Get value for money from your garden furniture

With more and more of us choosing to enjoy a bit of outdoor entertaining or a spot of al fresco dining in our gardens when the sun shines, many leading interior designers are now starting to turn their attention to the patio and designing some really exciting and contemporary outdoor furniture pieces in a wide variety of style. However, when it comes to choosing new garden furniture, this recent influx of new styles and materials is simply making the decision even more complicated. As with any large piece of furniture you’d purchase for the inside of your home, it is important that you look for garden furniture that is constructed to the highest standards and from the best quality materials your budget will stretch to. Garden furniture should last for many years, and just like a living room sofa, you don’t want to be replacing if every few years.

Alice Round 4 Seater Garden Table

Lazy Susan won’t be the first to tell you that teak outdoor furniture is expensive and that you can go online or to your local garden centre and buy some plastic garden furniture at a fraction of the cost. In fact, you could probably buy a full patio set in plastic for the price of one teak chair. But and it is a big but, you will have to replace that plastic furniture in say 3 years, while the teak could last anywhere up to 20 years or more if properly looked after. Plus, you can leave it outside all year. The rain won’t cause it to warp, the cold weather will not cause it to crack, the wind will not blow it away and the sun will have no effect at all. Try saying that about plastic. Not that I’m dismissing plastic garden furniture. Not at all! It can be super stylish and has many advantages. I’m just trying to make the point that it is vital you think about what you are buying, and how it will be used, before you buy it.

Furniture, be that for the inside or outside of your home, needs to be stylish, but comfort is also extremely important. Also, as I’ve just mentioned, choose garden furniture that is also built to last. The idea is to relax on your garden furnitute and enjoy a spot of outdoor living for many years to come. There’s such a vast array of materials that are suitable for use in the garden such as: stainless steel, cast aluminium, wrought iron, synthetic rattan or wicker, treated hard woods, toughened glass, stone, plastics and so much more. Even those who want to get something a little more eco-friendly are catered for with the recent introduction to the market of some excellent outdoor furniture that has been designed in recycled materials. Any of these choices will work well in the UK and stand up to our climate.

It is so important that you look at the workmanship that’s gone into each piece of garden furniture to ensure you’re getting good quality. The internet is a great resource when looking to purchase garden furniture. It is an extremely competitive playing field, so retailers are forced to offer attractive prices. You’ll frequently find discount garden furniture at prices that even the end-of-seasons sales can’t provide. The key thing when it comes to buying online is to have a good idea about what you want to buy before you go online, but make sure you don’t compromise on quality. Stick to trusted retailers, look for any hidden costs such as extra delivery charges, contact them by phone or arrange to visit any local showrooms.

Before you buy, ask yourself the following questions to establish what are the right pieces of garden furniture for the outdoor space you want them to sit:

  • How often and at what times of day do you use your patio?
  • What specific items of furniture are you looking for?
  • How much sun does your patio typically get per day?
  • What materials will provide the right combination of style and durability that you should be looking for?
  • What do you need to do to maintain the appearance of your new garden furniture?

Types of garden furniture

These days there’s almost as many different types of garden furniture available as there is furniture for your living room. Chairs come in a wide range of different styles, sizes, materials and colours. Tables can feature tops made of anything from, timber and glass to concrete and mosaic tiles. From love seats and benches that provide extra seating to swing seats and hammocks that offer style and total relaxation. Depending on the type of material you choose and how large each furniture piece is, the cost can range from the economical to the down right extravagant. At Lazy Susan we always tell our customers that it’s a good idea to purchase furniture based on how often you use your patio. If you only use the area occasionally, then a few basic items will suffice. If you entertain frequently or spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, then spend a little more and shop for comfort and durability.

Garden furniture materials

Modern garden furniture is constructed from a vast range of different materials both in terms of fabric coverings and frame construction material. The last decade has seen the garden furniture industry leap forward in terms of material innovation and pieces are now designed to withstand all that Mother Nature can throw at it. many of us tend to place our garden furniture in open areas with exposure to the elements, so make sure you purchase furniture that will not fade in direct sunlight, rust when things get wet (and they always do in the UK), get dirty when the wind picks up or collect mildew easily. When making a decision on the type of frame materials, establish whether or not chairs will be moved around frequently. If portability is important, then choose lightweight materials, such as plastic and cast aluminum. If you don’t plan to move them often, or if they will be exposed to strong winds, then always go for something a little heavier, such as timber or wrought iron. The section below will help you establish which type of garden furniture material is best for you:

  • Cast Aluminum
    Benefits: It is lightweight, durable, it doesn’t rust or fade, is low maintenance, and is available in a wide variety of colours and styles.
    Key Feature: Look for cast aluminium furniture that is powder-coated to provide extra durability.
    Maintenance: Wash with soapy water, rinse and polish with a car wax or mineral oil to help protect surface and prevent ‘pitting’.
  • Plastic
    Benefits: Can usually be stacked for easy storage and is made from recycled materials.
    Key Feature: It is incredibly lightweight, so is easy to move around the garden or carry inside when the weather turns.
    Maintenance: Apply kitchen/bathroom spray cleaners that prevent mildew, wipe and rinse down with water.
  • PVC
    Benefits: Like plastic it is lightweight and extremely low maintenance.
    Key Feature: PVC is readily available in wide range of different colourways.
    Maintenance: All you need to do it wash it with washing up liquid and rinse.
  • Stainless Steel
    Benefits: Stainless is steel is sturdy, durable and generally requires little to no assembly.
    Key Feature: Many of the more contemporary style pieces of garden furniture are constructed from stainless steel.
    Maintenance: Requires a regular application of a protective finish to prevent rust.
  • Rattan & Wicker
    Benefits: Flexible, lightweight and durable.
    Key Feature: For me it has to be comfort with rattan, it is definitely a bottom fave.
    Maintenance: Make sure you remove debris from the wicker weave and wash with mild detergent then rinse.
  • Timber
    Benefits: Wide variety of different types available such as teak, cedar, pine etc, each with their own unique properties. In general terms, timber is solid, sturdy and won’t get too hot or too cold.
    Key feature: It is a natural material that always works well in any style of garden.
    Maintenance: Use paint with UV filters to prevent fading. Timber will require a coat of preservative once a year. And as well as washing with soapy water to clean, you should an oil to maintain the original appearance.
  • Wrought Iron
    Benefits: Sturdy and durable.
    Key Feature: Now available in a wide range of designs, but for me always works best in a classic design.
    Maintenance: Use specialist paint to touch up cracks and prevent rust.

About Lazy Susan

About Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit www.lazysusanfurniture.co.uk to find out more and view our complete product range.

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