The garden is often considered an extension of our homes — an outdoor sanctuary where we go to relax and reconnect with nature. In this oasis, one of the key elements that can transform a mere patch of grass or a courtyard into a serene escape are the garden chairs and tables. But it’s not just about having them; it’s about choosing the right ones for both aesthetics and functionality.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the art of selecting the perfect garden chairs and tables, from the variety of styles and materials to how to care for them, ensuring they remain a beautiful addition to your outdoor landscape for years to come.
Why Outdoor Furniture Matters
The right garden chairs and tables do more than provide somewhere to sit or place your glass of iced tea. They can anchor a space with a sense of purpose, tying together various aspects of your garden to create a coherent design. Outdoor furniture is also a form of self-expression; it speaks to your personal style and how you intend to use your outdoor space.
When chosen well, these pieces can invite you and your guests to spend more time outside, whether it’s lounging with a good book or hosting a weekend family barbecue. But with the multitude of choices available, here’s how to navigate the world of garden furniture to find the ideal pieces for your needs.
Section 1: Choosing the Right Garden Chairs
Factors to Consider
Before you invest in garden chairs, pause and consider how you’ll use this space. Do you love to entertain large groups, or are you looking for a private place to relax? Your usage pattern will determine the number and type of chairs you’ll need. If you have a small patio, for example, you might want to consider space-saving options like folding chairs, stackable chairs, or even garden stools which can double as a table surface when needed.
Different Styles and Materials
Outdoor chairs come in a myriad of styles, from classic wicker armchairs to more modern metal or wood slat designs. The material you choose should not only speak to your aesthetic sensibilities but also suit your environment. For instance, while resin or plastic chairs are durable and easy to clean, they might not be the best choice if you’re looking for something with a more natural and warm aesthetic.
Consider your local climate, too. If you’re in an area with high humidity, aluminum might be a better option since it’s resistant to rust, while teak or cedar is a good choice for its natural decay resistance in damper conditions. If you’re in a windy region, heavier metal chairs might be more appropriate than lighter plastic options.
Comfort and Durability
Balance is key when it comes to choosing garden chairs. You want something that’s durable enough to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to encourage lingering chats on a summer’s evening. Test out chairs to ensure they are as comfortable as they are stylish. Look for features such as armrests, ergonomic shapes, and the ability to add cushions for extra comfort.
Factors like the angle of the backrest and the height of the seat will contribute to how much you and your guests enjoy using the chairs. And don’t forget about the weight capacity! Ensure your chairs can accommodate all potential sitters safely.
Section 2: Selecting the Perfect Garden Tables
Types of Garden Tables
Just as there are different kinds of garden chairs, there’s a wide variety of tables to choose from. Coffee tables, dining tables, and side tables all serve different functions and can be mixed and matched to create an engaging layered space. A coffee table between two chairs can create a peaceful spot for a morning coffee, while a larger dining table can be the centerpiece of an outdoor meal with friends and family.
Size and Shape Considerations
The size and shape of your garden tables should complement the scale of your chairs and the amount of space you have. Round or square tables can be a good fit for smaller spaces, while rectangular tables often work better in larger areas or for hosting more people. Also, consider the usage: If you’re looking for an intimate setting, round or square tables can allow for better conversation flow compared to rectangular ones.
Material Options and Maintenance
Like chairs, garden tables come in a variety of materials, each with its own maintenance requirements. Metal tables are often durable and can be quite low-maintenance, while wooden tables offer a beautiful, natural aesthetic that can age gracefully. However, wood will need regular treatment with a weather-resistant sealant to prevent rot and extend its lifespan.
Glass tables can add an elegant touch, but will require more regular cleaning. Consider a tempered glass top which is stronger and safer, as it breaks into smaller pieces if it ever shatters.
For a more eclectic and bohemian vibe, consider mosaic tile tables, which come in a variety of colors and patterns. Just keep in mind that they may require the occasional re-grouting and sealing for long-term use.
Section 3: Creating a Harmonious Outdoor Space
Tips for Matching with Garden Design
Your garden chairs and tables should integrate seamlessly with your overall garden design. For a cohesive look, you can match the materials of your furniture to other elements in your garden, such as paving materials, or the colors of your plants. If you have a more formal garden, consider traditional iron or wood furniture, whereas a contemporary landscape may call for sleek metal or resin pieces.
Coordinating Colors and Styles
Think about the color palette of your garden and how your furniture will contrast or blend with it. Brightly colored or patterned cushions can add a playful touch, while neutrals can create a serene and relaxing atmosphere. To add interest, mix different materials and styles, but make sure there’s a unifying element, be it color, shape, or texture, to tie everything together.
Utilizing Space Efficiently
When arranging your garden furniture, think about traffic flow and functionality. Leave enough space between pieces for people to walk comfortably, but also for pushing chairs back from tables. If you’re tight on space, consider multifunctional pieces like ottomans that can serve as both extra seating and a footrest or coffee table.
Section 4: Maintenance and Care
To keep your garden chairs and tables looking their best, invest in quality pieces and stay consistent with maintenance. Inspect your furniture for any signs of wear or damage regularly, so you can address issues early. For wooden furniture, sand away any rough patches or splinters and reseal it. Metal furniture might need a fresh coat of paint to prevent rust, and plastic might require anti-UV protection to keep it from brittleness over time.
Cleaning and Storage Tips
Regular cleaning is also important. Use a gentle soap and water solution for resin or plastic furniture, while a wood cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water can be used for wooden pieces. Metal furniture should be washed with mild detergent and water, and then thoroughly dried to prevent rust.
During the off-season, store your outdoor furniture in a shed, garage, or under a protective cover to shield them from the harshest weather conditions. If you don’t have storage space, invest in furniture that’s designed to withstand being left out, or consider collapsible or stackable pieces that take up less room.
Protecting from Weather Elements
Even during the warmer months, it’s a good idea to use furniture covers or to move your cushions and pillows indoors when not in use to protect them from the sun and rain. This extra step can significantly extend the life of your furniture and keep it looking fresh and new.
Your garden chairs and tables are more than just functional items; they’re integral to the way you enjoy your outdoor spaces. By choosing pieces that are in harmony with both your personal style and the practical needs of your garden, you will create a space that is inviting, relaxing, and beautiful. And with the right care and attention to maintenance, your outdoor oasis can remain a source of joy and respite for many seasons to come.
Remember, the best garden furniture is an investment in your well-being and the enjoyment of your home. So, take the time to select the perfect chairs and tables that will enhance your garden and offer a comfortable place to kick back, enjoy nature, or entertain guests.