With the busy and stressful lifestyles that so many of us lead nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to have a peaceful place, close to nature, where we can just take time out and find refreshment. Somehow there is a deep need in most of us to create an outdoor room, a space where we can eat and drink, socialize or just sit. Garden furniture is the essence of this outdoor space — it’s what gives it life, character, style and focus, as well as comfort.
Garden furniture can encompass many things — the garden bench at the end of the path, the dining set on the patio, the swing seat on the lawn. It’s what changes your garden from just something to look at into a place to be, a place where you can absorb the beauty with all your senses, not just your sight. It’s what enables you to make your outdoor area into an extension of your home, so that you have more space to live and breathe, and enjoy family life.
Why Buy Garden Furniture?
Whatever climate you live in, you are bound to have at least some sunny days in the year, when you want to sit out and soak in the warmth — just reading a book, or even having a doze. If you have to drag a chair out from the house first, it definitely spoils the mood. It’s delightful just to be able to wander out and flop into a comfortable garden chair or sun lounger — and, of course, to leave it there when you go back in.
You need your outdoor furniture even more when you’re entertaining your friends in the summer. Even if you possess a barbecue, it’s not much use if the guests have to take the cooked food back indoors when it’s cooked, or stand around eating it. Imagine the pleasure of being able to impress them with a stunning table setting on your patio dining set, and then sit around relaxing for after-dinner drinks and chat in luxurious patio lounge chairs.
Of course, the main reasons for buying outdoor furniture are for its utility and functions — the many ways in which you can use it for resting, relaxing, socializing, or just being together as a family. However, the great thing about garden furniture is that it’s not just useful, but it can be beautiful too. It’s not there just to be used — though it will be used a lot — but to enhance and complement both your home, and the beauty of your garden displays.
Something for Everyone
If you have yet to start buying garden furniture, and you thought that garden furniture simply meant outdoor tables and chairs, you may be surprised by the many different types available. This is because different people have very different ideas for the way they want to use their garden space, and there is something out there for everyone. What you choose depends on your type of home and garden, and your personal preferences — for instance, if your main desire is just to sit in your garden and enjoy the peace, your choice of furniture will be different from that of people who like to use the garden for entertaining.
Why Garden Furniture Sets are Special
Of course, although outdoor furniture isn’t only about tables and chairs, there are plenty of these, in all possible styles and materials. Garden furniture sets can consist of a dining set with a table and chairs, or a lounge set for relaxing. These are probably most people’s number 1 choice for furniture to have on their patio, as they can really extend your living space, and virtually create an extra room.
Most dining sets are made to seat 4-6 people, with a round or rectangular table, with 4-6 matching chairs, such as the Asda Eucalyptus patio dining set. Most tables are fitted with an umbrella, to protect from the sun. If you have only a small space, you can also find bistro sets, which are usually sets of a table and two chairs, made to resemble the furniture at trendy cafes in France — these are becoming very fashionable. The Rose Bistro set by Lazy Susan is a typical example. Lounge garden furniture sets generally consist of a small sofa, two chairs and a coffee table, like the Kettler set from John Lewis.
The favorite materials for dining sets are wood, especially teak, and metal, such as wrought iron. Wooden garden furniture is the top choice for many people, especially teak furniture. Wood is beautiful and blends naturally into the garden environment, and teak furniture is particularly durable and easy to maintain.
However, metal is also very popular for dining sets, especially bistro sets, because of its stylish appearance. Some of the most attractive garden furniture is made from metal, especially antique-look wrought iron. It’s very durable too, although it needs to be painted to prevent rust. The main downside of metal furniture is that it’s not as comfortable as wooden garden furniture, and it gets hot enough in the sun to burn you, so needs cushions.
For lounge sets, the favorite material is rattan — often referred to as wicker, although wicker actually means the process of weaving it. Rattan garden furniture adds real charm and elegance to any outdoor space, and is very lightweight, so is much easier to move around than wooden garden furniture. However, real rattan is not weatherproof, so a lot of rattan garden furniture is actually made of polyrattan or synthetic rattan, which is very low maintenance and can be left out in all weathers.
Other Types to Enhance your Garden
Garden furniture sets are the most popular type of garden furniture, but they are far from being the only type. You can add a romantic touch with a garden swing seat, which can be fitted in the porch, or can be a stand-alone covered swing, with a metal frame and an awning. There are few more comfortable ways of relaxing in the sun with a good book.
However, one even more comfortable way is a daybed, which brings an air of total luxury to your garden. Daybeds can be rectangular, with or without sides, but the most modern ones are circular, often with a canopy, like the Cardiff Daybed from the Garden Furniture Centre in UK. Daybeds are often made of rattan, to add to the luxurious look.
Probably the most popular type of garden furniture after the patio set is the garden bench. These are usually made of wood, metal or stone, and provide a perfect way to accentuate a garden display, or provide a focal point for a secluded area of the garden. A wooden garden bench is the most comfortable to sit on, but many people buy a garden bench for its visual appeal rather than for seating.
How Do You Choose Garden Furniture?
These are just some of the types of garden furniture — you might also find a bench companion set (two seats joined together by a table), a garden sofa, a hammock, and end table, or a firepit to keep you warm. Faced with such a huge choice, how do you decide what to buy? The factors to consider include how you want to use the furniture, how much space you have, the style of your house, your weather, and, of course, how much you want to spend.
Obviously you need to consider what you want the furniture for — is it mainly for entertaining, or do you simply want to create a quiet sanctuary where you can just relax? You also need to think of how much space you have — be careful not to yield to the temptation of a beautiful six-seater patio set, when you only have a small patio, and a small garage for winter storage. If you buy too much, you risk making your space look tightly-packed and messy, instead of relaxing.
Be aware too of your climate — do you need all-weather furniture, and should you avoid buying lightweight furniture that could be blown around by gales? Can you keep your furniture out in the open, or do you need patio covers or patio enclosures to provide shelter? Will you need to store your furniture in the winter, or use furniture covers?
The other thing you need to keep in mind is the style of your home. You may fall in love with a traditional wrought-iron patio set, only to find it looks completely wrong with the contemporary-style architecture of your house. You can now find an exciting range of modern outdoor furniture, which not only blends in with contemporary architecture, but provides you with really eye-catching designs.
Where to Buy It
While some of the most beautiful furniture you see advertised or on display can set you back thousands of pounds or dollars — it is quite possible to find cheap garden furniture. You can often find special end-of-line offers, and dramatic reductions where retailers have overstocked. Online is the best place to shop as you’ll find huge reductions in prices on all brands, often with free shipping and year-round to boot. You can often even find sets and individual items even cheaper than they are in their own retail shops, for example Ikea garden furniture is generally cheaper on Amazon than in their own shops. In the UK Tesco garden furniture is a nice middle range choice if you want to buy in an actual store. Homebase garden furniture comes in a similar price range and is quite attractive too.
If you have ever visited someone’s home and found yourself green with envy at their gorgeous garden furniture, maybe it’s time you got some of your own. But don’t copy theirs — there is such a variety on offer that you can fit your outdoor furniture to your own unique style and preference. It’s an investment, not just in your garden, but in your home — it’s what people see first, and it reflects your home, your lifestyle and your personality.
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