TO ADMIRE THE GARDEN Once you have installed a bench you might choose to add an additional focal point. A sundial or armillary are classics and work well in beds or as a lawn centerpiece, but when you add a birdbath you will create a beautiful focal point that also provides a vital water source for wildlife to enjoy. Make sure you have binoculars handy to get a close up view to identify any visiting birds, you could even set up a camera to see what other creatures stops by. We’ve had everything from geese to deer in our show gardens, we’ve even seen a stray pig!

Chilstone’s sundial plinths can be highly ornate or simply elegant to create modern or historical style gardens,

The texture of our cast stone helps the feet of most UK passerine birds to grip. Although birdbaths are visited by birds of prey too, if you are lucky enough to spot them. Birdbaths are vital in summer heat and winter’s freezing temperatures when water sources are scarce. Place a tennis ball in your birdbath to help prevent ice formation in plummeting temperatures. When you add a birdbath to gardens you create a little sanctuary.

A WILDLIFE HAVEN Birdbaths make a happy space for other animals too, bees, butterflies and even squirrels like the shallow water. Add nectar rich flowers to make your garden a haven for you and your local wildlife.

More than half of homeowners in the UK put out bird feeders to encourage birds into gardens and as a result there are now one hundred and thirty three species in urban gardens. There has been a significant increase in goldfinches, nuthatches and spotted woodpeckers in the past forty years and sparrow hawks have increased too in gardens that provide sunflower hearts! But fewer households provide birdbaths, which are important for birds to keep cool in summer and for preening to keep feathers free of lice and parasites. Small birds need a gently sloping bowl as they could drown in buckets or vessels with steep sides.

Chilstones cast stone weathers to a rich patina over time. We have a very limited number of vintage birdbaths and garden ornaments available.

Another way to attract wildlife is with a pond, they are particularly loved by dragonflies and frogs. Place a bench alongside you have a viewing platform to sit and watch the comings and goings. Add fish and water lilies to make an aquatic paradise, you could even choose a small fountain for the soothing sounds it creates, which will also add oxygen to the water as it trickles.

A CENTRAL SPOT Birdbaths don’t have to be placed in the middle of a lawn, although that’s fine if you want to. Make them a feature in densely planted beds to balance planting heights and be a constant wildlife attraction all year around. The plants will draw insects and that will make your birdbath more appealing to birds too.

Place your birdbath away from trees and walls at a safe distance, making it harder for cats to pounce on bathing birds, combining practicality with beauty.

It’s not just birdbaths that look great as a central planting feature though, benches work well too and this will allow you to sit among the planting scheme. This is a great way to easily transform patios into a chic and inviting space to entertain guests. You can order your bench and planters in the same cast stone colour to match in with the existing stonework around your property or to make a base colour pallet for your garden design. We can even engrave the bench seat with a special message or commemorative date or anniversary.

Experiment with different lengths and shapes, a curved bench on a standard rectangular paved patio will soften the edges and blend it with your planted beds. It will also make you feel like you are sitting with the plants so you can see their blooms up close and be surrounded by sweet fragrance.

A POOLSIDE PARADISE A well chosen bench looks stylish at the side of garden swimming pools too. Not just a towel holder, this low maintenance option is perfect for those avid, daily swimmers who don’t have time to get the sun loungers out each swim. A bench will be perfect all year round, rain or shine and you can always bring out additional seating when you have visitors.

We also make pool and pond surrounds to order.

HANDMADE Whether you are seeing friends or wildlife our products it’s worth investing in quality garden products. All our stoneware is made entirely by hand the same way it has been for almost 70 years. This craftsmanship takes time and care to produce so please order now for summer delivery to avoid disappointment. Our benches come in a number of lengths and the legs can mix and match with the bench seats and we can create bespoke items too, so please just ask our team to get the look you want.

Our show gardens are open by appointment and our phone lines are open 7 days a week for sales, bookings and enquiries. Our phone lines are open over the entire Easter weekend for your convenience. Call 01892 740866.

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