How to choose garden furniture
During the summer, your garden becomes an extra room where you can relax, dine or entertain. And, just like your home, your garden has a character of its own, so it’s important to pick pieces that suit the space available. When it comes to choosing garden furniture, even the smallest outdoor oasis is worthy of some stylish furnishings. From a balcony in the city to a pristine lawn in the suburbs, we take you on a tour of British homes and gardens to help you find garden furniture that fits.
What garden furniture will fit on a balcony?
Living in the city centre, with all its perks, often means compromising on your outdoor space. However, if you are lucky enough to live in flat with a balcony or terrace, it’s important to make the most of it. Stackable or foldable garden furniture is a clever solution for your spacial shortcomings: a metal table and chair set for two will fit even the most petite of balconies, whilst an outdoor dining set where the chairs can be nested underneath the table is a good investment for a larger roof terrace.
If there’s no space for a dining table and chairs, then a comfortable armchair (or two) paired with a side table, is a must. With smaller balconies or roof terraces, it’s the accessories that take it to another level.
How can I furnish a small terrace garden?
Victorian terrace houses are full of character, but unfortunately, the same can’t be said for their gardens. The gloomy, narrow side alley that runs alongside the house is often dark and neglected; the modest backyard is frequently paved, lacking greenery and overlooked by neighbouring buildings. Terrace gardens have so much potential and are crying out for the right furniture and accessories to transform them – and all you need is a bit of imagination.
The side alley might be in shadow for most of the day, but don’t write it off: add a dining table and a couple of dining benches, and you’ve created a cool, shaded dining space to escape to during the midday sun. Modular garden furniture is great for making sure every inch of space is used efficiently. An L-shaped sofa in the corner of the garden offers plenty of comfortable seating for guests to relax in the sun. Add to that a combination of side tables, coffee tables and ottomans for extra surfaces and storage, and you have the perfect set up for entertaining a small gathering.
To maintain a sense of privacy and incorporate much-needed greenery, why not add a pergola or arch to your back garden? Adorned with climbing plants, it will keep the garden looking green and help make it feel more welcoming. You could even consider using artificial foliage if you’re not a fan of gardening: it looks so realistic (and the best thing is you don’t need to water it!). On a smaller scale, outdoor planters are great for housing a small tree or a small bush – you could even plant a little herb garden in one.
How to style a suburban semi-detached garden
Head out of town into the suburbs and you’ll find street after street of semi-detached houses, where manicured lawns and straight paths work in harmony with modern, angular furniture design. Whilst there may be marginally more space outside than a terrace (you might even have a garden in front of your house as well), furniture choices still need to be carefully considered and difficult decisions need to be made: do you go for an alfresco living or dining area?
A corner sofa paired with a coffee table (plus coffee and cake, of course) creates a welcoming outdoor sitting room. Somewhere to store cushions or throws is also very useful, and an outdoor trunk can also double up as a side table. Should you decide to go for option B, then a simple long wooden trestle table with benches is a classic look for any style of garden. To create a more intimate dining setting, a small square table and four chairs has a minimal footprint and can be easily covered up during the winter months when not in use. And if you still can’t decide, a height adjustable coffee/dining table offers the best of both worlds.
What type of garden furniture works best for a country cottage?
Close your eyes and imagine a typical British garden. Do you immediately picture a chocolate-box cottage with a white picket fence or crumbling stone wall surrounding it, the overgrown garden filled with colourful wildflowers that create a haven for wildlife? Romantic, poetic and whimsical, a classic country cottage garden requires furniture that complements rather than competes with the surroundings – the garden itself is the star and we are the audience.
Garden furniture crafted from natural materials such as stone or wood will blend into the landscape, and the beauty of these pieces is that they look better as they age. A metal garden bench with a beautiful weathered patina, whether nestled under a weeping willow tree or inside a garden arch, provides a picturesque spot for quiet contemplation (just add a couple of cushions for extra comfort).
Choosing furniture for a manor house garden
A bigger house often means a bigger garden to furnish. However, proportion is everything – you don’t want the furniture you choose to get lost in its vast surroundings. Like open plan living, larger gardens frequently have a number of ‘zones’ for different purposes, all requiring different furniture.
For the patio beside the house, a large outdoor dining table with comfortable dining chairs is essential. Sometimes we even put two tables end to end to create an even larger one so we can fit everyone around it! For the large expanse of lawn that stretches beyond, you’ll need an outdoor sofa, coffee table and some armchairs for relaxing. Aim to include a few lightweight outdoor chairs that can be easily moved into the shade should it get too hot. And speaking of hot, if your garden comes with a swimming pool, you’re definitely going to need some sunbeds and parasols. Another great place to position a really comfortable sofa is underneath a tall, leafy tree – you’ll definitely want to spend lots of time here, either seeking the shade on a hot day, or sheltering from the rain.
Well-designed and high-quality garden furniture is an investment, so choose pieces that will defy the trends, stand up to all kinds of weather and continue to deliver comfort season after season.