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Your Buying Guide to Outdoor Furniture

Furniture is always a personal choice, even more so for outdoor furniture. As well as trying to match your unique style, you also have to consider your local climate, your backyard’s potential, and your budget. It’s overwhelming when all you want to do is find outdoor furniture that is nice and comfortable.

At Gardeon, we’re here to lend you a helping hand – with the added bonus of a green thumb. 

1.   #gardengoals

What are you looking for in your outdoor space? Are you making an outdoor cooking area for entertainment, or do you want a relaxing outdoor settee? Is your furniture going to be sitting by the pool, or do you want it to move around with you at the party? Where do you imagine this perfect area? Is it on the grass or on the patio? All important questions you’ll want to figure out before you settle on the style and materials for your furniture. Your goals should be grounded in something, whether it’s a look, theme or timeline.

2.   Garden style

What is your existing garden like: is it a wild and untamed landscape, a concrete jungle, or a perfectly manicured lawn? How does it look in winter? Does the soil hold up, or are you left with a muddy backyard and sinking furniture? Is the ground even? You’ll need to know your garden inside out, particularly if it requires some renovation.

3.   Garden space and measurements

Of course you’ll need to fit the furniture properly, so you should be measuring twice and placing once. But size isn’t the only thing that matters. You may like to consider the flow of the space. Make sure you leave enough space between your furniture so you can comfortably pass through. Depending on the materials, you may also need to ensure your furniture pieces are undercover.

4.   Type of garden furniture material

Outdoor furniture comes in a lot of different styles and materials. Since you’ll be using it mostly outdoors, you’ll want furniture that is durable and weather resistant. 

Wood

A solid choice! There are two types of wood used for furniture: hardwood and softwood. While hardwood is stronger and denser, both types come in weather-resistant varieties to suit your outdoor space. Wood is very susceptible to sun and water damage, but there are plenty of protectants on the market to help you maintain it. 

Synthetics

Plastics and resins are an easy choice because they are low maintenance, easy to clean, and lightweight. They often have smooth surfaces and can come in a variety of styles, colours, and shapes. Depending on the exact material, they are also often fade-resistant. For the most durable pieces you’ll want to choose HDPE, but you may also find suitable pieces in nylon and PVC.

Metal

You’re probably familiar with wrought iron furniture, which peaked in popularity in the 60s. Wrought iron is great due to its malleable properties and strong constitution, but it’s also heavy, prone to rust, and tends to be high maintenance. The most common metals nowadays are aluminium and stainless steel. Aluminium is an excellent low maintenance choice that won’t rust or corrode easily, unless near saltwater. It can also be extruded or cast for any kind of shape and size. Stainless steel has all the benefits of aluminium but will be fine in the salty air. Unfortunately, all metals will have trouble with chlorine, so it’s best kept away from the pool.

Glass

Tempered glass is used in a lot of outdoor furniture due to its resistance to the elements. The smooth surface is elegant, smudge-resistant, and easy to clean. However, without a shade covering, the glass may reflect sunlight straight into your eyes. Tempered glass can also be very heavy, so think twice or recruit a friend before moving it!

Fabric

Upholstered furniture offers the most comfortable experience, but it also comes with some caveats. Natural fabrics don’t hold up in the weather, so outdoor furniture is mostly made out of synthetic fabrics like vinyl, polyester, and acrylic. These weaves are breathable and resistant to UV rays, moisture and insects, but any fabric will need to be regularly cleaned and should not be left outside all the time, especially in extreme weather. You should keep outdoor fabric furniture stored away, at a minimum undercover, when you’re not using it.

Concrete

Despite its unassuming appearance, concrete is trending as a design material including outdoors. Strong and stable, concrete can be poured into all kinds of shapes and sizes and will last through the toughest weather. However, it is heavy, naturally porous and susceptible to staining. Luckily, you can also find concrete blends cut with fibreglass or resin, making pieces lighter and easier to maintain.

For more information about extra-hardy materials, you can check out our blog, The most durable materials for outdoor furniture.

5.   Maintenance of garden products

Are you a garden lover, or do you have black thumbs? If you love maintaining your garden, you’ll probably be on top of your furniture maintenance. If you find yourself dragging your feet outdoors, you might prefer something a little less needy. Most of the maintenance you do will come down to the material, but it will also depend on how often you experience extreme weather, and how old your pieces are.

Our best tips at Gardeon are to use gentle cleaners like mild soap and water, vacuum fabric furniture regularly, tackle any rust or mould immediately, and either place furniture undercover or cover it with a tarp when not in use. For more tips, visit our blog, Caring for Your Outdoor Furniture.

6.   Weighing up your use cases

Are you planning on keeping these pieces outside on a regular basis, or do you only need furniture for the occasional garden party? If you’re not much for outdoor entertainment, don’t worry about finding permanent or heavy fixtures. Foldable chairs and tables might not be as trendy, but they are just as useful and just as stylish. When you’re finished, you can move them to the garden shed for another day, or use them as your extra indoor chairs too: what is more guest-proof than furniture built to last in the elements?

We hope this has helped solidify your decision for the next outdoor furniture purchase. If you’re still tossing up, check out our range at Gardeon. We have pieces in all kinds of materials, for all kinds of styles, as well as garden accessories and tools.

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