Whether it's a simple bench or a large table and chairs with plenty of room for entertaining your extended family, garden furniture lets you enjoy the outdoor areas of your home in comfort. It's essential equipment for all your warm-weather gatherings, but also gives you a space to enjoy quiet afternoons in the garden.
Choosing outdoor furniture comes down to a few different factors, the most important of which is the material it's made from. To help you decide, here's an overview of the most common types, with the benefits and downsides of each, plus some of the specific varieties available.
Wooden outdoor furniture is valued for its attractive, natural look. It's also a versatile material, used on its own or with metal. While wood can be at the more expensive end of the price scale, it can last a long time if you look after it, making it a good investment.
You will find that wood needs a bit of care to stay in the best condition, but as long as you keep it clean and weatherproof it with varnish or staining from time to time, you shouldn't have too many problems.
There are quite a few woods available, and they should all be selected for their durability, so go for the one you like the look of. Teak is one of the most widely used, loved for its natural resistance to weathering and decay. Eucalyptus is a more unusual option, but also provides good resistance to wear and tear.
Stainless steel and aluminium are both used quite commonly, and their natural resistance to rust and corrosion makes them perfect for outdoor use. Of the two, aluminium is the more lightweight metal, which is useful if you want to put the furniture away between uses.
Strong, heavy wrought iron is also found sometimes, and available in some stunning designs.
Usually the most budget-friendly option, plastic is lightweight, usually doesn't need much in the way of looking after, and can be moulded into all kinds of shapes.
If you're one of the people who are put off plastic because you believe it looks cheap, viewing some of the modern designs might change your mind. One of the benefits of plastic is that it can be made to mimic other materials, giving you a more durable lookalike at a fraction of the price.
Light, natural, and with a distinctive look, wicker is a popular material for outdoor chairs. It needs to be kept clean and you should keep an eye on weathering, but synthetic wicker is also available for minimum maintenance.