Essential Elements of a Garden Reading Nook

Essential Elements of a Garden Reading Nook

Sarah Dobbins
Apr 20, 2012

It's this time of the year — not too cold, but not obnoxiously hot — that makes me want to be outside more than inside. Several times I've gone out into the yard, book in hand, ready to read and relax… and ended up just wandering around, not really finding a comfortable place to land. I've perched on a bench, or the sidewalk, or on the grass, and tried my best to bask in the outdoors, but just ended up back inside with a sigh and a crick in my neck.

I want to create an outdoor space that is comforting and inviting, so I thought I'd make a list of things that add up to the perfect outdoor reading nook. Whether or not I'll be able to pull off this creation is another issue, but for now… it's fun to dream.

1. A perfect seat. I know this sets the bar rather high, but a good chair can make or break a reading spot. I find adirondack-style seating a little too reclined, a camp chair style a little too sunk in — there's also the chaise, the hammock… so many options! Corradi's lacy loveseat (photo 18) is made from aluminum, teak, and steel and looks very bookworm-friendly, but that leads me to my next point…

2. Cushions. If you have outdoor cushions, are you committed to moving them indoors every evening and at every threat of rain? Or is outdoor, waterproof fabric and good foamcore enough to resist the elements? This article from Good Housekeeping talks about three outdoor cushion winners that stood up to their comfort and durability tests.

3. A sturdy, level table is a must. Even just a small space to set a drink or my phone without fear of it being tripped over (or tipped over!) would vastly improve outdoor seating. This teak side table is simple and spacious, and even has a shelf on the bottom. Or go the DIY route and make your own, with these plans from Ana White.

4. Shady options. In the cooler weather, it's nice to think about getting some sun, but once the temperature starts creeping up, my reading spot will have to land in the shade. Luckily, my yard has lots of little shady nooks, but what if yours doesn't? Here's an article on creating backyard shade from Elle Decor.

5. Ambiance. Okay, so this one isn't all that important. But to create a little backyard retreat, it's fun to think about some candles (especially mosquito-banishing ones!), drapes, or pretty planters to complete the area. I've collected five inspirational garden scenes that I'd take my book to in a heartbeat; see those spaces above!

Share your thoughts below; what are some essential elements to a comfortable outdoor space?

Colleen's Lazy Outdoor Reading Nook
How To… Create a Comfortable Outdoor Space
Outdoor Spaces That Inspire

(Images: 1. The Designophile, 2. Urban Outfitters, 3. Desde My Ventana via Escapade, 4. West Elm, 5. Katrin Arens via econest.)

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