Warm spring days and balmy summer nights mean one thing – outdoor living. Whether you’re basking in the northern summer now or are looking forward to warmer days to come, it’s a good idea to be prepared with a range of outdoor furniture to see you through any occasion. Whether you’re off for a day at the beach or planning a BBQ in your back yard, you’ll want something more than a rug to relax on. Here are our top tips on buying the right outdoor furniture for your needs:
Wood – Hardwoods, such as teak, eucalyptus, and oak, make beautiful outdoor furniture and, if cared for properly, last for decades. Wooden furniture can often be stacked and stored in the winter. However, they can be quite heavy and teak requires annual oiling to prevent it turning grey.
Aluminium – Light enough to be easily moved, yet solid enough to withstand wind, aluminium outdoor furniture is an affordable and popular option and is available in a wide range of coloured powder coated finishes. The lack of ability to stack and store means they often have to be kept outside all year round.
Synthetic rattan or wicker – Stylish and modern, this weather-resistant material, often crafted over an aluminium frame, is used to create comfortable outdoor armchairs and sofas for true outdoor living. However, as with aluminium furniture, they don’t stack and store easily.
Textilene – Textilene is often utilised, in conjunction with wood or aluminium, to create lightweight outdoor furniture for use on the move, such as folding chairs.
Table and chair sets
Firstly, consider the area in which your table and chairs will reside. Measure it, making sure to include enough room for each chair to be moved backwards for people to sit down and get up. Once you know the size you need, also consider which shape would best suit the space – square, round, oval, or rectangular. If you only have a small space, a bistro set is ideal, whereas large families, or those who love to entertain, and who have the space should opt for a bigger table and multiple chairs.
For those who just love to be outdoors, a comfortable outdoor sofa set is heaven. A sofa and armchairs crafted from a synthetic or real rattan base, topped with soft cushions, with matching side tables and coffee table, both looks and plays the part.
What’s more relaxing than chilling out in your back yard in the sunshine on a reclining lounger (preferably with ice-cold drink in hand)? A wide range of loungers are available, from classy wooden ones, to smart brushed aluminium ones, to cheap and cheerful plastic ones. Choose one in the same material as your garden set, ideally with wheels for portability, or select a lightweight one for popping in the car.
When it comes to a beach chair, the lighter the better, and collapsibility is essential. You might also want to consider drink holders, a head rest, and heat-resistant material.
Copywriter and journalist Emily Buckley lives for the summer and adores spending lazy Sunday afternoons entertaining in the garden. She also contributes articles for BIG W, a leading Australian retailer.