Purchase outdoor furniture for relaxing or dining?

This is a question we must get asked at least once a week… How do you find the right outdoor furniture for your patio, decking, garden etc. Well the answer is pretty straight forward really, well at least it should be. All you really need to do is decide how you really want to use your garden. Are you looking for furniture thats designed specifically for comfort and relaxation, then you need be looking for large and inviting sofa style seating. If entertaining is your main focus, then again you’d need comfortable seating but maybe pair it with a low table. Or if you want the furniture for some al fresco dining with friends and family, then you want to be looking at a more formal dining style set with table and high back chairs.

Comfortable but attractive outdoor furniture makes all the difference when it comes to actually enjoying your garden or patio. Once you’ve decided how you use your garden, you need to decide on the type of garden furniture that’s right for you. See our recent Match your garden furniture to your lifestyle post to read a little more detail about the different types of materials available.

Most people already have a pretty clear idea of what they want, but its worth looking at the pros and cons before you make a final decision. Wood furniture, for example, will fit with your style if you love things to be a little natural. Metal on the other-hand is one of the best-selling materials in the UK as it is durable, comfortable, and highly versatile. We’re a little biased but the two main types that dominate the UK market are wrought iron and aluminum.

We are very much in the cast aluminium supporters club and not just because its the core of our business. We decided to specifically sell it because It offers the opportunity to manufacture more intricate designs, it provides a more weight than extruded aluminum, although it’s still lighter than wrought iron so is easier to move around the garden or into the shed or garage to store during winter. We could of opted to stock other materials, but cast aluminium made sense for the UK market. OK you will pay a little more for cast aluminum than extruded, but it is worth the investment, but to be honest both extruded and cast will require very little maintenance as long as they have a powder-coated finish.

How much should you spend?

Generally, the same rules apply when purchasing garden furniture as to most large purchases for the home, and The more you pay, most of the time (not all of the time), the better the quality will be. And before you say it, we are not saying avoid the cheaper options or avoid trying to pick up a bargain in the sales. If you’re on a tight budget, then definitely look to grab a bargain in the sales, but when it comes to the actual quality of the materials, then you really want to be paying that little bit more for furniture that will last you for many years for come.

What style and material of garden furniture do you want buy?

The next step is to decide what type and style of garden furniture you want. The starting point is how many people do you want seating for, is it just the family or family and friends and how much space do you have available for the new furniture? Garden tables for example come in a variety of different shapes, but generally they will either be round, oval, square or rectangular. You must go for a shape works with the space you have, for example if you have a long narrow patio, then an oval or rectangular table will work best. Garden furniture is made from a range of different materials and each material has its good and bad points, the choice will often comes down to the ‘look’ you’re going for and the popular types on sale in the UK are as follows:

  • 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 & Resin
    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.
    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.
  • Wood
    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.

What else do you need to think about?

If the space you have available is a little on the small side, then you could try a bistro table or cube style set where the chairs can be easily folded under the table for efficient storage when not in use. For those lucky enough to have a large outdoor area, then a round or square table is always a safe bet. If you’re entertaining larger groups of friends and family, then look for a 8 seater plus oval table. And don’t forget about coffee and side tables, they’re perfect for positioning alongside comfortable seating, especially if space is a little too tight for a full size table, but you still have space for drinks and nibbles.

A parasol or patio umbrella is also a wise investment, they provide a break from the sun, especially when you’re dining outside. Parasols are available in variety of colours and patterns, but our advice would always be to keep it neutral. You can also significantly extend the life of your furniture by protecting it from the weather with covers, and if you can, store your furniture indoors during the winter months. All garden furniture whatever its made from and no matter what the retailers tell you, will require some maintenance at some point. It is important you follow the manufacturers care and maintenance guidelines from day one and look after your garden furniture properly in order to retain its appearance for many years to come.

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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