There is my new bench which I bought for decorative purposes to visually break up the long row of the berm. But I find I sit on it in the mornings, sometimes for a long time when the morning is cool and there is a breeze. It provides a view back up the yard that I don't normally see from the house or from the patio. It is shady in the morning and is just a delightful spot to rest.
Next year: this is a keeper. I want the bench here in the same spot next year.
Then there is the front porch, where I put the folding Mayan chairs this year. I only sit here once in a while. It's nice, but sitting on the front porch looking down the street is odd. We are at the end of the cul de sac, and I feel like I am monitoring the drivers and walkers and dog-exercisers as they come down the road. It's weird. Waving and eye contact is awkward.
Next year: remove the chairs. Put some flower stands and pots there and leave it as a decorative area.
It doesn't function as a sitting porch.
There is also the gravel garden, which I can't figure out how to use. I put the patio table and chairs in it this year, and it looked nice, but eh. We tried three times this summer to entertain here, but it has to be timed right so the sun is behind the tall trees to the west. Otherwise, it's too sunny and hot and the umbrella doesn't shade enough area. The air conditioners roar nearby. The steel legs of the chairs sink into the gravel. It didn't really work.
Snacks and drinks are around the corner, up the deck, and too far away. I had to shepherd people out here to sit, and it didn't work easily as a place to sit and entertain. I didn't use it during the day either.
Next year: go back to having the Mayan chairs here.
I actually really liked the way the Mayan chairs looked in the gravel garden in prior years, so I'll be putting them back here. Maybe get a hammock too? Yeah.
These chairs work better here than on the front porch.
Then there is the patio, where I spend my time surveying the place from the rockers. This is shaded now in the late afternoon and I rock here with a glass of wine. The hummingbird feeder is nearby.
Next year: Change this up. Put the patio table and chairs here.
I actually had the table and chairs here at first when the patio was brand new -- isn't this photo from early spring 2007 amazing?
The set barely fit, but the table I have now is smaller.
I also had the table and chairs up on the deck for a couple years, but it was always really cramped there and I could never get late afternoon shade. It just didn't fit. But I did like having a place to eat lunch and have drinks with friends right outside the kitchen / porch door.
The table and chairs belong near the kitchen and house, but this upper deck area was too small.
Having the table and chairs on the patio will be more convenient. Definitely doing that next year.
Oh, and there is the little cement bench under the birch tree. I do sit here, it's a good place to stop and catch my breath amid chores. It faces the Birch Garden and is in shade in the morning. This stays.
I supervise the butterflies from my spot on this low bench.
It's Labor Day -- the end of summer and I'm getting tired of the plants and flowers and weeds and successes and failures growing in the garden now (it happens). So instead I'm mentally moving furniture around outside and it seems to be much more rewarding at the moment.