Choosing new garden furniture is a great way to transform your outside space and get more use from your garden. By choosing the right size and style and materials of outdoor furniture for your needs, the area can essentially become an extra room for you to enjoy, whether it’s an apartment balcony, a small courtyard or a spacious established garden. There are many different factors to consider before you make your garden furniture choices:

  • How many people will use the outdoor space and what will they use it for? For dining, relaxing with a good book, family games or parties/BBQs?

  • What is the size and shape of the outside area that you want to furnish? Do you already have a patio or decking?

  • Do you have anywhere to store the furniture when not in use? If so, it’s important to choose items that are easy to move around and fold up or stack for easier storage. If not, you’ll need to consider materials that are suited to being outside year-round.

  • What is your garden furniture budget?

    If you’re not sure what outdoor items to go for, the best materials for your requirements or the amount of care and maintenance that different types of furniture require, our garden furniture buying guide might be able to help you achieve the outside space you’ve always wanted. Read the whole guide or click below to jump to the section of your choice.

Garden furniture protection - Looking after your garden furniture & accessories

Whilst some garden furniture is designed to be kept outdoors year-round, in order to maximise the lifetime of your products, it is usually best to cover them with suitable weatherproof material when not in use and throughout the winter months. If your outdoor furniture includes detachable cushions and other soft furnishings, it’s also best to store these somewhere dry and protected from the elements, such as a shed or garden storage box, to ensure they stay in top condition.

If high winds are forecast, it’s also wise to take down or move any tall furniture or accessories you might have, such as parasols, gazebos and canopies, to prevent any damage to these piece or the rest of your garden.

To keep your garden furniture in great condition, year-after-year, there are some things you can do to help maintain and protect your outdoor pieces from degradation.

To keep your garden furniture in great condition, year-after-year, there are some things you can do to help maintain and protect your outdoor pieces from degradation.

Caring for wooden garden furniture

To remain in best possible condition your wooden furniture will need treating annually. Wood oil can help with treatment, and will make your furniture last longer whilst keeping its original look and design.

It’s perfectly normal for wooden garden sets to develop cracks along the grain after they've been exposed to the sun and rain. Although excessive cracking and chipping may indicate more severe weather damage.

Ensure all screws are regularly tightened and inspected for any signs of damage.


Protecting metal garden furniture

Metal is great if you are looking for low maintenance, long-lasting furniture.

Metal garden furniture requires little maintenance, and is mostly cleaned with water. You can use a pressure washer on a low setting to clean it, but avoid using it on more fragile parts such as glass tops as this may cause damage to the design.

With steel sets make sure that any scratches that expose the bare metal underneath are treated to prevent rust. If rust occurs, remove using steel wool, and then touch up the affected area using an exterior metal paint of the same colour.


Looking after rattan garden furniture

Synthetic rattan, called Poly-Rattan, is the most common material in garden furniture, due to its sturdiness and unique design.

Poly-Rattan is UV and water resistant and requires little maintenance, simply wash and wipe down when required. However, the steel or aluminium frame will require the same care as metal garden furniture.

If left outdoors during colder weather, Poly Rattan can wear, split or peel. Suitable covers will help to prevent damage from heavy frosts.

Protecting garden parasoles

If parasols get wet, leave them open to dry out thoroughly. This will prevent any damage to the frame and will also keep the fabric in great condition.

They should always be removed and stored somewhere safe in high winds and throughout the winter.

Types of garden furniture:

Patio sets

Depending on the size of space you’ve got to work with and how many people you are looking to seat outdoors, patio sets can be the ideal choice. Great for families or situations when you’re likely to want outdoor dining for four or more people, patio sets include a large table, which can be square, rectangular or round, and usually anywhere between 4-8 chairs. Some garden patio sets include a sun parasol and may also incorporate other types of furniture, such as stools, side tables or loungers, as well as chairs for sitting around the main table. They are often made from metal, wood or rattan, and some incorporate glass and plastic components too.

Bistro sets

The perfect option when space is limited, bistro sets incorporate a small table, often round in shape, and anywhere between 2-4 chairs. The ideal place for a couple of people to dine or enjoy drinks outdoors, bistro sets are a very popular choice for those with small balconies, yards or gardens as they take up very little room. They are usually made from rattan, metal, glass or wood.

Garden sets

Often made from hard wood, garden sets usually include a table and seating for 4-6 people; sometimes with a combination of bench seats and single chairs. Ideal for families who eat outdoors frequently and want garden furniture that can be used at any time of the year. These wooden garden sets are often fairly heavy, so are good at standing up to the usual UK weather, and can be kept outside year-round (weatherproof covers are recommended when not in use and the wood may need re-treating during its lifetime).

Terrace sets

For a less formal seating area outside, ideal for relaxing with drinks, you may want to consider a terrace set, which are often made from rattan. Perfect to sit and enjoy the early sunshine with a cup of tea, or a great social area for family or friends to lounge on and watch the sun set. Terrace sets tend to be best suited to larger patio or decked areas and will need protection from the elements when not in use.

Outdoor sofas

With comfortable cushions and space for several people to sit or lounge, garden suites are essentially sofas for the outside. They are often made from rattan and garden sofas really do make the outdoors feel like an extension of your home; however, they do require protection from the weather when not in use.

Love seats

Great for a smaller outdoor space on patio or decking, love seats are the perfect place to enjoy drinks and a good book in the garden. Combining comfortable seating and often a small table and storage space, love seats come in a range of designs and materials, so there will be something to suit any style of outside area. 


Swing seats & freestanding garden hammocks

Whether you want a giant egg chair to curl up in with a book, a double swing seat so you can enjoy the warmer days and evenings next someone you love, or a freestanding hammock to gently swing in as you relax outdoors, there will be something that fits with your size of garden and sense of style. These types of freestanding garden seating are great for any type of outside space, with options that work brilliantly for individuals, couples, families and big social groups.


A timeless classic, the garden bench looks at home in any outdoor space. Usually made from wood, metal or a combination of both, garden benches offer seating all-year-round and can be placed almost anywhere outside. Perfect for enjoying some summer sun, taking a break from gardening, reading the morning paper or enjoying a cool drink on warm day and durable enough to last for years, garden benches have been a staple of UK gardens for so long for a very good reason.


Whether you’re a sun-lover or a fan of the shade on hot days, the lounger is a staple piece of garden furniture when the weather is being kind. The beauty of garden loungers is that most are fully adjustable, so you can find the position that is most comfortable to you and simply relax. Often with built-in pillows too, loungers are versatile pieces of outdoor furniture that can turn your garden into the ideal place to catch some rays, read a book or even have a summer afternoon snooze. Some lounger sets also include small tables to hold drinks, phones or reading material, making them all that you need for a spell outdoors on warm days.


Whether you’re hosting a garden party, BBQ, or just fancy having some shade to retreat to on a hot day, gazebos are an ideal solution. Packing away easily for storage when not in use, gazebos are a great choice for garden furniture as they are perfectly suited to the UK climate; offering shade on sunny days and can provide shelter from light showers too. There are gazebos available with roll-down insect shields, making them a brilliant idea for dining outdoors, taking on camping trips with you or just for some protection as evening falls and the insects come out to play in full force in the garden.

Children’s garden furniture

Garden furniture isn’t just for grown-ups! You can also get great outdoor furniture made with children in mind. From freestanding tables and benches with built-in sand pits, to miniature versions of the full-sized range of garden furniture, so the whole family can enjoy something just right for them in their outdoor space. Perfect for everything from picnics to playtime, kids’ outdoor furniture is a great choice for any family to help make their garden complete.

Garden lighting

Lighting in your garden can be both practical and decorative. The right choice in garden lights can really add to and transform the look and feel of your outdoor space when the sun goes down, with most solar lighting requiring little or no maintenance. With everything from security lights to table lights, topiary lights, parasol lights, fence lights and path lights, you can find the right combination for your outside space.

Garden furniture FAQs

We have compiled answers to some of the most common questions asked about garden furniture.

What is the best material for garden furniture?

The ideal materials for your choice in garden furniture will depend on a number of factors:

If your outdoor furniture is going to be stored inside a shed or weatherproof storage area when not in use, you can choose from any type. If your furniture needs to remain outdoors even through the colder and wetter months, you may want to choose wooden garden pieces (which usually require treating every few years), plastic furniture or metal furniture and ensure that you have covers for your pieces to help protect them all year round.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance garden furniture, most types are suitable, including rattan pieces, metal, wood or plastic, although all will require some level of care and maintenance to keep them looking and performing at their best for longer.

If lightweight and foldable or stackable garden furniture is what you’re after, so that it’s easy to move around and store, you may find that metal and plastic pieces work best for your needs.

What kinds of garden furniture are waterproof?

Most types of garden furniture are designed to withstand some of the elements, but some are better suited to being outside all year round than others. Treated or painted wooden garden furniture is usually able to deal with some wet weather, as is plastic, metal and rattan furniture. However, cushions, seat pads and parasols will need to be stored somewhere dry to stop them from getting wet and degrading as a result. Metal garden furniture may rust if not properly protected from the elements and all types of garden pieces can degrade if not covered for extreme weather, such as heavy rainfall and storms.

All types of garden furniture will be better protected, cleaner and last for longer when outdoor furniture covers are used.

Can you put garden furniture on artificial grass?

Most pieces of regular garden furniture are appropriate to be used on artificial grass. However, it’s important to check that the outdoor furniture you want to use on an artificial lawn doesn’t have sharp feet or edges that could pierce or damage the grass layer.

Vert heavy garden furniture should only be used on paved, concreted or decking areas rather than artificial grass. Also ensure that you don’t use garden accessories such as BBQs or fire pits on artificial grass, as heat can cause significant damage.

Is rattan furniture weatherproof?

Natural rattan is not as hardwearing or weatherproof as Poly-Rattan, so if you want the rattan look, but with the convenience of rattan furniture that is water-resistant, Poly-Rattan could be the best option. This type of furniture often has a metal frame underneath, which needs to be cared for in the same way as standard metal garden furniture. All cushions or padding will need to be removed and stored somewhere dry. Very cold weather and heavy frost can damage rattan furniture and cause it to degrade faster. Therefore, it’s recommended to bring natural rattan indoors in colder months and to cover all rattan garden furniture with appropriate weatherproof covers to help it last for longer and stay looking great.

Can garden furniture stay outside all year round?

Some types of garden furniture are made to stay outdoors all year, but will require some care, maintenance and protection in order to stay looking its best and reduce damage due to bad weather. Covers are recommended for wooden, metal and rattan garden furniture that stays outdoors, if there is not indoor or other dry and protected storage space available.

When is the best time to buy garden furniture?

Many people look to buy new garden furniture in springtime, as the weather starts to warm up and the days lengthen, which is a natural time for people to start using their outside space more. However, lots of garden furniture can be used all year round, so there is not a set time that is best to shop for new outdoor pieces.

There are often lots of special offers for garden furniture at the start and end of the summer season, but sometimes good deals can be found at other times of year too. Making sure you have the furniture you want for your outdoor space when the good weather hits usually means that most people buy their garden furniture between March-September.

What is the best garden furniture for a small garden?

Finding the right garden furniture for a small garden can be tricky, as the available space needs to be used cleverly; even more so if there are several people that want to enjoy the area.

Using a small bistro set, perhaps one that folds away when not in use, can be a great way to dine outdoors without a large patio set taking up all of the space. Careful use of solar lighting can make small spaces feel larger, and any furniture that can be used in more than one way can be especially useful in setting where space is limited e.g. children’s benches that include a sandpit or adjustable seating that can be a chair or a lounger.