Garden furniture Buying guide
Picking the perfect garden furniture is essential for getting the most out of your outdoor space.
Before you make any choices, the first question you have to ask is, what do I want to use my garden for? Is it for entertaining or for relaxing? Will you be sharing it with the family, or spending intimate evenings with someone special?
Maybe it's for all of those things. But you'll need to have an idea of how you want to enjoy your outdoors before you can start to think about all the options available.
Practical things to consider
After you've thought about how you're going to enjoy your garden, it's time to start thinking about some of the practical matters you'll need to consider before making your choice.
Make sure you get a full idea of how much room you have. Measure your available space and ensure there's not just enough room for furniture, but also for people to move around it.
Where is your furniture going to go once the weather turns cold? It's important to consider where and how you're going to store your furniture. If you're going to store it in a shed or garage, check if it can be folded or stacked.
Choose carefully if you're planning to keep it outside, as not all furniture is suitable for this. Although buying a furniture cover will certainly be beneficial.
Make sure your patio is strong enough to hold a full patio set plus guests. Also consider whether it's robust enough not to be damaged by chairs getting scraped across it.
What material should I choose?
Garden furniture is available in four different material types, each one with their own benefits and drawbacks...
Wooden garden furniture
Wooden furniture fits seamlessly into traditional gardens and is designed for strength and durability.
Wood doesn't retain heat, so it won't get hot on summer days. It's relatively low maintenance, but should be treated annually to protect it against warping and water damage. It's also generally a bit heavier.
Incredibly durable, this material often looks better once aged and weathered over time.
It can be treated with wax, stained or painted to the colour of your choice.
Rattan designs have always been incredibly popular. Modern rattan-effect furniture is made from woven strands of coated plastic, which provide the same traditional look but without the risk of damage, damp or snagging your clothes.
It's weather resistant, lightweight and easy to clean. It requires little maintenance, and is suitable for keeping outdoors in winter.
Softer to the touch than real wicker.
Easy to clean - simply remove your cushions and hose or wipe down.
Metal garden furniture
Metal furniture offers you a wider range of styles and designs, both modern and traditional. It's durable, hardwearing and low maintenance. You may need to take precautions against rust, but most designs are now rust-resistant.
Metal's flexibility allows for many designs to be folded for easy storage. It's generally lightweight, although this depends on the style or metal your furniture's made from.
Storing metal furniture is simpler in cooler months thanks to light materials, foldable designs and removable parts.
Plastic garden furniture
Plastic's a more affordable choice. Hard to damage and very lightweight, plastic is a great choice for families and they usually stack for tidy storage. They're also weather resistant and safe to keep outdoors, but can warp if exposed to the sun for long periods.
Types of garden furniture
Now for the big choice - what type of furniture to choose...
Table and chair sets
Furniture sets help to create a welcoming space for enjoying your garden with friends and family. Table and chair sets are available with 2 to 8 chairs, providing enough room for gatherings large and small.
Chairs and loungers
If you see your garden as a more relaxing space, then explore stylish, relaxing chairs and comfy, reclining loungers. They're ideal for unwinding on lazy sunny days.
Garden benches & arbours
A lovely addition to a more traditional outdoor space, benches and arbours provide a beautiful intimate spot for enjoying the sunshine and your garden.
Hammocks & swing seats
If a lounger doesn't offer enough relaxation for you, then choose a hammock to really laze away those summer days.
To add a sweet, sentimental touch, choose a swing seat. It's another great choice for relaxing with a loved one, and the kids will love it too.
We've already touched on furniture care, but it's worth looking in depth at the time and effort required to keep your furniture in tip-top condition.
Caring for wooden furniture
Wooden furniture may require annual treatments with a specific oil or stain. Woods with a waxy finish should be cleaned with a dry, soft cloth, while hard woods can be scrubbed with warm soapy, water.
If treated regularly, wooden furniture should be safe to keep outdoors over winter. When not in use, keep furniture in a shaded area to reduce the risk of warping in the sunlight.
Caring for rattan-effect furniture
Rattan-effect furniture is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth, but isn't suitable for cleaning with a scourer or a pressure washer.
Rattan-effect furniture is weather resistant, but shouldn't be left outdoors during winter.
Caring for metal furniture
Metal furniture can easily be cleaned with warm, soapy water, but don't use a scourer as they cause scratches. Pressure washers should only be used on a low setting. Dry thoroughly to avoid water marks and streaks.
You can leave most metal furniture outdoors, but check whether your furniture offers rust protection, or else it may need regular anti-rust treatment.
Caring for plastic furniture
Plastic furniture is easy to clean with warm, soapy water or a pressure washer on a low setting. But it can become weakened and distorted in direct sunlight, so keep it in a shaded area when not in use, even during winter.
While it is safe to keep outdoors all year, be sure to secure your furniture, as it's very vulnerable to windy weather.
Before making your final choice, you should also consider what other accessories you may need to add the finishing touches to your garden.
Parasols offer shade on hot days and add a beautiful feature to your garden furniture. They also keep the sun off food and drinks, helping them to stay cool.
Many garden tables provide space for a parasol, but there are also free-standing models available.
Choose from a variety of parasol base materials such as concrete, wood or granite to secure and hold your parasol safely in all weather conditions.
A furniture cover is a great idea even if you're planning to store furniture indoors during the winter. They help to keep it protected from the weather and keep it clean. And during the summer a cover can help reduce the risk of sun damage.
A selection of beautiful cushions are available to fit garden furniture of all styles and sizes for that extra touch of comfort.
To add a larger shaded area, a retractable awning is a good option. It attaches to the side of your home and is easy to pull out any time the weather's bright. For a less permanent choice, choose an easy-to-assemble temporary gazebo to create shelter for your next party.
Making your choice and getting it delivered
If you're ready to make your choice, then it's time to shop.
If you're still struggling, why not get in touch for some friendly advice.
But before you buy, consider our range of delivery options, so you can collect all your garden furniture at a place and time that's convenient.
You can reserve many of our items online and collect them in store. Subject to availability.
Receive your order within 3 - 5 days for as little as £3.95 P&P.
Have your order delivered within 2 days and at a time that suits you for £19.99. Selected items only.