Metal garden furniture is the perfect choice if you want good looks, rigid construction, low maintenance and longevity. It is the most popular material used in the construction of garden furniture in the UK today, and for good reason, its flexibility allows manufacturers to create a wide variety of unique designs and styles, from classical to contemporary. But an ability to stand up to the elements is what sets it apart from other materials.
It has the distinct advantage that it needs very little maintenance and is supplied treated or powder coated from the factory to resist the good old British weather. Modern wrought iron furniture for example can be expensive, but with a little careful maintenance, can easily last a lifetime.
The key to choosing the right metal garden furniture, is getting the right size and the right number of individual pieces to fit on your patio or decking. Too big and the space will be cramped, too small and it can look lost. Metal garden furniture sets are available from two people bistro sets up to the large dining tables that can accommodate as many as 12 people. Start by setting yourself a budget and measuring the space you have available in your garden or on your patio for the new furniture.
It is also important to think about how often you will use the furniture, and for what purpose you will use the furniture, as this will also determine what size etc you need. For example, do you tend to use your garden for family BBQ’s or is is just Sunday morning coffee with the papers for 2? How many people does the furniture need to accommodate?
What type of metal garden furniture should you buy?
The 3 main types of metal garden furniture sold in the UK are cast aluminium, cast iron and Steel, with the first two being the real big sellers. Cast Iron is the most expensive material with steel being the lowest price option, however, each type has different pros and cons, so its worth doing a little research before you buy:
- Cast Aluminium
Cast aluminium metal garden furniture is light weight and super stylish, with a variety of classical and modern sets on the market. It does not rust, is very durable, is easy to maintain and is designed to be left outside all year round. The majority of cast aluminium furniture is supplied powder coated aluminium to give the aluminium a smooth finish that comes in a variety of different colours. It also makes the furniture easier to clean and provides further protection from the elements. Due to the lightweight nature of the furniture it is easy to lift and move around but this also means its not ideal to leave it in exposed windy areas.
- Cast Iron
Cast iron metal garden furniture on the other hand is heavy so it can be left out all year round, but on the flip side is difficult to pick up and move if you need to. As with cast aluminium it also comes in a wide range of different designs, but generally you'll find a lot more traditional styles in the UK with intricate metal working and details. It is easy to keep clean but can be prone to rust and over the years it will need to be re-painted to protect it. We are starting to see more sets that are powder coated now too, which greatly helps to prevent the dreaded rust.
- Stainless Steel
Steel metal garden furniture is an attractive and affordable option. It is very lightweight, lighter that cast aluminium, so is easy to move around, but best stored indoors. Steel furniture is mostly used to construct more modern looking furniture, but not exclusively and there are some great vintage pieces out there. Steel furniture has a high tendency to rust if not cared for correctly, but with the development of new production techniques, high quality primer paints etc it has gained a renewed popularity in recent years.
Historically it was cast iron garden furniture that dominated the market, but its heavy and has to be painted every year to stop it rusting. Now the cast iron style/patterns can be replicated in cast aluminium, which is lighter and doesn't need painting as it doesn't rust. The surface can oxidise and become pitted, but this can be prevented by coasting the furniture with car wax/polish.
New powder coated wrought iron frames on the other hand have the weight if you want it and that added protection, while stainless steel is usually polished to show off its natural high shine.
So now you have an idea of which type of metal furniture is best for you, what about the actual pieces of furniture? Do you want a bistro table for 2 or is a metal bench to use as a focal point more what you're looking for? Metal garden furniture is available in a wide variety of forms and here we'll run down some of the more popular...
Bistro style metal garden furniture
Over the last decade, the trend for flexible French style 2 seater bistro sets for the garden has continued to rise as they provide a simple, light weight, convenient and flexible option that saves on space. A bistro table is simply a small table that usually has a round top and seats two to four people. The name comes from the fact that its styled just like the type of table you'd see in cafe and, of course, a bistro.
Metal bistro tables are commonly used in outdoor settings because they stand up to the elements better than say a wooden bistro table. In most cases, a bistro table comes in a set that includes two matching chairs. Some sets now come with four folding chairs, but for that classic French feel, two is best.
Metal dining sets
Outdoor dining sets are often viewed as the practical option, and I don't mean that in a negative way, a good dining set is the perfect choice to make your patio look inviting. They're the perfect solution for those who like to entertain relatives and friends or dine al fresco.
Easily the biggest selling item of garden furniture in the UK, there's a multitude of different dining sets available on the current market for you to choose from. The key to buying a metal dining set is to determine a few basic requirements that will help you establish what size, style etc is best for the space you have.
The fist question you need to ask when choosing a dining set is how many chairs do you need? You need to think about the available space in your garden or on the patio and how many people you want to seat. Always ask what the required floor space is for the dining set. For example our 10 seater Victoria set needs 400cm x 330 cm of floor space, while our 4 seater Amy dining set only needs a 270cm diameter of floor space.
Many people just go over the size of the table, but it is vital you factor in the chairs, space for people to sit comfortable and space to move around when in use. Once you've decided how much space you've got to plat with, and you've an idea of how many seats you'd like, then you can look at the material type and style of furniture you want.
Classical metal garden furniture
Classical metal garden furniture has always had a place in every country gardens thanks to its durability and the romantic feel it brings to your patio and garden. From the traditional cast iron Victorian style with a cream finish, to classical lattice style of our Valeria table and chairs.
And classical doesn't have to mean old. Yes you can get some stunning vintage Victorian garden furniture, after all it was built to last. There are many options out there and Lazy Susan's newer light weight cast aluminium garden furniture delivers that timeless look with all the benefits of modern materials and construction. If you have a traditional looking home, then it deserves a classic piece of timeless garden furniture.
Modern metal garden furniture
Modern metal garden furniture boasts stability, clean lines, and sophisticated simplicity. If you want to create a beautifully modern home then you have to add contemporary garden furniture. You can get stylish modern furniture made from every material you can think of, from resin plastics to synthetic rattan. But you'll find it hard to beat modern designs in metal. Many manufacturers are now pairing metal with other material such as glass and poly rattan to create new and exciting contemporary furniture that can not only last a long time, but also looks beautiful.
Of course the design is the key factor when looking for contemporary furniture but the material is also a vital consideration. And if you decide to go for a contemporary style for your garden furniture, then please make sure that the set you choose is comfortable, so you can relax and enjoy it. Form is important but for me function comes first every time, and the oval hanging chair by Gardeners World (shown above) is the perfect combination of comfort and modern design.
Metal outdoor benches
A small metal bench with a pretty intricate woven design makes a great focal point and looks great placed against a wall or in small backyard style gardens. To get maximum use, place your metal bench in a quiet spot, away from the wind where you can enjoy a mix of shade and sun throughout the day. Metal benches come in lots of designs, from modern curves to intricate classically styled motifs.
Metal sun loungers