OK maybe rules isn’t the right word. It implies that you have to follow them. Guidelines might’ve been a better choice? Anyway, whatever you want to call them, these are 7 pointers that you need to at least think about when looking at buying outdoor furniture.
We’ve been in this industry for many years, and one of the things we here so often from friends, family and customers, is “oh I just bought that garden furniture on impulse”. They spend all their time and effort on landscaping and hardscaping their gardens.
They have a nice new patio, and they just pop to the local garden centre and pick up the first half decent set of furniture they see. Now I’m not saying that what you’ve bought is rubbish, far from it. But my response is always, you’ve probably just spent a bit of money, if you’d jumped online, done a little research, then you could have got better.
And by better, I mean furniture that has the wow factor, or that is constructed from materials that are designed to stand up to the elements with minimum maintenance. In fact all of this is achievable if you follow our 7 rules, guidelines, principles, whatever you want to call them…
1. Style of Outdoor Furniture
Styles of outdoor furniture, swing from the traditional to contemporary, with several shades in between. However, when it comes to style its generally all about personal preference rather than say materials or size.
Do you like inviting, comfortable outdoor sofas (as shown below), or are you more of a formal, wrought-iron dining set sort of person? Do you like sleek contemporary, or a laid back classical style? Whatever you buy, it has to be a reflection of you and your home.
And if you’re unsure, do a little research. Don’t just limit yourself to one style or the other too. Look at what works with your home, what fits your personality and how you use your garden.
If you like to dine outside, then pick a more formal dining set. If its all about relaxation, then a sofa set is for you. If space is a premium then, you should be looking at the small Bistro tables or a space saving stacking or cube style set (shown in the image below)… Shop around and find a style that ticks all your boxes!
2. Size of Outdoor Furniture
With all the different styles of outdoor furniture, it is easy to overlook the size factor. Many people purchase sets that are too small or too big for the outdoor space they have.
It is easy to be seduced by large outdoor dining or sofa set, only to find that when its on your patio there’s no room to move around it. You’ve got to measure before you buy. And its not just about fitting on the patio, it has to fit your family too. Will you have enough seats when friends drop round for a BBQ?
Take the time to measure the area you want to place the patio, get the dimensions of each piece you want to buy, and make sure that it fits, that you can still move around the patio when its in situ.
3. Durability of Outdoor Furniture
The type of materials used and quality of construction is the key to getting durability. Yes, it is vital that garden Furniture is built to stand up to the elements. But there are other aspects that will have an impact on how long the furniture lasts durability.
For a starter, do you have somewhere to store the furniture in winter? If you can store it indoor, it will reduce damage and the need to clean it, adding years on. If not then you want pieces that can be left outside all-year round, that aren’t going to be picked up and dumped at the bottom of the garden by a strong wind. Furniture that won’t rust in the rain or fade in the sun.
It can be all to easy to try and save a bit of money by purchasing cheaply-made outdoor furniture because the price is low. However, this is a false economy, its cheap for a reason, and you’ll only have to replace it in a year or two.
It is far more cost effective to shop around for better quality and more durable Outdoor furniture. Pieces that have been built to last and withstand all that mother nature can throw at it. We’re all tempted by a bargain, but look at the quality of materials, components, construction. You want furniture that will last for many years to come, only then is it a good deal!
4. Care & Maintenance of Outdoor Furniture
The best way to make your outdoor furniture last is by taking good care of it. Most garden furniture can be easily cleaned with warm water and a little washing up liquid. But the level of maintenance is ultimately determined by the material its made from.
For example, timber furniture will need a regular coat of stain to keep it protected. Cast Aluminium on the other-hand is best protected with a little car wax. Do your research, find out what you need to do to keep the furniture looking like new for many years to come.
5. Comfort of Outdoor Furniture
Comfort is critical. Yes it needs to look good, but what’s the point of even having it taking up space on your patio if you can’t use it? Sit in the chairs before you buy to get a feel for fit and comfort. Pull them to the table as you would for dining and see if it works for you.
If you’re buying online, then carefully check the specification. Speak to the retailer and check that the cushions supplied are of good quality. And most importantly, read what others are saying about the furniture.
At Lazy Susan we have a showroom, but its not always feasible for customers to visit. That’s when out testimonials take over. We’re very proud of the positive feedback we get about our furniture and service, so what let them speak for us.
6. Look at Samples & Check the Returns Policy
Checking the fine details can tell you a lot about the overall quality of the furniture. For example, are welded joints on metal furniture neatly done? Is timber furniture fitted together with quality stainless steel fixtures and fittings?
Again visit the showroom, take a detailed look at the spec, ask to see samples. If the website or showroom doesn’t clearly show the full spec of the furniture (including what materials have been used), then ask. Send an email or ask to see a copy of the assembly instructions. Most online companies can send them to you in PDF format.
But most importantly, before you buy, check the returns policy. Especially when shopping online. You need to know that if you’re not 100% happy with the product, it can be replaced or returned. You need trust, so pick up the phone. We pride ourselves on our customer service policy, but that can’t be said of all online outdoor furniture retailers!
7. Shop Around for Outdoor Furniture
Finally, before buying outdoor furniture, make sure you do you that research, and take the time to shop around… How do you know that what you’re paying for your new garden furniture is really a good deal without first shopping around?