Garden furniture

The Ultimate Guide To Garden Seating

Published 11th March 2021
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Is your glorious garden in dire need of a serious style uphaul? With a helping hand from our comprehensive ultimate guide to garden seating, you could transform your garden by checking out some of our favourite seating styles to suit every outdoor space. From hanging egg chairs that introduce an edgy flair to your garden to sleek metal garden benches that are wonderfully low maintenance, our top ten garden seating picks are packed with tempting options.

So, why not prepare your garden for the warmer weather by opting for the perfect outdoor seating set to accommodate all your friends and family members? If you’re unsure which seating style is quite right for your outdoor space, then carry on reading as we explore the benefits and downsides to popular materials and designs for the most beloved garden chairs and outdoor seating setups.

Carefully consider your choice of material

outdoor furniture material

If you’ve already begun your search for some stylish garden seating, then you’ll be familiar with the four most popular outdoor furniture materials: wood, plastic, rattan, and metal. Each boasts their own individual pros and cons, but selecting the right garden seating set for your home will often depend on practical considerations.

By way of illustrating, wooden furniture (when left untreated) can become particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of moisture and sunlight. While moisture can lead to rotting, extended periods of sunlight exposure can also cause your chic new wooden bench to fade at an exponential rate, quickly leaving you with lacklustre and worn-out garden furniture.

To combat this, we suggest ensuring any versatile wooden garden furniture you set your sights on is sold with a weather-resistant treatment, is protected by an oil or varnish, comes complete with a waterproof cover, or can be easily popped inside a garden shed to keep the negative effects of the weather at bay. Alternatively, some types of wooden furniture, such as teak, boast in-built protection as they’re naturally resistant to the elements, but they do cost that little bit extra!

A more affordable and weather-resistant alternative for sprucing up your garden is plastic outdoor furniture. Impervious to rot, mould and even rust, plastic furniture might not be the most visually-appealing or strongest option, but it certainly provides fantastic value for money when looked after. With the added advantage of being low-maintenance, all it takes is a simple wipe with a damp cloth to keep your plastic garden furniture in prime condition.

However, when faced with particularly rough weather conditions, plastic outdoor furniture can be easily broken and blown away with a strong gust of wind. Not to mention, single-use plastic has been proven to have a negative impact on the environment, so selecting a more sustainable, longer-lasting or recyclable garden seating set may prove more attractive to eco-conscious customers.

When it comes to the wonderful world of rattan furniture, you can opt for either the real deal or the synthetic variation. Synthetic rattan (also referred to as Poly-rattan, Polyethylene resin rattan, and PE rattan) possesses the stunning external aesthetic of natural wicker rattan with the additional benefit of being able to withstand the effects of the fickle British weather, whereas the real alternative is slightly pricer and doesn’t have this premium built-in weather protection. 

Plus, PE rattan offers a similar level of flexibility and comfort to natural rattan, so selecting synthetic rattan won’t look or feel like a sub-par model to the real thing. As such, we always recommend opting for the manmade PE option where possible, as natural wicker is likely to rot without adequate care and maintenance.

If neither rattan nor plastic is giving you enough garden inspiration, then why not consider metal outdoor seating? Incredibly strong, robust and exceptionally elegant, a metal seating area is a fab outdoor option and only requires the addition of pillows or seating pads for extra cushioning comfort. Regardless of whether you choose steel, aluminium or iron, a top tip is to ensure the seating is finished with an anti-corrosive coating to prevent the rain from damaging the exterior.

Evaluate your outdoor seating requirements

outdoor seating space

More than just an outdoor style statement, your garden seating should be suited to your outdoor area in every way. From the size of your family and your entertaining aspirations to the capacity of your seating storage area and the shape of your garden, taking all of these aspects into consideration can ensure your chosen outdoor seating fits seamlessly into your outdoor environment.

For example, attempting to fit a large sofa seat onto your compact balcony to seat as many guests as possible can make this vital outdoor space feel cramped and unwelcoming. Instead, opt for folding chairs or a lightweight bistro set that won’t take up crucial balcony space and can be easily stored away when necessary.

However, if you like to entertain and have the lawn or patio space to fit a generous number of your friends and family members, then why not consider rattan chairs or a rattan seating suite? Many rattan sets can be purchased in separate segments, allowing you to create a custom outdoor seating setup that suits your personal outdoor hosting needs.

Plus, the abundance of rattan chairs and furniture means a matching table can be easily snapped up to complete your garden seating set and provide a practical area for placing drinks and barbecue snacks ready for when the elusive summer sun decides to make a welcomed appearance! Finally, before you invest in some new garden furniture, we suggest stocking up on the necessary cleaning, care and maintenance tools.

Regardless of whether this means storing your damage-prone plastic garden furniture indoors after every use, purchasing a waterproof outdoor furniture cover to fit snugly over your garden seating setup, or stocking up on plenty of varnish to keep your wooden garden bench in pristine condition, maintenance is key to getting the most out of your money.

OnBuy’s top 10 garden seating setups

garden seating setup

Searching for your own personal patch of paradise? Transforming your outdoor space from unappealing and uncomfortable to instantly welcoming and irresistibly stylish can be easily achieved with the right garden seating. Not to mention, it can also double your amount of relaxation and hosting space to accommodate as many pals as possible.

So why not get a breath of fresh air and gain some outdoor inspiration with our top 10 garden seating solutions? Our collection features everything from smooth one-person recliners to charming wooden benches fit for a family and striking patio chairs, so you’re sure to discover the perfect seating style to complement your green space and work for your household.

A relaxing recliner for solo-sitters | Oypla Folding Black Reclining Garden Chair

folding garden chair

Pros: Reclining ability, robust steel frame, foldable for easy storage, ultra-affordable

Cons: Seats only one person, holds only 100kg of weight

Above everything, this garden chair has been created as a reminder to relax. A must-have addition to any poolside pad or suntrap garden, this reclining outdoor chair uses hardwearing and comfortable textolene fabric to beckon you into the chair for a spot of tranquil sunbathing. This fabric reclining chair even boasts extra flexibility that further supports the unique shape of your body for an ultra-comfy experience.

The combination of the reclining position and open weave fabric also helps to spread your body weight and circulate air for a more luxurious and pressure-free experience. With a 100kg weight capacity, this contemporary black sun lounger was built to hold just one person, but does effortlessly fold away for easy storage when those menacing-looking rain clouds descend. While the steel frame may not make this chair the most visually appealing garden seat, the practical design and material renders this Oypla garden recliner utterly irresistible.

A cosy corner for nature-lovers | Forest Four Seat Corner Arbour

4 seater corner arbour

Pros: Ideal for nature-lovers thanks to the arbour, seats four people, fits neatly into a corner

Cons: On the more expensive side, made from softwood which is less durable than hardwood

A striking seating area, this gorgeous corner arbour has been specially designed by Forest to combine nature with relaxation. Made from light-coloured, smooth-planed and pressure treated timber, and lovingly created to fit snugly into a corner, this arbour makes the most of your outdoor space. Plus, it only requires a few pillows and blankets to instantly upgrade the comfort level from cosy to luxurious.

Best of all, the elegant trellis addition encourages aesthetically-pleasing climbing plants like vines and roses to intertwine themselves around the garden structure for a more natural and vibrant look that’s sure to appeal to avid gardeners. With the ability to comfortably seat four people, this chic Sorrento corner arbour is one of the largest in the Forest range and can even provide welcomed shade to your guests during the sunnier months once your climbing plants begin to cover the slatted roof.

The sleek outdoor couch for couples | Outsunny Grey Poly-Rattan Garden Love Seat

grey rattan garden chair

Pros: Perfect for couples, integrated table, impressive 180kg weight capacity per chair

Cons: Seats just two people, table prevents lazily lounging

An eye-catching piece of outdoor furniture fit for even the most loved-up couples, this Outsunny garden love seat even features a black tempered glass table to conveniently hold your beverages and snacks. Constructed from inviting grey poly-rattan that boasts mild weather-resistance, this outdoor love seat even boasts matching cushions for premium comfort as you gaze into your partner’s dreamy eyes.

Our only gripe is that the interconnecting table prevents you from putting your feet up after a long day when using solo! However, this minor problem can be easily solved with the addition of an outdoor footstool and still leaves space for your loved one to join you. Plus, thanks to the mighty 180kg weight capacity built into each chair, you can rely on this Outsunny creation to provide a comfortable seat for all your guests.

A comfy alternative to the traditional hammock | Outsunny Colourful Striped Hanging Garden Chair

hammock swing chair

Pros: Hammock alternative, boasts a relaxing hanging design, really affordable, portable

Cons: Requires suitable outdoor area for safe installation, holds one person with a 120kg capacity

Craving those cool beachfront vibes? With this trendy alternative to the traditional hammock, you can lay back and relax without having to worry about falling out or delicately balancing your weight thanks to the weight levelling bar. Not to mention, the supportive hanging armchair-style design envelops your body for a deluxe outdoor experience that invites you to sink into the breathable polyester and cotton blend fabric.

An incredibly stylish and on-trend garden chair, all you need is a suitable outdoor area (like a strong tree branch or robust outdoor furnishing) to provide the perfect installation spot. With the ability to be hung from a sturdy tree branch, it can be seamlessly incorporated into the natural environment without overpowering a small space. Plus, the lightweight design means it can be easily taken with you on your travels to a beach, park or picnic!

For portable seafront seating | 2pk Harbour Housewares Striped Metal Beach Chairs

Foldable beach chairs

Pros: Super affordable, foldable, portable, lightweight steel frame, attention-grabbing striped pattern

Cons: Seats just two people, less visually appealing than rattan or wooden garden furniture

Another stripy sensation that’s well-suited to the seafront, this snazzy pair of metal deckchairs are both foldable and portable for straightforward storage and travel. As a result of the lightweight 19mm tubular steel frame, this garden seating set can be easily transported from your back garden to your local outdoor cinema setup or bustling beach for on-the-go support and comfort.

Although the metal frame may not be as visually-enticing as wooden or rattan outdoor seating options, the colourful striped pattern on the reinforced and high-density fabric seat is bold and playful. Featuring one blue and one red model, both creations in this striking set of beach deckchairs boast twin armrests for long-lasting comfort regardless of whether you’re sunning yourself or taking five minutes to enjoy your own company.

A swinging choice for fun families | vidaXL Black 3-Seater Swing Bench With Canopy

3 seater swing chair

Pros: Seats three people, features a swinging motion, comes complete with a canopy, steel frame

Cons: On the more expensive side, may be too large to fit on some balconies and patios

Entertain the whole family with this swinging 3-seater garden bench from vidaXL that’s been thoughtfully fitted with a generously-sized canopy to offer plenty of shade for your little ones. The seat and backrest on the other hand, are made from waterproof textilene that’s easy to clean, so it’s perfect for kids during the summer months when they’ve just hopped out of the paddling pool or feasting on an ice cream. 

However, due to the large size, it might not fit easily onto smaller patios or balconies, but it’s sure to look fantastic on an adequate area of garden lawn. The frame itself is made from powder-coated steel that gives the swing bench impressive strength and rigidity when in use - which is particularly useful for withstanding hours of family fun.

The elegant & practical garden bench | Home Discount 3-Seater Rose-Style Wooden Garden Bench

3 seater garden bench

Pros: Made from weather-resistant cast iron and hardwood, seats three, ornate rose design

Cons: Requires cushions for extra comfort, difficult to move

Constructed from ultra-tough cast iron and extremely durable hardwood, this stunning wooden garden bench features an ornate rose design to add a touch of elegance to any outdoor area. The smooth surface of this hardwood bench provides plenty of space for comfortably seating up to three people and can easily withstand the effects of both rain and snow, allowing for effortless maintenance. 

While the compact size means this garden bench can be introduced to lawns and balconies alike, the cast iron sides and legs add extra weight to this piece of outdoor furniture, making placement and repositioning a considerable task for one person. The hard wooden slats can also make this bench less appealing when it comes to comfort, but extra comfort and warmth can be instantly achieved by simply adding a few cushions and blankets to your setup!

Update your space with a stylish egg chair | Yaheetech Black Poly-Rattan Hanging Egg Chair

rattan garden egg chair

Pros: Cool hanging design, resistance to corrosion, comes complete with a soft cushion

Cons: A more pricey outdoor seat, only accommodates one person

A trendy way to spend your day, egg chairs are the cool seating solution that you never knew you needed until now! This corrosion-resistant and non-static poly-rattan egg chair from Yaheetech in particular is a stunning example of the superior level of comfort and style you can benefit from if you’re willing to splash the cash on your garden seating setup. 

Similar to the Von Haus Striped Hanging Garden Chair, this fashionable black egg chair is only built for one, but features a luxurious amount of cushioning and a curved shape to suit the natural curve of the human body. Complete with a durable and sturdy black iron stand, this elegant basket swing chair has been specially designed to overcome everything your outdoor activities can throw at it. 

The most affordable outdoor seating solution | Red Hamper Burnt Orange Polyester Fleece Tartan Picnic Rug

red hamper picnic rug

Pros: Easy to carry and hold, affordable, perfect for picnics, waterproof backing

Cons: No back support, lack of comfortable padding

Prior to the costly rattan outdoor furniture sets, picnic blankets were the affordable seating solution that could be used in practically any garden for sunning yourself. Thanks to the waterproof backing, this rustic tartan picnic rug can be placed on damp ground without allowing any moisture to seep through into the polyester fleece fabric.

An essential garden accessory for idyllic picnics, this burnt orange picnic rug measures a generous 142cm in length by 117cm in width to provide plenty of surface area for accommodating those tasty picnic treats. Despite the lack of support and comfy padding of solid furniture, scattering a few outdoor cushions can complete your relaxed outdoor seating area just in time for summer.

A charming patio set to soak up that sun | Beliani Orange Poly-Rattan Bistro Set

orange cafe seats

Pros: Striking orange shade, made from robust PE rattan, comes complete with a matching table

Cons: Suitable for bigger budgets, seats just two people

This stylish pair of patio chairs makes a luxurious and eye-catching bistro set that’s ideal for enjoying a refreshing beverage with a loved one, as well as getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Finished in an attention-grabbing bright orange shade, this trendy garden furniture set from Beliani is designed for the outdoors thanks to the sturdy steel frame that’s covered in a durable poly-rattan string weave material.

Despite only seating two people, a result of the more compact size is that it can be easily positioned in smaller areas such as sun trap patios and balconies. Complete with a matching outdoor table that’s fitted with a chic glass tabletop, this gorgeous and vibrant bistro set is the perfect place to spend a post-work evening relaxing with your partner.

Our essential outdoor seating top tips

outdoor seating tips

Finally, before you start snapping up your dream garden seating set, we suggest getting out the tape measure and double-checking the dimensions of your lawn, patio or other outdoor space. You should also consider how much room your family and friends will have to adjust their chair to prevent your next outdoor social event feeling cramped and uncomfortable.

Once you’ve ensured there’s plenty of room to fit your 3-seater garden bench or comfy hammock chair, you can go ahead and transform your garden into a chic and welcoming outdoor area. Pair with a sturdy table in a similar design, cosy fire pit and plenty of cushions to make sure your new garden seating set is fit for all your entertaining and relaxation requirements.

The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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