With so many different styles of garden furniture available, how can you decide which set is going to be right for your outdoor space?
We’ve used our garden expertise to select the five main things that we think are most important when choosing your garden furniture:
What size furniture set do I need?
The space you’ve selected for your furniture should be level and away from any outdoor hazards. Measure the total area and then you’ll have a good idea of the space that’s available for your furniture and what sized pieces will be able to practically fit there. It’s tempting to go for the largest set you can accommodate, but you’ll need to make sure that you leave enough room to comfortably walk around it and are able to pull out or recline chairs if necessary.
Once you have your area planned out you’ll see that we have something to suit every type of space, from little bistro sets, to large dining sets and outdoor sofas.
2 seater sets
Sometimes known as bistro sets, this combination of a small table and two chairs are a compact and cosy choice when you’re limited on space. Perfect for balconies, they’re often foldable or stackable so you can enjoy a table for two when you need it and more space when you don’t.
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4, 6, and 8 seater tables and chairs
Garden dining sets come in similar sizes to their indoor counterparts. Depending on the space you have available and the number of guests you’re planning to invite round, you can choose between versions with 4, 6 or 8 seats. If you’re planning to do some outdoor dining, look towards getting a table and an appropriate number of matching chairs. If you’re looking for a similarly sized set with a more informal feel you could also try a bench set, ideal for relaxed alfresco dining.
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If you’re looking for more relaxed outdoor seating then a garden sofa is a good alternative. Available in a range of different sizes and configurations there’s a suitable, comfortable sofa for all garden shapes and sizes. Combine with matching footstools and coffee tables to create the perfect outdoor space to socialise in.
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A great way to customise your outdoor furniture to fit your space is by creating your own pieces using pallets. You can go as small or as spacious as you like and it’s really easy to do.
Check out our guide to creating pallet furniture
These seats are ideal whether you have a smaller outdoor space, or want to put a small seat into a larger garden to create an additional seating area:
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Loungers and beds
If you really want to unwind in your garden then a sun lounger or day bed can be a great way of using your outdoor space to relax. You can buy them as standalone items or can match them to your existing furniture.
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What style of garden furniture should I choose?
In general, the style of the garden furniture you choose should complement the age and design of your home and your garden. Wooden furniture is a good fit for more traditional looking properties, while metal furniture tends to look better in more contemporary spaces. Rattan furniture is a great choice for most properties as it can add a rustic touch of elegance to both older and newer styles.
What furniture set is best for my social life?
Do you enjoy hosting family summer BBQs? Love holding afternoon tea parties in the garden with friends, or just enjoy sitting in the sunshine having a little me time outdoors? Working out which types of occasions you’re going to use your garden furniture for the most will help you choose the right mix for your social life.
If you love barbecues and eating outside with family and friends, then an outdoor dining set is essential. For 1-2 people you’ll only need a bistro set but if you know you’ll be catering for larger groups of people choose the largest size available so everyone has space to sit at the table.
Relaxing with friends
If you’re just looking to create somewhere to lounge in your garden, then an outdoor sofa or some customised pallet furniture will help you create a cosy corner. If you really want to kick back and recline, choose a garden swing or some sun loungers.
Enjoying some quiet time
Sometimes it’s nice just to enjoy some peace and tranquillity. By placing a bench, day bed or companion seat in a quieter, undisturbed part of your garden you’ll always have somewhere to seek sanctuary.
The perfect party
For the occasions where you know you’ll be inviting more guests than usual it’s worth investing in some lightweight foldable or stackable chairs that can easily be stored away when you’re not using them. If your guests don’t mind sitting on the ground then some large outdoor cushions and blankets can also be effective.
There’s a wide range of cushions at Homebase in a variety of colours and styles, from seat backs and chair pads for existing garden furniture sets, to cushions designed for sun loungers and benches. They’re all made from fire resistant fabrics, immune to the fading effects of sunlight, and while they’re more water resistant than regular cushions you’ll still want to take them inside when it rains.
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To keep your furniture looking its best we recommend keeping it away from the worst of the weather, you can either pack it up and store it away or cover it.
If you’re planning to store your furniture in a garage or shed over the winter, then it’s a good idea to look at stackable and foldable varieties to maximise your storage space. Always remember to make sure that your furniture is clean and dry before you store it away to prevent any mould from growing.
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For bigger sets that won’t fit in storage, you can invest in furniture covers that can be used year after year. Just make sure your furniture is clean and dry before you cover it for the winter.
We stock two types of cover to keep your set safely under wraps:
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These are made from 100% polyethylene and are a completely water resistant.
Like the standard covers, our premium ones are also made of 100% polyethylene, but with the addition of a PVC backing for added protection. They also feature tapered seams for improved water resistance, breathable sections to allow any trapped moisture to escape, and come with a handy carry bag to store them in when the sun is shining.
Garden furniture materials
As well as the design of your garden furniture it’s important to look at what it’s made of, as different materials have different features, such as strength or weight and may need to be maintained and stored differently. Our table below will help you select the material that best fits your lifestyle:
Caring for wooden garden furniture
Wooden garden furniture can be left to weather naturally or if you'd prefer you can use a wood paint or stain. This will help to prolong the life of the furniture and match it to the overall look and colour scheme of your garden. Take a look at the video below for a quick and easy guide on how to treat wooden garden furniture:
Parasols for garden furniture
A parasol is the perfect way to keep cool on a hot summer’s day. When buying a garden furniture set, check whether a parasol is included and whether it comes with a parasol base. It’s best to use a base with your parasol to provide stability, even when used with a table. You’ll need to consider the size, style, opening mechanism and base.
- Up to 2.1m – Perfect for 2 people, enough shade for a bench, bistro set or lounger.
- 2.3-2.5m – Provides a bit more shade, great for 4 seater sets.
- 2.7-3m – Ample shade for up to 8 seater tables.
- If you’re hosting a bigger party and want to provide a nice shady space for your guests, try a gazebo – we have a great range from 3m2.
- Standard – simple and elegant, these fit with any garden style.
- Crank & tilt – allowing you to angle the parasol to provide maximum protection from the sun.
- Cantilever/overhanging – the offset pole means the canopy is suspended to the side, great for socialising – no more leaning sideways to try to see who you’re talking to. These look ultra-modern and stylish in any setting.
- Push-up – opened by sliding the mechanism up the pole like an umbrella, locking in place with a pin or catch.
- Pulley – opens by pulling a cord rather than manually pushing the mechanism up.
- Crank handle – simply turn the handle and the parasol opens up and locks in place.
These are available in a variety of styles from traditional wood, to ultra-modern granite. Check the diameter of your parasol pole to find a base that fits yours. If your parasol will be freestanding it will need a much heavier base than one used with a table.
The size of the area your parasol will be used in should also be considered – an area that is more exposed will need a sturdier base to protect the parasol from damage or falling on windy days.
A 2m parasol used with a table may only need a 15-20kg base to keep it sufficiently stable; a 2.5-3m parasol would need a 20-30kg base. Freestanding parasols need a heavier base as they won’t have the added stability of a table so use at least a 30 kg base – you need approximately 10 kg more weight to your base for a freestanding parasol base compared to a parasol placed in the centre hole of a table.
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