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what to look for when buying garden furniture

What to look for when buying garden furniture

Garden furniture can be a big investment, but it makes such a difference to how you feel about your garden. You may find moving on from a cheap plastic table and chairs to be a bit daunting, but with a little thought it’s easy to make the right choice for you.

To start with, spend a little while day dreaming about how you would like to use your garden, and your garden furniture, and what you would like it to look like. Are you the kind of person who wants to spend lazy summer afternoons enjoying a good book, or a long drink, in the garden? Then you might want to look at garden hammocks, benches for secluded spots, or even a garden arbour seat.

Or perhaps your garden is more of a social space, and what you need is a table and chairs, or a garden furniture set? Will you make them a permanent feature on the patio, or do you need them to fold or stack away when not in use?

Once you know how you want to use your garden furniture then you can think about the style of your garden, and what you’re looking for in terms of design and materials.


Wooden garden furniture

Wood is a lovely, traditional choice for garden furniture. Sitting on wood doesn’t make you hot or sweaty, and of course you won’t get that sticky feeling! Hardwoods such as teak and eucalyptus are naturally weather-resistant, due to their high oil content. Left outside, they will gradually fade to an attractive, silver-grey shade; if you prefer to keep the original colouring then you’ll need to opt for regular teak oil treatments throughout the year.

Royalcraft FSC Teak Balmoral 2 Seater Bench

Our Royalcraft Turnbury 7 Piece Dining Set with Manhattan Folding Armchairs offers outstanding versatility, in highest quality Acacia plantation hardwood with durable brass and stainless steel fittings. The compact table extends to seat up to 6 guests, and the New York folding armchairs, which can be collapsed for easy storage in small sheds and garages.

Some woods require an annual treatment to prolong their life and keep them looking their best, so check the manufacturer’s advice. You can also purchase garden furniture covers to protect your furniture from the worst of the winter weather, and heavy rain.

The Royalcraft FSC Teak Balmoral 2 Seater Bench is made from strong, weather-resistant Teak hardwood that has been certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) - your guarantee that it comes from a sustainable source.

Wood is always in fashion, and if you feel like updating the look and feel of your garden, it’s a simple matter to choose new cushions, or apply your favourite shade of outdoor paint to freshen things up!


Rattan garden furniture

Royalcraft Rattan Cannes 3 Piece Companion Set

Rattan furniture has always been a firm favourite for the conservatory, with its stylish lines and added comfort. It lends itself equally well to both relaxed sofa sets and loungers and formal dining sets. Available in black or brown, the Royalcraft Rattan Cannes 3 Piece Companion Set combines two chairs and cushions with a central table - ideal for afternoon tea in the garden!

Modern rattan designs are now being made with lightweight aluminium frames, and in woven strands of coated plastic, meaning that they are weather resistant and can be left outside all year round. Easy to clean and requiring very little in the way of maintenance, with rattan-effect furniture you can simply pop outside with the cushions whenever you feel the urge. A range of available colours and styles means you can choose just the right design for your garden.


Metal garden furniture

Whether you’re looking for a cool, modern feel for your garden, or an old-school vintage design, then metal furniture sets could be the ones for you. Aluminium furniture is light-weight and rust-proof (but check that the fixings are stainless steel so that they are, too!), making it easy to move around the garden when you need to.

Versailles Steel Coffee Table

And many designs are folding, and a good choice if you need to have extra chairs and tables on hand for parties and family gatherings, but want to be able to store them away neatly when they’re not in use. For example, our Royal Garden Classic 7 Piece Rectangular Dining Set seats 6 people in stylish comfort, with high back chairs designed to stack conveniently for easy use and storage.

Modern, powder-coated steel allows you to have the feel of vintage cast iron furniture without the worries of rust and maintenance. Available in both modern and antique designs (and with mosaic tile table tops), this is a great option for adding a stylish touch to your garden dining furniture. The Versailles Steel Coffee Table, with its scroll design and matt finish, is just one of a range of items that can add a traditional feel to your garden and patio - try pairing it with the Versailles Single Garden Arm Chair or the Versailles Garden bench.

Remember not to use scouring pads to clean metal garden furniture - use soft cloths to avoid leaving scratches in the metal surface. Some items can be folded away when not in use, and many are completely weather-proof, so do check the manufacturer’s details before you buy. If you want to keep your patio furniture clean and ready for action, then garden furniture covers are the way to go - just whip them off when it’s time to dine!


Garden shades and patio heaters


It’s easy to imagine eating outside in the height of summer, and a dining set on the patio is a lovely addition to the garden. Depending on the way your garden faces, the spot you choose could be a real sun trap! In a long, hot summer, it could even get a little too much - so think about whether you may need a patio umbrella, or an awning, to stop you overheating and to keep your guests comfortable in the sun.

On the other hand, enjoying your garden needn’t be limited to warmer days. Bright, cool days can be just as lovely - especially if you have invested in a chiminea or patio heater to keep you nice and toasty! You might even consider a garden table with a built-in fire pit, such as our Royalcraft Versailles 5 Piece Firepit set, which is perfect for both social barbecues and taking the edge off those cooler evenings.

Once you have taken into account how you want to use your garden furniture, the design features it needs to fit in with your chosen garden style, the maintenance it needs and how you will store it, you are ready to choose your new furniture! Don’t forget to measure up well, and perhaps even sketch out a plan, so you’re sure your purchases will fit into the space available.

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