How to choose garden furniture
Garden furniture comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes - and prices. No matter how big or small your budget is, it's important not to waste money by choosing your garden furniture in haste or on impulse. If you're going to get the most out of your garden in the warmer weather then you need to choose furniture that's right for your needs and space. With that in mind, here is a beginner's guide to choosing garden furniture.
The material world
The first consideration is material. What's most important to you - the way the furniture looks or durability? Do you have the time and skills to maintain the furniture and keep it in tip-top condition or is your preference for something that requires the minimum of effort to keep in good order?
Wooden garden furniture is popular and versatile. There are many wooden styles available and many of them are of the foldable variety. However, if that's your preference you should be aware that regular maintenance and treatment will be required. Metal garden furniture is equally popular and of course much easier to maintain but perhaps not quite so versatile. Plastic is great for people on a tight budget and it's about as durable as you can get but the look of plastic isn't for everyone and you'll be more limited when it comes to style.
So you have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of all the different materials available and decide which is right for you.
Lots of people make the mistake of concentrating on the garden furniture they like without considering if it's suitable for the actual garden space they have. It's no good having desirable, stylish and comfortable garden furniture if you don't have enough space to enjoy it. And don't rely on guesswork. It's surprising how different in size garden furniture can look in the showroom to when it's actually in situ in your garden.
So although it sounds ponderous, take the trouble to get out a tape measure and work out the exact amount of space you have at your disposal, take note of the dimensions of any furniture you're thinking of buying and plan where you'd put it. Although it might seem obvious, remember you also want some space left over and you don't want to cram everything in tightly. Which leads us to...
Are you sitting comfortably?
It's no good having garden furniture that ticks every single box except the most important one of all: comfort. Your furniture will be there to be admired in the overall context of your garden but it also has to used practically. So if you have to make a compromise, make sure it isn't one of comfort. You can always buy cushions separately if you need to.
You don't want to get too hot and bothered either and protection from the sun is an important consideration. If you are lacking natural shade in your garden then you will have to counter that with parasols etc.
Style as well as substance
But let's not pretend style isn't important. Once again, though, it's not always as simple as choosing what immediately appeals to you most. Your garden furniture should be compatible with the style of garden and your home in general. Work out which style of furniture will suit the overall theme of your garden and imagine how it will look in place. Ask yourself if it will be incongruous with your outdoor area as a whole. As always, weigh the practicalities against your preferences.
Another easily overlooked consideration is what you're going to do with your garden furniture when it's not in use. Do you have the room to protect it from the elements in a shed, garage or summer house? If not, make sure you're prepared with suitable covers and protectors to ensure your furniture lasts longer than the all-too-brief British summer.
After all, you can choose your garden furniture but you can't choose the weather!