How to choose seating for your garden
There’s nothing quite as lovely as sitting in the garden on a warm summer’s evening. With a little planning and research, finding the perfect seat to enjoy your garden is very rewarding and will continue to be for years to come. From contemporary swing seats to relaxing loungers to traditional benches, your next garden seat purchase must start with comfort. How would you like to sit in your garden?
Sizing up the space
The range of seating options available to you is going to be dictated by the space you have available. While there are many clever space-saving or portable designs coming onto the market, having a clear idea of the size of your space is important. Remember to allow extra room around the furniture for access, too.
Comfort is Key
If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outside, then you should take your choice of garden seating as seriously as you would buying a sofa. Fortunately, the process is the same: try as many chairs as you can before committing, and make sure everyone else in the family does, too. Everyone wants to be lie-down-for-the-whole-afternoon comfortable in at least one of the chairs.
Types of furniture seat
There are many types of seating to choose from, but the following tend to be most popular:
Every garden should have a good chair or two. They can be made from everything from solid oak to timber, rattan and foam padding. One of the most important things to remember here is, much like the seating you use indoors, comfort is key. Be sure to choose whatever seems most inviting and you can guarantee it’ll get used more than uninviting alternatives. And the options are endless too. Foldable chairs are great if you have limited storage space for the winter months, while deck chairs will add a rustic beach vibe to your garden. If you’re likely to have lots of little people running around your garden, kids’ chairs make a good addition too. Be sure to consider the elements when choosing your garden chairs – check out the “garden seat materials” section below and consider what options you have for storage and just how much you maintenance you want to do.
Not necessarily as well-known as other types of seating,arbours are essentially sheltered benches, usually created using timber. They frequently have trellis side or back panels to allow for climbers to provide a natural and secluded shelter and are perfect if you have a smaller garden but want somewhere comfy to sit and enjoy a book.
An obvious choice in many ways but designs and materials vary enormously. Companion benches are a lovely way for two people to sit together with a small built in table in the middle to rest drinks on. Traditionally benches are made from wood or metal.
The outdoor version of a dining table and chairs, Bistro Sets usually include two chairs rather than four, so great for smaller spaces or balconies. They’re perfect for sipping afternoon tea whilst looking out across the garden.
A great investment if you’ve got kids, swing seats are almost like a garden version of a rocking chair, except they usually have multiple seats and achieve their motion via above suspension rather than the supports. They’re ideal for relaxing on a hot summer’s day and they’re fun for all the family.
The clue is definitely in the name with a garden lounger – they’re perfect for lounging around on, and can usually be modified so that you can either lie completely flat or sit upwards. Perfect for the beach as well as the garden in summer’s warmer weather – or for a bit of luxury camping.
Not to be confused with loungers, lounge sets take everything you’d have in your living room and move it outdoors! Sofas, armchairs, tables and the perfect excuse to enjoy a family meal outdoors.
If you love to throw garden parties, then you’ll need a lot of seating. What’s more, you’ll need a lot of different types of seating. Your ten year old might be alright on that hard bench, but it’s not going to do a lot for the elderly. Look to have three or four types of chair in place. A couple of comfy weaved armchairs and a stool or two will be enough to handle most situations, but it’s always worth having a couple of extra seats available for larger occasions.
Garden seat materials
As a general rule, garden furniture is usually made from wood, metal, plastic or woven material.
Each material has its own positive and negative points. Wood looks great, but needs more maintenance than metal. Metal offers a traditional alternative to wood – you can leave it in the rain for months and it’ll still last (but best tuck away, especially during winter, if you can). Weaving is extremely comfortable, durable and available in many colours.
Essentially, it’s all down to which characteristics you value the most. If style is your aim, go for the timelessness of solid wood. If you’re after durability, opt for metal or resin weave. If you want to leave the seating in the garden and forget about it, plastic is a good option. If you just want to be as comfortable as possible, go for weaving.
It’s worth remembering, though, that the standard of garden furniture now is incredibly high. You’ll get a great build, real comfort and genuine durability whichever one you choose.
It sounds obvious, but it’s really worth thinking about the climate of your garden when choosing your outdoor seating. If you live in a sunny area (lucky you), this probably won’t be as much of a consideration, but if your garden gets battered by rain and windy conditions regularly, this will add another element to your garden furniture decision. Metal and rattan are both hardwearing regardless of weather conditions.
You probably know that garden furniture can be really, really heavy. It’s therefore important to ensure that you plan your space in advance, so you know where it’s going before it arrives. The last thing you want is to be lugging a big piece of furniture around after the removal staff have left. The fewer changes you have to make, the better.
Needless to say, it’s important to ensure that you plan out your budget carefully. Set a specified amount, and then stubbornly refuse to go over it no matter what. Write out a list of exactly what you think you’ll need to complete the garden and ensure that all the prices match up. Don’t forget to factor in things such as delivery and assembly costs.