How to Choose Garden Furniture

Even in the most attractive of gardens, it is nice to be able to sit down and enjoy your surroundings on some suitable garden furniture. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of garden furniture availalble to suit all tastes and budgets.

Garden furniture is available in a wide range of materials including:

  • Hardwood – such as teak, oak or balau
  • Softwood – most commonly pine
  • Poly rattan – a resin weave man made rattan, usually reinforced with an aluminium frame
  • Textilene – a quick drying man made material used for seats and seat backs
  • Powder coated steel  – steel given a coating to prevent rusting
  • Aluminium  – a metal which does not rest
  • Polyester – frequently used for gazebos or parasol canopies.

The most prized – and expensive – material for garden furniture is hardwood due to its appearance and durability. However, poly rattan over the past few years has become increasingly popular as it is completely weather resistant and requires little 0r no maintenance. It can also be used to create more innovatively shaped garden furniture than hardwood and circular sets, cube sets, day beds and wave rider sun beds provide increased variety of choice. Poly rattan furniture is often bought for professional use too, because of its long lasting and hastle free nature.

Cheaper garden furniture is often made from a powder coated steel frame with textilene seats, but they are usually collapsible for easy storage and furniture such as this is ideal for occasional use, where you use it in the garden as required, and put it away in a garage or a shed when not in use.

Aluminium garden furniture is often very attractive to look at, with swirling designs and a very traditional, English garden appearance. It also does not rust. Pine furniture, on the other hand, looks good but should be treated with preservative about once a year to maintains its good looks and keep it free from rot.


If you are wanting to entertain in the garden, seating is a priority, and most garden sets will sell extra chairs separately so that you can seat everyone. It’s been my experience that people far prefer to huddle around a slightly too small table – provided they have a chair – than to be playing “musical chairs” or sitting two to a chair, so it’s worth making sure you have sufficient chairs for the number of guests that will be coming. Picnic benches are great for children as they are quite happy to squeeze together and you can seat more children than the recommended number of adults without a problem. They also allow children to have their own party whilst you have yours!


If your primary purpose for garden furniture is comfort, not entertaining, treat yourself to one of those Luxor Swing Seat Gazebos. Complete with curtains and nets, the seat will actually fold down to make a double bed for the ultimate in garden relaxation.

Preserving Wooden Garden Furniture

wood preservativeWooden garden furniture should often be treated to protect it from rotting.

There are two types of preservative available for wooden garden furniture – oil/ spirit  based and water based. Water based preservatives do not soak into the wood well and need repeating regularly. Oil and spirit based preservatives are longer lasting, but they can damage plants before they have completely dried.

You should wear gloves when applying preservatives, and take care not to splash them onto exposed skin.

Hardwood may not need preserving as it is naturally much harder and longer lasting. Teak is an example of a hardwood. Softwoods are more susceptible to rot and will always need treating. Pine is an example of a softwood – although not all pine is the same. Pine grown slowly in forests in northern Europe tends to be more durable than faster growing versions from southern Europe.