Lawn Seats

While helping last week to stack a ton of wood in a shed across the street, I came across an old see-saw I remember being in the yard when I was just a wee thing. It occured to me how great it would be to get that see-saw back on the lawn in time for Better Farm's 40th Reunion Party in May.

Thinking about that reminded me of just how many people we're expecting that weekend; and how we're going to have to organize some sort of seating on the property that extends beyond our picnic table and campfire folding chairs.

There are a million ways to offer seating; from outdoor patio furniture to floor chairs to hammocks to benches. And with a little ingenuity, you too can have a festival (or lawn party)-ready property in no time.

You can find very basic DIY bench and seat plans online (complicated ones, too, if you're partricularly handy). I've always been a huge fan of DIY floor chairs in which you literally take a chair with a back and saw the legs off (see photo at top of this post, circa 1970 at Better Farm). Voila!

Patio dining sets are a little trickier to set up on your own, but the good news is that investing in a dependable one this year will guarantee you years of excellent outdoor wining and dining. If you're on a tight budget, consider scouring flea markets, thrift shops, and garage sales for mismatched wrought-iron pieces. Get a table, a a few chairs, and a can or two of black spray paint. Sand down your furniture, lay it outside on some newspaper, and spray it until all the pieces match. The differences in their design will only add to their appeal.

Lots of outdoor furniture stores are also selling what they call "conversation sets"—or, outdoor furniture designed to be comfortable enough for you to spend an afternoon holding high court in. From Adirondack chairs to cushioned seats for maxing poolside, this umbrella of outdoor furniture is set up for luxurious afternoons spent with good company. Count us in.  We'd also like to suggest that a conversation set should inspire conversation; as in, you explaining how you made it yourself, or having a story to go with the unusual design of the set you purchased.

In other words, make your outdoor seating arrangements sing with personality. Make your own weatherproof cushions; do your own spray painting to tie different pieces together; or come up with a lovely flower arrangement or centerpiece that will have your guests ooh-ing and aah-ing. Please share your ideas with us! And stay tuned to see our seating solutions for the May 30th bash; see-saw and all.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.