The garden furniture Mumsnetters swear by

Garden furniture

Make the most of your outdoor space in the warmer weather with some decent garden furniture. 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, £1,449

Kettler Palma mini set, £1,449

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, £987

Ikea Solleron modular corner sofa, £987

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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Ikea Applaro drop-leaf table, £100

Ikea Applaro drop-leaf table, £100

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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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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