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Buying guide: Outdoor furniture

Outdoor Furniture

Bringing furnishings and outdoor accessories into your garden will transform your outdoor space into an additional room that can be used all through the summer. Whether you’re planning a garden party, fancy dining al fresco or are seeking some peace and quiet, you can create a relaxed outdoor haven that you will never want to leave.

As with buying investment pieces for your home, choosing outdoor furniture and accessories for your outside space can be a big decision.

From which materials are best suited to your purposes to how to keep your garden furniture in good condition, our expert design team have put together this guide of everything you need to know to make choosing garden furniture you love hassle free.

01. Choosing your pieces

Garden furniture is now every bit as flexible and stylish as the furniture you choose for your home, meaning you can completely tailor your garden area to suit your own tastes and needs.

There are lots of options to consider – the right choice will be an extension of your interior style yet durable enough to weather the elements. Invest in the best quality furniture you can afford, and choose high quality materials over of-the-moment designs.

Every garden is unique, so take into account the layout as you choose your furniture. Consider where the sun hits and whether there are any large trees that will produce pollen or shed leaves that could become troublesome.

Finally, be mindful of any practical considerations that might have an impact on the type of garden furniture that works best. Think about:

  • Space
    The same way you would when planning your indoor living space, measure how much space you have and make sure you have enough so furniture fits comfortably and people have room to move around.
  • Storage
    We always recommend storing your furniture inside during the winter months in a garage or garden shed. If you’re short on space, choose pieces that can be folded and packed away or invest in some heavy tarpaulin to cover and protect your furniture if you intend to let it remain outdoors.
  • Decking
    If your furniture will be on your patio rather than directly on concrete tiles or grass, be sure it’s robust enough to withstand furniture being dragged and moved around.

Think about how you plan to enjoy your outdoor space – will this be an outdoor dining room or a relaxed, informal space where you enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper in the sun? Cater your choices to accommodate the activities you do most.

Mix and match different pieces to create your perfect garden setup:

  • Dining tables
    Tables and chairs will give you space to gather and enjoy a meal with family and friends.
  • Sofas, Armchairs & Loungers
    Armchairs, sofas and loungers are perfect for creating a relaxed environment to really savour those sunny days. Keep in mind your garden’s dimensions to make sure you choose pieces that provide enough seating but don’t overwhelm your space.
  • Benches
    Benches or picnic tables are a great solution for communal seating when you’re short on space. They are inexpensive and durable, making them perfect for creating an area for the kids.
  • Hammocks & Swings
    A hammock or swing in a sunny spot is the ultimate in relaxed luxury – swing seats for two are a great way to enjoy some time with your partner or read with your children under the sun.

outdoor furniture

02. Materials

Once you know what you need, deciding what your furniture will be made of is the next most important consideration for your outdoor space. The materials you choose will not only dictate the style and overall look but will also impact how well each piece performs against all the elements. Here are the benefits of each:

  • Teak
    Teak is a tropical hardwood with a gorgeous rich colour that is very hardwearing, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. Teak is packed with natural oils that will help prevent the pieces being damaged and are durable enough to remain outdoors– perfect if you’re short on storage space. Whether outside year round or only in summer, teak will distress and change colour over time, so take that into consideration too. It will gradually silver and show marks and splits in the wood – this is a normal part of the ageing process and can give your teak garden furniture an elegant rustic look.
  • Rattan
    Rattan furniture is traditionally made from woven palm, but more often now is crafted from a much more durable synthetic material that produces the same effect. Rattan furniture is ready to take on even the harshest elements and creates a chic, laid-back style that looks fabulous year after year. There are a huge range of colourways to choose from with synthetic woven furniture, making it easy to compliment the colours and tones already present in your home and patio.
  • Woven
    Poly-rattan and resin weave garden furniture still exude the relaxed style of the natural material but with a number of added benefits. As well as being weather resistant, these pieces can stay outdoors all year round meaning you don’t have to find storage space for them when the weather turns bad. It is also very durable and is unlikely to tear, fray or break and will remain looking as good as new.
  • Metal
    Metal furniture has a powder coated aluminium frame that is lightweight, scratch resistant, weather proof and will not rust. Powder coated aluminium also requires very little maintenance but if the aluminium is on show, after a few years of use it might need a little sprucing to keep it looking shiny and pristine.

garden trading

03. Additional accessories

Once you have chosen your garden furniture you can start creating a gorgeous garden oasis for the summer season through accessories and finishing touches.

  • Parasols
    Parasols offer shade on a sunny day and can also block UV rays. Use them as a focal point or add a touch of brightness to your garden style using vibrant colours and patterns.
  • Cushions
    Cushions are another way to introduce colour and texture to your outdoor scheme and make hard pieces of furniture more comfortable. Look for water-resistant materials and fillings that are quick drying in case they are unexpectedly caught in the rain.
  • Patio heaters
    A patio heater makes it possible to really embrace outdoor living even when the sun has gone down. They provide warmth and add a cosy glow to your space as the temperatures drop. A wall-mounted patio heater is a great solution if you want to save space. If you intend to use your heater regularly, choosing one that is powered by an electrical supply is a more cost-efficient solution than fuel. Outdoor fire pits or chimeneas can also add an atmospheric dimension to your garden…

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