You shouldn’t have to think about your home’s outdoor living space. You should be able to use it, love it, and have it simply meet your needs whenever duty calls.
This kind of effortless enjoyment does, however, require a little initial planning.
Today, let’s get really practical and take a look at an absolutely essential aspect of your patio or deck that is easy to overlook. If you get this particular detail right, the functionality of your space will be a home run, but if you miss it, well, it will definitely be missed.
What are we talking about? Seating. Specifically, this article focuses on built-in seating options for your deck or patio.
Should You Invest in Outdoor Furniture or Built-In Seating?
There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
Outdoor furniture, like tables, chairs, and even sofas, get bonus points for being stylish and comfy. They also can be changed out after a few years as trends change or your taste goes in a different direction. In other words, you aren’t locking yourself into a lifetime commitment, and that takes some of the pressure off your design and style decisions.
But there are several benefits to built-in seating:
- Cheaper in the long run – As fun as updates are, you need to be ready to absorb the expense of repair and replacement.
- Retain more space – Chairs, tables, and sofas all eat up the square footage of a deck or patio.
- Options– There are only so many configurations you can create to accommodate a crowd.
- Don’t have to store it over winter – If you live in a climate where the seasons change drastically, are you prepared to store furniture during wet or colder months?
- More seating – if you build bench seating along the perimeter of a deck or even just along one entire side, that’s a lot of seating; much more than you’d get from buying patio furniture.
So, how about built-in seating options?
You can past the aesthetics of built-in seating by investing in craftsmanship as you design and build your deck or patio, and craftsmanship never goes out of style. As we dig into examples of some of your options below, you’ll see wood and stone designs that you can rest assured will stand the test of time, both structurally and aesthetically.
15 Built-In Deck and Patio Seating Ideas
How to build a built-in deck
Here’s our list of 15 different built-in deck/patio seating ideas.
1. The Backless Bench
Versatile, comfortable, and attractive, there’s a lot to love about built-in benches. One added benefit is that you can add storage to the design, blending an extra dose of functionality into the mix.
2. The Bench with Back
3. The Bench/Railing Combo
4. Curved Bench
If your deck includes a graceful curve, why not maximize the space by turning that curve into priceless seating? This also keeps the primary space wide open for whatever else you might need: fire pit, dance floor, appetizer table, etc…
5. L-Shaped Bench
Noticing a trend here? It’s hard to go wrong with a bench!
An L-shaped bench can also be a beneficial space-maximizer since it’s capable of wrapping around a fixed element. After all, can you really have too much seating? Not in our experience.
6. U-Shaped Bench
You can take it one step further and wrap your built-in deck along the perimeter of 3 deck edges. Check it out:
Swings can add a nice aesthetic and comfy seat on any patio. There are 2 main types of deck swings:
b. Suspend from Overhang
Whether built-in or freestanding, a swing adds a warm, home-cooked ambiance just as much as a pleasant place to park yourself.
8. Stone/Concrete Seating
If you prefer a stone patio over a wood deck, we hear you! And, you can still create many of the beneficial seating arrangements that we touched on above. Stone benches are beautiful, as are low stone walls that provide not only a defined outline of your patio, but also a convenient spot to sit.
You can also build concrete benches, but I think stone is better (unless you use concrete to form the shape and add stone on top).
Here’s a ton of seating around a propane fuelled custom fire pit.
9. Multi-Level Deck Built-In Seating
If your deck is more than one level, you can incorporate built-in seating on the lower deck levels against the upper levels. Check it out:
10. Floating Built-In Deck Seating
Floating anything is a popular design feature. Think floating sinks, floating desks (see #7) and floating shelves. Well there’s also floating built-in deck seating. Check it out:
11. The Planter Seat
When you can combine functions, that’s a real bonus. One way to make your deck or patio look better and offer seating is to do a bench/planter combo. Check it out:
12. The Built-In Dining Table
This is super interesting for smaller decks and balconies. The entire space is a built in dining table in the picnic table style. Check it out:
13. Deck Hammock
We’d be remiss if we failed to include the “siesta” seat of all time being the hammock. You can easily incorporate a hammock on a patio. 2 Types:
a. Purpose-built hammock posts:
DIY hammock here.
b. Use existing structural posts.
In this case the hammock is suspended from the fixed awning support posts.
c. Hanging Hammock
Check this out:
Image source: DIY Network
14. Log Seating
It doesn’t get much simpler than log seats especially if you have a chainsaw. Notice how example below also uses the log seats as a wall/border for the garden.
Bust out your trowel and build a brick bench. You can get creative with brick and can create something pretty cool. Our example incorporates wood for the seat but uses brick for the frame. They also used the same brick to build a matching fire pit.
Finally, check this awesome DIY cinder block bench:
That wraps up our list of built-in deck and patio seating ideas.
Most people opt for something simple built of wood; however, for the more elaborate stone patios, adding a large, custom built-seating location can add a tremendous number of seats on your patio.
How do you choose the type of built-in
Generally it’ll boil down to what kind of deck or patio you have. If your patio is stone, you may want to invest in stone seating (although wood can look good). Likewise, if a wood patio, it’s pretty easy to incorporate built-in wood seating.
As for shape and size, it really boils down to your deck/patio.
TIP: Even if you opt for built-in seating, leave enough space for regular patio furniture. You probably will want a dining set because it ain’t fun sitting in a row on a bench eating dinner.
Gerety Building & Restoration is a full-service general contractor. For over 35 years, Keith Gerety and team has provided clients with a hands-on approach while maintaining a personal commitment to customer satisfaction and delivering the best quality construction in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.