Even the best designed gardens can be let down with the wrong outdoor furniture and in those spaces that are simple the right furniture can really elevate the whole user experience, so how do you make sure your investment is worthwhile? Well, I have a few tips and tricks to selecting the right pieces for your home.
You first need to work out how you want to use the space, is it for outdoor dining, lounging around on a summer’s day, it might be a little spot for an afternoon tea amongst the flowers, perhaps it’s for sunbathing or cold nights out by the firepit? The use of the space will have the biggest effect on the furniture you select and if you can get something that doubles up for dual purpose all the better.
Getting the size right is the next key factor, so many people wish for a bit more space and squeeze furniture in just because it fits but this sends all the proportions off and the space looks and feels cramped. Try to be realistic with the area you have and always leave space around furniture for human circulation. It’s much more comfortable and enjoyable when it’s easy to get up from the table and move around rather than pushing your chair into a wall and climbing over people to get out.
Extension tables are a great invention as they can be used in a smaller format in everyday use and then maximised when you have more guests around – I recently had this discussion (argument) with my wife, we have a larger group of people around once maybe twice a year so why have a table that clutters up the space every day?
Your garden furniture should most definitely suit the style of garden you have so the whole thing feels like it was designed as one however you need to consider what you are putting your furniture on to maximise comfort. For example, a metal chair with a thin leg is no good on a gravel surface as it sinks in and feels unstable, they also can get stuck on the gaps between decking, however on a stone paved courtyard they are perfect.
Like everything outdoors your new furniture will require some level of maintenance, if its timber it may need re treating with a sand and some oil, for metal you need to check the surface is intact or it might start rusting and will require painting, powder coated aluminium is the lowest maintenance but worth checking regularly to increase longevity. When making your selection its good to confirm the level of maintenance with the supplier and ensure you can sustain what’s required.
If you are buying furniture with cushions you have a few options, for the lower end of the budget you’ll need a dry and weatherproof space as they will rot quickly in the rain. With a bit more of an investment you can upgrade to weatherproof fabric and quick drying foam to prevent mould growth on the cushions. It is always a good idea to get a weatherproof cover for longer periods such as winter or when you are away on holidays to protect your cushions and lounges.
The most important thing to do before you buy a piece of furniture is to check its comfortable – the dream is to be out relaxing in the garden and if you don’t find the furniture comfortable, well it won’t happen. The majority of good suppliers offer foam in different density so you can specify hard, medium or soft so ask the sale representative for as many options as possible.
When buying outdoor furniture budget is of course an influencing factor however buying too cheap will be a false economy. Compare the money you spend on indoor pieces and factor in the frame, supports, cushions and fabric all have to withstand our harsh Australian climate, the pounding heat the rain, and the changes in temperature will all stress and age your furniture so buy the best quality you can afford and your furniture will reward you with some great times and memories made in your garden.