Create an outdoor haven for relaxing summer evenings
In the spring and summer months, there’s nothing better than sitting outside enjoying a drink, a barbecue or just admiring your gardening handiwork. Even if you’re space limited outside, the right selection of garden furniture can help maximise your use of the space and call you into the garden as the evenings draw out.
Shopping for the garden is one of my favourite pastimes, but garden furniture can be pricey and it can be nerve wracking if you’re inexperienced! Here, we’ll take a look at some of the key factors you should consider when choosing your garden furniture, and I’ll share some tips from my experience.
What’s the function?
Before you start splashing the cash, decide what the purpose of your outdoor furniture will be. If you’re keen to just relax with a book, a pretty bench or chair with comfortable cushions is a great option that won’t take up too much space. If you’re into entertaining, a more substantial table and chairs can surround your barbecue or a fire pit as you and your guests eat alfresco. For cocktails or sociable outdoor beers, perhaps a dining table isn’t necessary, but a smaller drinks table or even a rolling trolley on wheels would suffice. With pre-planning, you can make sure you’re getting the best use of your available space for the cash.
Durability or storage?
To really get the best out of your garden furniture, it’s best to look after them as well as possible all year round. Woods like teak and cedar are nice and durable, and metal resists the elements with ease. It’s best to avoid plastic and resin pieces – they look nice and colourful, but after a few seasons in the sun they become faded and brittle. All furniture benefits from being stored inside over the freezing winter months – but if you’re short on storage space, don’t worry – just try to source covers for your furniture.
Adding some accents
Just like indoors, adding the final touches is really important. Think of your garden furniture as being in an outdoor ‘room’, and set the mood accordingly. I’ve seen lots of beautiful quick-dry outdoor rugs made from water-resistant fabrics (great for colour and texture), beautiful glass and metal lanterns for a romantic light, and mirrors and wall decorations repurposed from all manner of everyday objects. Have a rummage around salvage yards and charity shops if you have the time – you can find some real bargains. Read my blog on garden lighting design here for some tips.
With furniture destined to be outside in the elements for much of the year, it could be said that you get what you pay for – I wouldn’t recommend picking up the cheapest option you spot. That said, you don’t necessarily need to splash out loads of cash on buying brand new garden furniture. Metal and certain types of wood are extremely durable, and can last for decades and through several careful owners. Vintage and second hand home and furniture shops usually have a good selection of patio sets, benches and the like for a competitive price compared to buying new.