There are lots of different styles and materials to choose from when it comes to garden furniture, and householders are not constrained in their choices by the vagaries of the weather as much today as they were in years gone by. If you just remember to protect cushions and untreated wooden items against inclement conditions all year round you can use whatever furnishings you wish in the garden, according to personal taste.
Here is our guide on choosing the right garden furniture for your needs.
What to do want to do – Relaxing and Dining
For somewhere to relax, sunbathe or read a book, there are sun loungers, relaxers, steamer chairs even deck chairs. Dining requires a table with suitable chairs, folding chairs are useful for rare larger parties. In both cases consider a parasol or similar for those rare sunny days.
Plastic furniture is cheap and weather resistant. Cushions add comfort and improve appearance. You get what you pay for, cheaper versions tend to look it, and in the worst cases can collapse under weight! White tends to look shabby quickly so darker colours are preferable. Sun rays degrades the plastic overtime. To prolong their life, bring them in when not in use.
Wooden garden furniture is timeless, classy and practical. Teak (but only from sustainable sources) is the ideal choice, it is long lasting and easy to maintain. Once a year a good clean and a new coat of teak oil will keep it in peak condition. Left untreated, it will develop a more silvery-grey rustic look. Other woods may be cheaper but are less durable.
Although teak park benches are out in all seasons, we still advise to bring them indoors in winter if you have space.
Framed metal furniture ranges from cheap practical picnic chairs and bistro sets through to luxury loungers. They are strong and most fold flat for storage. Typically steel, overtime they will rust if left out in the weather. Usually though, any upholstery fails before the frame.
Textolene is a new material it’s weather resistant and claimed to not fade in the sun. It require occasional cleaning with soapy water.
Cast aluminium furniture is strong, durable and attractive. Cushions add extra comfort. Leave outside all year round, they are completely maintenance free giving you years of constant use without requiring any treatment. Protect from winds so they cannot blow over.
There are many different types of contemporary and classic sets available, depending on taste. Single-piece garden chairs are better than the welded variety as they will probably outlive you and the rest of the house.
Wicker furniture is ideal for summer as it can be easily accessorised with the use of colourful cushions; it is also extremely fashionable. This material comes from Southeast Asia and is used there in the hot, humid and sunny conditions to provide comfort and durability. If opting for wicker you would be wise to choose the all-weather variety, which strictly speaking is not wicker at all but a woven resin fibre which is resistant to all weather conditions.
Although it’s great to see the sun, too much direct sun can be harmful and uncomfortable. Whatever furniture you buy, make sure you have a suitable parasol, it needs to be large enough to provide sufficient shade. If you garden is big enough, it’s worth considering having more than one seating area, one in the sun and another in the shade.
Accessories and Lighting
Add a dash of colour with cushions, tablecloths or placemats. Citronella oil lamps or candles claim to help deter flying insects. Battery powered LED light strings can easily be attached to parasols and patio plants for effect.`