The garden furniture Mumsnetters swear by

Garden furniture

With warmer weather just around the corner, some decent garden furniture will help you make the most of your outdoor space. Eating outside is particularly pleasant, and has the added bonus of making you feel like you're on holiday, so a dining table and chairs should be at the top of your list. Here's our guide to the garden furniture Mumsnetters swear by.

Things to consider when buying garden furniture

  • Space

If you have a big garden and plenty of patio space then you can put in a large outdoor dining table, sofa, reclining chairs of whatever else you fancy. But even if you have limited space, a small yard or a balcony, you can still find outdoor furniture to fit your needs – a Bistro table with two chairs is classic piece of garden furniture and a good one will last years. Make sure you measure your space before you start looking, though.

  • Material

Rattan is sophisticated and on trend, teak is tough and timeless, while metal is both of those things and more too. Of course, there's also plastic which is lightweight and easy to clean. You will, we expect, already know what material garden furniture you're looking for and much of that will be down to personal taste. Bear in mind how it will look with cushions, parasol and anything else you might want to add, how it will fit in with the aesthetics of your outdoor space, as well as how easily it can be put away. Which leads us to…

  • Storage

Eventually, the warmer months come to an end and your garden furniture needs to be put away (or at the very least covered with something ultra-durable). Yes, that even applies to all-weather garden furniture. The British weather never fails to disappoint surprise us – sustained rain can warp wood, corrode metals and make fabric go mouldy – and, even though good garden furniture looks better with age, putting it away when the weather turns makes sense. It will put your mind at rest and will preserve the material, sparing you any nasty surprises when it comes to time to use it next year. So think about where you'll store it and, if you're short of space, consider folding furniture.

Kettler Palma mini set, £1,349.99

Kettler Palma mini set, £1,349.99

Kettler make top of the range garden furniture in a variety of styles. Inevitably, it’s not cheap but those Mumsnetters who did splash out on it tend to attest to its style and quality. The Palma collection is one of Kettler’s most popular ranges and, while the mini set is compact, it can still cater for six people. Manufactured with a strong aluminium frame and high-quality weatherproof hand-woven wicker (in rattan or white), it’s sturdy, durable and would work well in the garden or in a conservatory.

“I have a Kettler Palma corner set which has two three-seater sofas. It's brilliant quality and has really changed my life, worth every penny. The cushions are heavy duty and withstand a shower. I have covers which I put on for heavy rain. I keep them behind the sofa and just pull them over. Last year I didn't use the cover and the cushions got soaked through several times. They still look great!”

“I bought a Kettler table and chairs which lasts better than anything else I've had. I bought them because we have nowhere to store them indoors and they can stay out.”

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Ikea Solleron modular corner sofa, £963

Ikea Solleron modular corner sofa, £963

Ikea comes up time and again when garden furniture is discussed on Mumsnet. A bit like the Kettler – but quite a bit cheaper – this combination of separate seating sections means you can create a sofa in a shape and size to suit your space. So whether you want to spread out, or gather round for casual dining, this is a versatile option. The cushion covers are water-repellent, fade-resistant and easy to remove for machine washing. There’s storage space under the seats which is handy for blankets and extra cushions.

“I recommend the Ikea rattan-look all weather outside furniture .I also saw a weather-resistant pale grey table there as that looked really good.”

“The all-weather basket weave furniture is really lovely and hard-wearing. Ikea have a good range that can be left out all year.”

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ASDA Ashville seven-piece folding garden patio set, £199

ASDA Ashville seven-piece folding garden patio set, £199

ASDA offer an extensive range of garden furniture that includes cheaper sofa sets, stylish polyrattan chairs with glass-surface tables, basic plastic outdoor furniture and much more. What they’re really good at is affordable table and chair sets, like this one, which is made from sustainable acacia hardwood, with a beautiful oiled finish. It features a folding oval-shaped table with a parasol hole and six folding chairs, so it's perfect for weekend family brunches and small dinner parties on balmy nights.

“I recommended ASDA for garden furniture where I got a table, chairs and brolly for a reasonable price. It's pretty good and nice and plain.”

“I recommend ASDA wooden garden furniture, which stacks for storage and is very good value!”

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Marks and Spencer Bistro Table & Chairs, £199.20

Marks and Spencer Bistro Table & Chairs, £199.20

This little classic is made from steel and shows that garden furniture needn't just be about finding something big to suit the whole family. Ideal for enjoying coffee with a friend, a quiet moment alone, or perhaps an aperitif with your partner, this traditional bistro table lets you enjoy comfort in your own garden in style. Tuck it in the shade when you want to cool off or pull it out when you want to sit and catch the sun. It comes with comfortable water repellent seat pads which should mean the cushions look newer for longer.

“We have found the metal furniture from M&S lasts well and we leave it out all year.”

“I would recommend metal garden furniture. With padded cushions which can be brought out as required. No upkeep at all. Lasts for years.”

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Ikea Applaro drop-leaf table, £99

Ikea Applaro drop-leaf table, £99

A sturdy but sleek table can be the centre-piece of your garden furniture. The drop-leaves mean this one can be folded and removed easily, so you can quickly adjust the table size according to your needs (handy for storage too, eh?). It’s been pre-treated with several layers of semi-transparent wood stain which brings out the natural character of the wood and increases its durability. As one Mumsnetters explains, a couple of coats of oil really suit the table, as well as the chairs that are also available to get with it.

“I have the smaller drop-leaf Applaro table from Ikea and four folding wooden chairs plus cushions. I gave the chairs two or three coats of oil (after a light sanding) in the spring and they've come up beautifully. I left them a day or so between coats for the oil to fully sink in and dry. Folding sets give us more space on the patio and I can put them away over winter.”

“We have the modular Applaro range from Ikea. It’s under a pergola but been outside over a year. The cushion covers are wipeable and machine washable.”

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Argos Six Seater Rattan Effect Sofa, £1045

Argos Six Seater Rattan Effect Sofa, £1045

Perfect for entertaining or just plain old relaxing, this three unit set can be pulled apart, leaving a pair of teardrop-shaped sofas either side of the padded coffee table. Alternatively, you can push them together to create a round lounger on which you’ll have enough space to sprawl. With its innovative glass-topped armrests, you'll have plenty of space to set down drinks when the table is in use. It’s easy to clean too, with a cloth and soapy water.

“Sometimes I can't be arsed to get the cushions out but my outdoor sofa from Argos is still comfy enough. With the cushions on it is fab and lovely in the sun to sit on.”

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Cyan Cadogan Teak Table and Stacking Chairs, £859.99

Cyan Cadogan Teak Table and Stacking Chairs, £859.99

Combining elegance with robust construction, the table is crafted from sustainably sourced A-grade teak while the six armchairs that come with it are made from synthetic rattan – great for resisting the harsh weather – woven over sturdy teak frames (enough teak for you?) and available in honey wicker or java brown. Make no mistake, this set has been built to last and, according to the manufacturer, can be left outdoors all year round, whilst requiring minimal maintenance, which is useful if you're, ahem, prone to overlooking these things.

“Cyan is good for teak. I have a teak table with fake rattan (looks very nice) chairs which have lasted for a good 10 years and I don't really look after it that well tbh.”

“Best place for teak is Cyan. It’s very good quality stuff but about half the price of competitors. I've got quite a few things from them and can vouch for the quality.”

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Royal Garden Aluminium Reclining Garden Furniture, £549.99

Royal Garden Aluminium Reclining Garden Furniture, £549.99

The 105cm glass-top dining table is spacious enough to easily accommodate four people while the chairs are ergonomically designed with curved frames. Made from top quality steel and coated with moisture-repelling Thermosint, you don't need to worry about leaving this set out in the odd shower. The chairs are stackable when not in use – handy if you have a small garden and don't want to encroach on your child's playing space – and there is a hole in the centre of the table so you can add a parasol.

“Royal Garden. Am sitting on it now. No maintenance at all and just needs a wipe to be dry enough to sit on after rain. I am in Scotland and it is wonderful for this climate. Best thing I ever bought.”

“I have had the Royal Garden for nearly 10 years and it is as new. Even with all the cold weather this winter it did fine and I don't cover it.”

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Wilko FSC Wooden Patio Set 4 Seater, £120

Wilko FSC Wooden Patio Set 4 Seater, £120

Not convinced you need some of the more spectacular options recommended by Mumsnetters? Well then this back to basics set from the much-loved Wilko could be for you. The vibe is family brunches and barbecues at the height of summer – baps, ketchup, rounders, you know the drill. It's made from high-quality eucalyptus wood, so it should last, and Wilko also offers a range of reasonably-priced parasols and bases to go with it.

“Wilko have a wooden set of table and four folding chairs. Invest in a cover, lightly sand and oil it every year and it ought to stay decent.

“We got a set from Wilko for £200, lasted two summers so far and still going strong!”

“I recommend Wilko for garden furniture! Cheap and really nice quality.”

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