Though garden furniture might be the last element added to a homeowner’s garden, it’s often the first thing that’s noticed. Nowadays, furniture can be made of all types of materials, and can be classical or modern. Furniture in the garden can include tables and chairs that are good for dining outdoors, chairs and benches for relaxing, and items such as loungers for the poolside.
A lot of very attractive garden furniture can be made of metal. Though metal might strike some people as uncomfortable, metal furniture can be very comfortable if it’s well designed. Metal furniture no longer has to be overly ornate wrought iron, but can have clean lines and give the guests a feeling of lightness. The advantage of metal furniture is that it’s durable and can be left out doors all year round. Often, metal furniture is coated to save the owner the task of frequent painting. Metal looks especially good in urban gardens.
Stone furniture, obviously, doesn’t give a feeling of lightness, and might not be the most comfortable furniture to sit on, but it does give a feeling of permanence and tradition. This can be seen in a carved granite bench that’s set amidst a herbaceous border. In this case, the bench is almost a sculptural element in the garden. Because stone is so massive as well as hard to move, the gardener must think carefully about just where they want it. Eye catching background planting usually goes well with stone furniture, as it softens it somewhat.
Plastic furniture is made to be light and weather resistant. Since it can be molded into all kinds of shapes, it’s also versatile. Some types of plastic furniture can be comfortable without cushions, but many do come with detachable cushions that can now be found in all kinds of colors. Many of these cushions are made to resist the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which means that their bright colors won’t easily fade. Bold, bright colors are excellent for sunny garden terraces during the summer.
Wood, being a living thing, is especially suitable to many gardens. Unpainted wood should show off its texture and grain and can blend beautifully with plantings, but painted wooden furniture has a very different character. Painted wooden furniture belongs more to the house than the garden. Wooden furniture that can be folded up or dismantled for storage during the winter is ideal.
Good woods for the garden are cedar, redwood and teak. These woods often take on a silvery patina that many gardeners treasure, but they can also be stained and sealed to resist both the sun’s rays as well as dampness and frost. When given the proper care, wooden furniture can last indefinitely.
Sometimes furniture is built in as a permanent part of the landscaping. Pre-cast concrete units can be arranged, then piled with cushions to provide seating. Other integrated furniture can be wooden decking with a bench section, or a raised pool edge. The gardener should make sure that this sort of furniture is rather low-key and blends well with the garden.