A gnome sunbathing in a garden chair.

Enjoy your garden in comfort with our guide to garden furniture sets

Published 12th January 2023
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Garden furniture is a great way to transform any outdoor space, whether you’re upgrading your weather-worn garden furniture set or getting ready for the sun with some new rattan garden furniture.

However, there's lots to consider before you choose a new set; you need to pick a style, material, size and level of weather resistance that suits your garden. Let's break it down in more detail and make the decision much easier for you...

Garden furniture materials

Choosing the right material doesn’t just come down to the look - getting the right type will determine how versatile, weather-resistant and comfy your garden furniture will be.

Wooden garden furniture sets

Durable and timeless, a wooden garden furniture set is an investment that will last for many years with the right woodcare and maintenance.

Wooden garden furniture should also be protected from the harsh weather using garden furniture covers, or to prolong the life of your wooden garden furniture, consider storing it in a shed or indoors over the winter.

Metal garden furniture sets

Lightweight and sturdy, metal garden furniture offers a practical solution that’s great value for money.

Usually tubular aluminium garden furniture with a weatherproof coating applied, they’re mostly combined with a weatherproof fabric or steel mesh seats and backrests for comfort. This type of furniture requires very little maintenance and some chairs fold for easy storage - although this type of furniture can usually be left outdoors in all weather.

Plastic garden furniture sets

Plastic is usually the most affordable option when it comes to outdoor furniture, but it's also lightweight and less durable than more premium materials. This makes it ideal if you are organising a party or outdoor event, or need to have additional seating at short notice.

Plastic garden furniture is usually stackable, so you can store it away easily. Plus it's easy to clean and a great option if you are on a smaller budget.

Rattan garden furniture sets

Rattan garden furniture has become a hugely popular choice in recent summers. Both waterproof and weatherproof, rattan won’t be damaged by rain and is resistant to fading from the sun, so it can be left outside for most of the year. That being said, we do recommend you store this furniture away during winter to preserve it for longer.

Rattan furniture is also lightweight, making it easy for you to move it around your garden or patio and is one of the more stylish options that will suit most gardens and patios. Check out our rattan garden furniture buying guide.

Maintaining garden furniture

Keeping your furniture looking great doesn't have to be a chore; use these tips and it's sure to last you longer!

  • Wood: Wiping your wooden outdoor furniture regularly with some hot soapy water will keep it in great condition all year round. Applying some protective treatment at least once a year is also a way of protecting its appearance.
  • Rattan: To clean rattan furniture, all you need is some lukewarm water, a cloth and a non-scouring pH-neutral liquid detergent. It’s a good idea to rinse down the furniture with cold water afterwards. We strongly advise against cleaning your rattan furniture with any bleaching agents or all-purpose cleaners as these can lead to tiny cracks that will accumulate dirt or cause the furniture to discolour.
  • Aluminium: Most outdoor furniture comes powder-coated to withstand the elements, but a regular clean will also help. Use a non-abrasive cloth to wash with soapy water.
  • Plastic: Using soapy water (washing up liquid is fine), and a cloth or sponge, give the tables and chairs a good wash - don’t forget to wash the undersides too.

A top tip to reduce your care and maintenance workload is to buy garden furniture covers. These help to protect your outdoor furniture when not in use - particularly in the off-seasons - and are available in different sizes and shapes to fit most types of furniture.

Garden furniture accessories

Now you've got an idea of the right furniture sets, it's time to think about accessories. If you’re spending summer in the garden, chances are you’ll come across a day where one minute it’s glorious sunshine, and the next it’s pouring down on your BBQ. Fortunately, there’s a range of options to compensate so you can still make the most of your outdoor space.

Perhaps not so good for the rain, but parasols are a handy way to protect you from table lobster-red sunburn and panda eyes. You can either buy table and chair sets that include parasols, or they can easily be bought separately.

A gazebo, on the other hand, is an easy way to create a covered, sheltered space in your garden. Gazebos are lightweight, easy to assemble and come in a range of sizes.

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