We may still be awaiting some sunshine but these grey days are the perfect time to start planning your outdoor space. Whether you have a luscious lawn, small courtyard or compact balcony area, a new piece of garden furniture can give your space a stylish facelift and make sure you get the most out of summer.
Although it’s fun to buy furniture, it can be a little nerve-wracking with so many options and decisions to be made, so before you make any choices ask yourself what it is you use your garden for? Do you entertain for friends and family regularly or is it simply for relaxing in? Is it a spot for you and your partner to enjoy an intimate meal or a place that needs to work for all the family? Perhaps it’s all of these.
Consider how much room you have and check that there is space not just for the furniture, but also for people to move around it. You’ll also want to make sure you have somewhere to store it during the winter months and, if not, then ensure the pieces you buy are fit to cope with the rigours of British weather.
Lastly, do you have time for the upkeep? Wooden furniture is designed for strength and durability but most pieces need to be treated annually to protect it against water damage. Rattan-effect furniture, although a lot lighter, requires little maintenance, as does metal – and most designs are now rust-resistant, but do check before you buy.
Whatever your choice, whether it’s a lounger for unwinding on lazy sunny days, a small bistro set to enjoy a morning cuppa in the fresh air, or a larger dining set for family meals, pick wisely. We’ve compiled a selection of some the best products around to help you kick back and relax this summer.
Arizona bistro set
This three-piece set is just too much of a bargain not to give a mention and we think it looks much more expensive than its price tag suggests. Designed in a steel and wicker finish, this set is perfectly on trend, with rattan and wicker having surged into the interiors market in a big way. The two chairs have beautifully high fan-shaped backs, while the small bistro table features a toughened glass top to make it a sturdy base for drinks. The furniture frames are corrosion-resistant and light brown in colour and you also get the light grey fabric cushions with the set, which are suitable for outdoor use. Snap it up while stocks last!
£229 | George Home | Buy it now
Acacia Macrame folding chair
Macrame is certainly having its moment in the spotlight. We’ve seen all manner of wall hangings, plant holders and embellished cushions hit the high street in a big way. This modern take on the deckchair is ideal if you want to continue the trend outdoors for summer. Measuring H94 x W88cm, this chair’s cream-coloured cotton seat is intricately woven to create a beautifully stylish statement you won’t want to give up for anyone. For an added bonus its mango wood frame folds down flat so it’s easy to store away or transport.
£295 | French Connection | Buy it now
Vindalso outdoor trolley
Free your cocktail shaker from the cupboard, the drinks bar is back and it’s moving outside! Whether you use it for jugs of Pimms, cocktail ingredients, or purely for soft drinks, this trolley is great for outdoor use as it’s made from rustproof aluminium and has been pre-treated with several layers of semi-transparent wood stain for added durability. The Vindalso’s rubber-covered wheels means it rolls nice and smoothly, so you won’t have any trouble moving it easily from inside to out, and it also makes a handy extra storage surface when needed. Lastly, the final selling point – as if we needed one – is that at just £80, it won’t break the bank.
£80 | Ikea | Buy it now
LG Casablanca table lounging set with fire pit
No need to invest in a patio heater to warm you up when the sun goes down – this four-seater Moroccan-style table comes with its own firepit set into the centre. While the sun is still hot, you can use the central reservation to hold an ice bucket for drinks, so it’s a multi-purpose piece. The table itself is inspired by Moorish architecture, with a black metal frame and an inset tile design on the table top, while the chairs come with season-proof Eden cushions that are water-repellent, UV resistant and have a superior ‘comfort’ filling that means once sat down, you may not want to get up again.
And if you’re looking for a fire pit just on it’s own, check out our roundup of the best fire pits for 2018 here.
£1,149 | John Lewis | Buy it now
Remember the garden swing seat of old? Well, this Cocoon chair could be considered the modern version and even the look of it makes us feel immediately calm and serene. Imagine yourself curled up on here with a book while the sun shines and you’re shaded from the rays… Made from willow-coloured all-weather wicker on a powder-coated aluminium frame, the chair comes with soft, wipeable cushions with removable covers, a three-year warranty and it is UV stable and frost resistant. We love its rounded shape that is exactly as its name suggests – cocooning and enveloping and a buy that’s sure to give guests a good dose of garden envy.
£599 | Dobbies | Buy it now
Cozy Bay Panama Rattan dining set
When it comes to the ultimate outdoor dining set there are a few essential requirements… Firstly, you need a good-sized table that’s neither too narrow that you’re bumping plates, nor so wide that you’re a mile away from the person on the other side.
Secondly, you want comfortable chairs that won’t leave you racing through your meal to retreat to the comfort of a recliner, and lastly, it needs to be weatherproof to make it suitable for good old English weather. This Panama set from House of Fraser has it all and then some! Measuring 180cm in height, the glass-topped table seats six people comfortably and its rounded oval design makes it a sociable setting. Then there are the armchairs, which are made of high-quality all-weather PE rattan with seat pads that have removable covers. All boxes ticked, and the classic design means this timeless set won’t date, so you can enjoy it for years to come.
£1,429, House of Fraser, Buy it now
Industrial garden chair
We love the idea of placing mismatched chairs around an outdoor table for a more eclectic look and if this idea appeals to you, or you just want to invest in something a little bit special, then you may fall in love with this aluminium design as much as we have. At first glance, it looks just like a traditional cast-iron chair, but look a little closer and you’ll see the back is made up of industrial images as well as butterflies and flowers. There are four colours to choose from plus matching table and armchairs, too.
From £170 | Out There Interiors | Buy it now
Von Haus Textoline Loveseat
Featuring two seats joined by a glass top table, that doubles as an arm rest. We suggest keeping books and newspapers on the handy lower shelf, and placing your tea or coffee on the top while you bask in some mid-afternoon sunshine. The charcoal grey colour and aluminium material makes this a good choice for urban settings, and its slightly curved design means it sits nicely in a corner of the garden or patio. Waterproof and UV-resistant, this modern designed garden furniture can be left outside year round.
£69.99 | Domu | Buy it now
Mission Ridge corner sofa set
Transform your patio or decking into a luxury living area, with this sophisticated sofa set – all you need is an outdoor rug, some decorative cushions and you’re set for the summer! The frame is finished in a Black Walnut powder coat for extra durability, while the cream-coloured cushions are thickly padded for comfort. We like that the set comes apart into four sections that can be moved around easily and then locked together safely when in position, and the handy coffee table is strong enough that it can double as an extra seat or footstool when needed. Seating six people with room to spare, you’ll need around four square metres of floor space for this set.
£449.99 | Very | Buy it now *On sale now!
Fiji Magic Apple Day Bed
Take the weight off your feet and relax in the sunshine, with a lounger that’s reminiscent of poolside Ibiza settings – albeit with a difference. This unique design is a stylish day bed but comes in the shape of an apple, with a top section that can be closed with the cushion inside to form a compact pod complete with apple stalk. When it’s opened out, the stalk is then used as a stand for the top section and can be put in one of three positions, so you can recline to your heart’s content. Manufactured to look and feel like natural rattan, it’s durable, won’t fade and can be left outside all year round.
£899.99 | The Garden Furniture Centre | Buy it now
Rosedale garden shelving
Not everyone has a lush garden flourishing with flowers and if you’re suffering from a severe lack of greenery, then a garden shelf unit is ideal. This vintage-inspired, metal Rosedale model will make a pretty addition and features two shelves that are ideal for displaying pots and troughs – so you can add some much-needed colour and foliage into the smallest of outdoor spaces. Sage green in colour, 165cm high and 75cm wide, you could also use it to house watering cans, garden tools and an array of herbs for cooking. An attractive piece of furniture that works hard for its money.
£159 | Marks & Spencer | Buy it now *On sale now!
Padstow bistro set
Splash out on some garden furniture that will add colour as well as a practical seating area to your outside space. Although many of the larger dining tables and chairs are typically natural-look wicker or wood, bistro sets often come in brighter shades and this burnt orange colour is a sight for sore eyes. Casual in style and compact enough that it won’t take up too much space, the metal chairs and table both fold up for easy storage and are rust, weather and UV resistant. Also available in apple green, sky blue and purple, we think this one is a hit for patios and courtyards that could do with a pop of colour.
£61.99 | Wayfair | Buy it now *On sale now
Rome outdoor sofa
Brand new to the market and with good looks that are hard to beat, this Rome sofa is like the Aston Martin of the garden furniture world. It’s cool, sleek and stylish, and will be roaring into shops this month. Designed by Henrik Pedersen for Bo Concept, it’s a sofa that is said to blur the line between indoor and out, showcasing luxurious elegance, living-room sensibility and the brand’s characteristic simplicity. What we love about Rome is that it’s a modular design, made up of three sections, which can be used together, alone or reconfigured to how you’d like them. An aluminium frame, high-comfort seat and back cushion, high-performance anti-weather fabric… you name it, it’s got it – plus an integrated coffee table to boot.
From £4, 979 | Bo Concept | Buy it now *Additional versions available
Mead garden bench set
A modern take on the traditional picnic bench, this Mead design is ideal for anyone wanting to dine al fresco, especially families with children who don’t mind squishing up together. Beautifully sculpted rounded edges are pleasing to the eye, while the Graphite Blue metal frame adds a small splash of colour – although it also comes in Charcoal Grey should you prefer. The table measures H76 x L150cm and comes with two bench seats that can be stored underneath when not in use. The furniture is made with sturdy recycled polywood and makes a green investment piece that will last you for summers to come.
£499 | Made | Buy it now
Santiago dining set
Garden furniture can be a big outlay so if you’re looking for a dining set that won’t date then this one’s for you. The Santiago six-seater set boasts timeless appeal and is made from high-quality aluminium that has been heat treated and electrostatically coated in a stylish taupe shade. Matching chairs feature a textiline fabric for comfort and the best part is that they are maintenance free and stackable, so great for storing away neatly if you’re short of space (although they can be left outside all year round). We like its clean lines, slatted table top and the tapered chair frames – a good investment that will stand the test of time.
£499 | Out & Out Original | Buy it now
If you’re looking for a smaller but smart seating option then we don’t think you can get much better than the Arizona set, which is not only incredibly comfortable and stylish but one of those sets that will have you feeling super smug about the affordable price.
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