What garden furniture is best for the UK climate?

We might be in our off-season but the cold wet weather has got us thinking about what garden furniture is best for the UK climate?

Here at Lazy Susan, we might be right in the middle of our off-season. The weather is cold, wet and generally miserable. However, that has got us all discussing what garden furniture is best for the UK climate? 

You’d think that because garden furniture is designed to go outside, it would be constructed from materials that will stand up to the element? 

And whilst this is definitely true with our Cast Aluminium Garden Furniture Collection, the same can’t be said for all materials.

Lazy Susan Garden Furniture in the Rain

Now, we are not saying that others are selling products that aren’t weatherproof, it’s just that they could be imported, and are maybe better suited to warmer climes. Or it could simply be that they require a little more maintenance to keep them resistant to the elements.

The Italians and Spanish for example produce some beautiful garden furniture, but as the old football analogy goes, "could they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke"? Are those pieces better suited to a sunny terrace than the Great British patio?

As Oscar Wilde famously said: 

“I don’t desire to change anything in England except the weather.” 

Our climate is temperate, and erm how can we put this politely, very changeable. We don’t get the extremes but we get everything else in between, sometimes all in one day. 

Cool, wet winters and warm (also wet, let’s be honest) summers but without the severe heat or cold, drought or wind that is common in other climates. 

We’re close to the path of the polar front jet stream, so frequent changes in pressure and unsettled weather are common.

All that means in garden furniture terms is that you need pieces that can stand up to it all. 

And to answer the question of what garden furniture is best for the UK climate, we would like to put forward the case for our cast aluminium range.

Why cast aluminium garden furniture is best for the UK climate?

Rose Garden in the Snow

A quick search on Google will reveal a number of articles of this type, all putting forward the case for a different material, usually what the company writing the article is selling. Fair enough, like us they believe in their product.

Teak outdoor furniture for example is often lauded for its superior natural all-weather capabilities. The high oil and natural resin content, make it more resistant to insects and impermeable to water. 

However, it is a scarce natural resource, and whilst sustainable, as such, it makes for a very expensive material. Albeit a very beautiful material if you can afford it.

Others will argue the case for HDPE plastics as the best outdoor furniture material. Extremely low maintenance and fully weatherproof, it will last for a number of years. 

Now that is all well and good for the cold and rain but what if that wind picks up? OK, not many materials could have stood up to the winds of Storm Arwen but I bet there were more plastic/resin pieces in next doors garden than timber or metal!

June Garden Table in the Rain

You see our point though… 

All garden furniture materials have their pros and cons. That is what you need to consider before you purchase something new. 

Of course, we can’t tell you what to buy, but we can clarify why a great all-rounder such as Cast Aluminium is a logical purchase for the climate here in the UK.

And when it comes to the climate in the UK, we need outdoor furniture that can stand up to wind, rain, sun and snow. 

In terms of temperature range, in summer, the average temperature ranges from 9–18 degrees Celsius, whilst the wintertime will see the average drop to 2 and 7 degrees Celsius but that will regularly dip below 0 degrees Celsius.

As for how we judge the suitability of a material, for us, in terms of why we opted for cast aluminium as our core material, and what or QC/Product Development team look for, it is a combination of weight (or sturdiness), protection from the elements, low maintenance and value for money.

How to assess what type of garden furniture is best for the UK climate?

So let’s look at those factors and why we think cast aluminium ticks each box when it comes to sitting in a garden here in the UK.

1. Weight of garden furniture material

The advantage cast aluminium has over other materials is that it is not too heavy (see cast iron or timber) but it is not too light (see plastic or rattan furniture). It sits right in the middle. And what that means is that it is less likely to blow over when the wind picks up but not so heavy that you can’t pick it up and move it.

Many of us want our garden furniture to sit outside all year round. We either have no place to store it, we simply don’t want the hassle of putting it away during the winter months or we think the garden looks empty without it.

Now as we mentioned earlier, in the case of 70mph+ winds, no material is safe. You have to look at moving it inside or to a safe part of the garden where you can stack it/secure it.

And that is why we think Cast Aluminium gives you the best of both. 

Even our larger 6+ Seater Garden Tables can be easily picked up and moved by two people. Not so easier with an equivalent sized table in a heavier material. 

Those high storm level winds are rare, so chances are you can leave it where it is most of the time, however, with plastic even a stiff breeze could send it hurtling down the garden. And yes, garden furniture is designed to go outside, but being blown over will damage it.

2. Level of protection

The level of protection is another area where each material will have its advantages and disadvantages.  

We all know that wood is going to need to be stained or painted to protect it. Rot is a constant threat as we see so much rain.

Some timbers have a better level of natural protection than others but they will still ‘weather’ if not protected. And that’s OK if you like that silvery/green sun-faded look. Others will need to be stained to keep them safe from the rain and sun.

Most modern plastics and poly-rattan pieces on the other hand require very little protection. The materials used are formulated to be fully waterproof and to not fade from the suns UV rays. 

That said, plastic is susceptible to scratching, while poly-rattan can easily split. If that happened with timber it is easy to repair, with plastics very tricky, you’ll never get it looking like new.

Hence why we think cast aluminium makes for a more sensible choice here in the UK. Our garden furniture is painted with a strong protective finish. This means the metal itself will not pit or rust. It makes our furniture fully water-resistant and protected from the suns UV rays.

If you’re interested in how our cast aluminium garden furniture range is made, please read our How we make our furniture page.

You can leave our garden tables and chairs etc on your patio all year round, in sun, rain and snow and they’ll be perfectly fine. As we state in our FAQs:

“Our furniture is made of sand-cast aluminium which is powder-coated to produce a beautiful and durable finish. It won’t rust or rot and can indeed be left outside, uncovered, even through the harshest of winters. Our cushions, although water-resistant, should be kept covered when not in use, to ensure that they remain in excellent condition, ready when you need them, for years to come.”

All of the above said, me personally, I like to cover my own Lazy Susan Garden furniture set with a cover I purchased from Amazon. I know the furniture has its own protective finish, but it just helps to keep it clean and ready to use when the warmer weather returns! 

3. Level of maintenance

Protection leads us nicely on to maintenance. The level of protection correlates with the level of maintenance required. 

For example, plastic and poly-rattan pieces will only ever need a wipe down with warm soapy water and that’ll keep them looking like new for many years to come. 

Timber, on the other hand, well you could find yourself sanding and staining every other year or so. At the very least it will probably need a protective coating of some description applied to protect it from the UK climate.

Cast Aluminium again just felt like the sensible choice when Michael Scott was starting Lazy Susan. He did extensive research, and whilst all these factors convinced him that it was the right material, the fact it was low-maintenance but offered a great level of protection definitely swayed him.

Again, all you need to do with our furniture is give it a wipe down with warm soapy water. If you wanted to give it a little extra protection you could wash it with a car wash with wax or even apply a little wax after washing and drying.

The integrity of the painted finish is of course critical. If you do scratch a table top for example or chip a chair leg on a stone patio, then touch it up immediately. However, again that’s a simple job as shown in the video below:

4. Cost of garden furniture

Last but by no means least is cost. And whilst last, on our list, it is often one of (if not the) biggest factor when it comes to making a decision on what to buy. We all have a budget and we should all stick to it.

However, when it comes to garden furniture you definitely get what you pay for. And by that, we mean the quality of the material and its ability to stand up to the elements. Not always but most of the time.

Cheaper garden furniture constructed from lower-cost materials will simply not last as long. Leave it outside exposed to the elements and it will need replacing after a few summers of use. If we go back to the earlier example of teak, then it’ll cost a lot but last a long time even when exposed to mother nature.

With cast aluminium, we like to think we fit in the middle. You are not paying a premium price but you're getting a material that performs just as well. You’re also not getting a lower cost DIY store set that will simply not last.

At the end of the day, just weigh up the pros and cons. Of course, you have to love the look and style first and foremost, then it must be within budget, but the material is a factor many overlook. 

We want furniture that looks great on our patios but will function for many years to come in all weather without the need for extensive maintenance. If you ask us, it is always cast aluminium garden furniture that comes out on top! 

If you have any further questions about our products or how they’re made, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

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