In this guide we’ll take a look at the best garden furniture to leave outside.
I’ve compared design, seating capacity, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Garden Furniture To Leave Outside?
More Detailed Garden Furniture Reviews
The Algarve rattan wicker set is an amazing five-piece set that’ll see you sitting pretty for years.
It’s made from PE rattan plastic which is waterproof and easily washed down should there be a ‘bird-poop’ incident. I don’t think you can beat plastic rattan – it’s the best garden furniture material in my opinion.
This set includes a two-seater sofa to cosy up on and two matching armchairs.
There’s a low coffee-style table to put your drinks, snacks, or feet on which measures 87x50x35cms so there’s plenty of room. It has a tempered safety glass top too, which is essential if there are kids or pets around.
One thing I really love about this set is that all the cushions are showerproof, so if you pop out and we have one of those unpredictable UK rain showers, the cushions won’t be ruined.
This is the best garden furniture set for a small family or couple that likes hassle-free waterproof garden furniture. Choose between brown or grey rattan for a smart, modern feel on a patio or in a conservatory.
The Keter Carolina set is all about modern and stylish curves. It’s part seating/part sculpture garden furniture that looks eye-catching on the patio.
This set consists of a low glass-free coffee table with a rattan top smooth enough to keep your drink upright. It’ll seat four adults on a two-seater sofa and two matching chairs – all of which have sloping armrests for total comfort.
The Carolina set is made from durable, weatherproof plastic wicker so nothing can go rusty or rot in the rain and damp, even during the winter.
The plastic wicker material also has UV protection to prevent fade out, and you can hose it all down to keep it in tip-top condition – it’ll easily dry out in the sun within the hour.
You have the choice of cream or graphite cushions to match your colour scheme which are nice and thick to keep you lounging in comfort.
This is a stylish set of garden furniture suited to modern outdoor spaces and best of all – you can leave it outside all year round.
Calling all lovers of quirky French chic! The Bentley Bistro Set is a sturdy two-seater aluminium table and chairs that looks elegant and interesting on a patio or tucked under the gazebo as you sip a morning coffee. This is the best garden furniture to leave outside on a small patio.
First off, let’s look at the materials because lots of these bistro sets are flimsy.
Not the Bentley! It’s made from black cast aluminium with a bronze finish for chic good looks.
The table has a diameter of 22 inches which is plenty enough room for two dinners and an insect repellent candle. There’s a handy parasol hole in the centre which you don’t often find in a bistro set too.
The two chairs are sturdy no-wobble affair seats made from cast aluminium. They certainly won’t blow over in a storm. In fact, if you bring in the thick padded cushions, you can leave this bistro set outside all year round with no ill effects.
I love the arched cut out pattern on the chair backs – they stop you getting sweaty and reduce the weight so they’re still easily portable.
Paris cafe chic, easy wash down, and year-round weatherproof cast aluminium makes this one of the best two-seater garden furniture sets around.
The Keter Corfu garden furniture set is a great example of how garden furniture can look good and still be practical.
The set consists of two plastic wicker rattan chairs, with streamlined ergonomic armrests, and a matching storage table.
This little table measures 59x59x33cms and matches the chairs in plastic rattan wicker. It can hold all those bits and pieces you don’t want blowing away, and it’s the perfect height to put your feet up on. It could double up as an extra seat if you have an unexpected guest too.
The Corfu set is lightweight, weather resistant and maintenance free. No-one wants to spend all summertime cleaning and varnishing garden furniture – you can simply hose this set down and leave it to dry in the sun.
This set doesn’t take up much space but it’s still big enough to comfortably seat two adults and their drinks. Leave it out over winter if you’ve no space indoors and it’ll be just fine.
Keter make some of the best garden furniture and the Allibert Rosario set is no exception.
This two-seater set differs from others as it has ergonomic backrests and armrests that enable you to sit up straight.
It’s good for people with mobility problems as it’s a bit higher off the ground enabling you to stand up and sit down with ease, and if you need to move it the plastic rattan is lightweight enough to shift on your own. It’s perfect for chasing that last bit of sun around the garden.
This set is made from PE rattan style weave for a classy touch but it’s still durable, weather resistant and low maintenance. Simply hose it down with washing-up liquid if you spill sauce or the pigeons take aim.
Plastic rattan doesn’t fade and this set has a three-year guarantee so you can keep it in the garden throughout the seasons for years to come.
The Keter Corfu two-seater sofa is like bringing your lounge sofa outdoors. It’s ergonomically designed with added cushions to help you get really comfortable.
The sofa measures 128x70x79cms which is a good size, but it isn’t heavy because it’s made from durable, rattan-style plastic that’s light as a feather.
You can leave this sofa outside all year round if you bring in the cushions and it won’t rot, spoil or fade. The plastic resists rust and there’s nothing to decay. Simply wash it over with your hosepipe when needed and you’ll be ready to lounge about in no time.
This outdoor sofa instantly upgrades the patio and fits in with any other furniture you already own from the Keter range.
Lounging on a waterproof outdoor sofa is the most comfortable way to spend those lazy Sunday afternoons. There’s no maintenance work involved so you can just watch the grass grow or star gaze with no pressure to get up.
Are you looking for a decorative bistro set that’s still going to look good after a few winters? Take a look at Woodside’s mosaic table and chair set.
This waterproof bistro set is sturdy so it won’t blow over, but it’s also portable because the cut-out design work keeps the weight down.
The table measures 70cms high and 60cms in diameter, so there’s plenty of room for the laptop on your work-from-home day. It’s really lovely to look at with a mosaic slate design and curvy, decorative legs.
This is a perfect bistro set for a courtyard garden or a stylish patio. The colours are muted and understated. It could easily double up as a feature garden ornament.
Wash this set down with soapy water and leave it to dry in the sun. You’ll get years of use from it, even if you choose not to cover it over in the winter, because it’s made from aluminium and slate.
In all this is the best garden furniture set for a courtyard or quirky cottage style garden. It brings Parisian vibes and style to those sunny days.
Looking for garden furniture that’s a bit different? How about Yaheetech’s hanging swing chair?
This 195.5cm tall hanging egg chair creates an unusual feature in your garden and it’s super comfortable – just curl up and read your book in peace.
The swing chair is made from weather resistant rattan wicker weave and hung from a black iron stand so you don’t have to find a suitable tree. Throw that dangerous hammock away and just hose this egg chair down if it gets grubby.
The iron stand is strong, it’ll take up to 150kgs max capacity, but be a bit careful about how many kids try to pile in there with you. It’s tempting for kids, but you’ll have to take turns – or buy two.
This hanging egg chair will withstand UK winters as it’s made from iron and plastic rattan, but you can use it in your home too. It looks equally good in the living room as it does on the patio.
This hanging chair is a good value, stylish and fun way to sit out in your garden. It requires barely any maintenance and looks way more expensive than it is. This truly might be the best garden furniture investment for any admirers of quirky furniture!
Having a cool drink on hot summer’s day is one of life’s pleasures, but who wants to get up and go to the fridge? Not me! Take a bow Keter – your rattan ice cool box has made our summer.
Keter’s cool box matches their great furniture sets for a stylish garden statement. It’s made from plastic rattan wicker that’s tough, durable and low maintenance.
It even has integral hand grips so you can move it around. You could take this to the park or beach and wash it down with a hosepipe afterwards if you wanted to.
The icebox measures 42x42x41cms so there’s plenty of room for wine bottles to stand upright with lager, soft drinks, and sandwiches packed around.
If you’re short on garden furniture the icebox can double up as a side table or an extra seat. It’s pretty versatile and makes a great gift.
There’s a five-year guarantee on this rattan cool box, so Keter must be confident it’s going to last the distance.
Garden Furniture Buying Guide
Buying the best garden furniture can tie you up in knots. You need it during summer to enjoy the warmer weather, but over winter you probably won’t even look at it. This makes shelling out the cash pretty painful in my experience!
The trick is to look for well-made quality garden furniture that’ll go the distance.
When garden sets are a pleasure to use and admire, they create that ‘extra room in the house’ that designers are always talking about. Then it feels like they are worth the money.
So, let’s take a look at what makes the best garden furniture set for your garden and lifestyle.
Do You Like The Design?
Let’s start with how it looks.
You might have some solid opinions on how garden furniture should look, but if you are fed up with maintaining wooden furniture take a look at the newer plastic rattan wicker designs.
Plastic rattan is comfortable and still looks stylish, shiny and new even after a few years of use.
There are lots of designs out there including chairs, tables, sofas, and simple bistro sets – so think about how you will use garden furniture to avoid disappointment.
If you want to eat outside look for dining tables and chairs, if lounging is your priority then a thickly padded sofa might be the best garden furniture for you, and if you want to sip cocktails then try chairs with a low ‘coffee’ table.
The quirky among you should take a look at pretty bistro sets made from aluminium, and egg chairs that beat dodgy hammocks hands down. They are full of character in smaller gardens where everything counts.
Modernists can buy sleek wood or plastic rattan furniture with smooth lines and rounded corners.
Design is all about what you like to look at, after all, a garden furniture set will sit in your field of vision for the whole summer, and probably the whole winter too if you choose a weatherproof version. You’ve got to like it more than just a little bit.
What Size Should I Choose?
Size does matter when it comes to garden furniture. You need to move around it easily without banging your toes or having to squeeze out from the French doors.
If garden space is limited think about several smaller sets. A table and two chairs for the patio, a bistro set in the sun trap, and a hanging egg chair beneath a tree might suit you better.
On the other hand, if you entertain a lot and have a big family, a large table with chairs may suit better.
Whatever your available space, think creatively.
A table that is round, or has rounded edges, is a more efficient way of seating because no-one ends up on the pointed section.
Look for folding seats that fit beneath the table, or chairs that fold away. Then you won’t need to pull out emergency seats from the attic or put a rug on the damp grass.
I recommend you take a tape measure and find out exactly how much room you have to play with before you buy.
Take into account how close you’ll be to the BBQ so everyone stays safe and smoke-free. Allow enough walking room on the patio, and last but not least, check how the furniture will get into your garden.
If it’s not flat pack can you actually fit it through your patio door? And if you want to pack it away over winter, will it fit in the shed?
Look For Extra Functionality
Big gardens mean you can choose whatever furniture you like, but smaller spaces need multi-functioning garden furniture.
If saving space is a priority then look for stacking chairs, folding chairs, and furniture sets where chairs tuck beneath a table. Side tables and ice boxes can double up as seating and they are easily stored away when there are no extra guests.
Storage furniture is a godsend in compact gardens. Garden furniture sets that have integral storage can keep the clutter under control. Tables and chairs that can stash away toys or garden tools are high on the list for those of us with smaller outdoor spaces.
Care And Maintenance
How much effort are you willing to put into maintenance? If it’s plenty, then knock yourself out with wood, metal and paintwork.
But if caring for outdoor furniture is up there with dental appointments, minimal care sets are going to improve your life.
- Wooden garden furniture that’s left outside will need rubbing down, sanding and varnishing each year. It’s a time-consuming job but ultimately satisfying if you have the time and inclination. If you don’t do this, the wood will rot and eventually break down.
- Metal furniture will rust, but it needs less work than wood. Rubbing down rust spots and painting on anti-rust paint is a yearly job. Avoiding any maintenance work on metal such as iron means rust will eat away at the joints, eventually causing irreparable damage.
- Most people with busy lives go for plastic rattan. It’s garden furniture you can leave outside all year round and hose down at the beginning of spring. UV protection means it doesn’t split, snap or fade.
- Plastic is a budget choice that requires a simple hose and scrub Plastic will become brittle in sunlight and snap eventually, but it’s so cheap that many people just buy another set. Recycle them where you can, the world needs less plastic.
Whatever level of care you choose, it’s a good idea to invest in a garden furniture cover if you’re not able to bring it inside. Tarpaulin keeps off the majority of rain. Even weatherproof rattan benefits from a cover, if only to keep bird mess and dead leaves off.
Is It Weatherproof?
Weatherproof garden furniture is essential in our UK climate unless you’re willing to buy it yearly or store it over the wet months.
The main problem that affects garden furniture is rain. Water is a powerful force, it seeps into wood causing rot and rusting metal. Our cold winter winds don’t do a great job of drying furniture out, so it often remains wet and damp for months on end.
Buying a cover will help as we’ve discussed above, but it doesn’t stop our persistent rain from rotting and rusting garden furniture.
Even teak, one of the most weather resistant woods, will eventually succumb. Wooden furniture is in essence just dead wood, and nature is the world’s best recycler. She will eventually claim it.
But rain isn’t the only issue when it comes to weather. Garden furniture is susceptible to fading. Plastic and wood are especially prone to fade out.
Bleached wood can look good, but bleached plastic just looks old and tired. Sun-brittle plastic will snap and no-one wants Auntie Pauline deposited in the hedge.
To fight the weather your options are to either move your furniture indoors over winter, cover it, or buy plastic rattan wrapped over aluminium which is weatherproof in every sense.
You can’t beat the weather, so I’d recommend considering weatherproof sets if you’ve no-where, or no inclination, to store it over winter.
Is Lightweight Better Than Heavy Weight?
Think about weight when you looking for the best garden furniture. Wood and metal are sturdy and stable, but they are heavy.
If your garden furniture is going to stay in one position all year round then the weight isn’t a pressing consideration, but if you’re like me you’ll want lightweight options.
The obvious choice for lightweight furniture is plastic or plastic rattan, but aluminium can be light too.
Plastic rattan and aluminium both look stylish, they weigh almost nothing, and they are comfortable to sit on without cushions that soak up ketchup, rain and bird poo. This is a major plus point for me.
Here’s why I always choose lightweight garden furniture.
- I don’t like a mess in the garden. If it not used, furniture is stacked or folded down. If it’s heavy then that’s a hard job.
- Unexpected guests keep turning up so I constantly need to get another seat. See point one.
- The sun moves around my garden and I chase it with my furniture.
- I have trees that contain many birds. They poop on the furniture so I have to hose them down. Tilted chairs and tables dry off much faster.
- The birds also poop on the patio so I have to move the furniture to scrub it down.
No doubt you have your own considerations such as lack of mobility, or you live alone and can’t always find another person to help shift heavy stuff.
Lightweight furniture isn’t always good quality though, and you should check for durable build-work. Moving furniture can loosen joints for example, so screws rather than glued joints are better.
Lightweight can also mean flyaway. If your furniture is staying outside during windy days make sure it’s weighed down or put somewhere it can’t cause any damage.
A lightweight rattan chair can easily break a greenhouse pane or crush a treasured plant.
Is It Possible To Buy Long Lasting Garden Furniture?
Garden furniture that’s capable of lasting for years is always going to cost more than cheaper sets. In general, it’s a ‘spend to save’ situation that may require some investment, but it will work out cost effective in the long run.
Garden furniture does need some care to live a long and happy life. Even the technological advance of plastic rattan needs cleaning down to keep it going in the long term.
The UK’s weather is unrelenting and garden furniture will inevitably give up the ghost faster than your indoor seats, but with some care, it can last for years.
Take a look at the FAQs below for specific care that can extend the life of your garden furniture.
How To Protect And Care For Your Garden Furniture
Looking after garden furniture is a boring but essential life task. How much effort you put in depends on the material.
There are four main types:
- Wood Furniture
Wood furniture looks rustic and lovely but it needs care.
Sun and rain do their best to destroy wood so it’ll fade, warp and rot over time.
Frequent maintenance is required! If you love wood, choose teak which is more weatherproof than other types, and bring it inside over winter.
Each spring you’ll need to wash and scrub down wooden furniture making sure you remove all the debris, mould, algae and lichens. You may need a scrubbing brush or wire brush to get it all off.
Let it dry for 24 hours before applying a wood preserver. Pay attention to horizontal surfaces that rain tends to collect on.
Plastic is easy to take care of. Scrub it down with soapy water and leave it to dry. If possible, cover plastic furniture because strong sunlight can lead to fading, brittleness and degradation which can’t be restored.
Aluminium is a rust-free option that’s long-lasting and only needs a scrub down in the spring. Steel is a more expensive version of aluminium which also needs little attention.
Other metals, such as iron, need cleaning down with soapy water. Allow them to dry and then check all over for rust.
When you find rust spots rub them down with sandpaper to remove all the loose bits before painting it over with rust-preventing metal paint.
Rattan is probably the best garden furniture to leave outside. It’s weatherproof and easy to clean especially if it’s attached to a rust-proof aluminium frame.
Hose rattan garden furniture down with soapy water and allow it to dry – that’s it!
How Do I Store Garden Furniture?
There’s no argument that it’s best to put garden furniture away in a shed or garage over winter no matter what it’s made from.
But storing garden furniture isn’t always possible.
Perhaps you’ve no shed and your car takes up the garage. Smaller homes often mean there’s little storage space. If you can’t put furniture away over winter there are three ways to deal with it.
- Leave it outside. Weatherproof furniture can withstand years of UK winters. Leaving garden furniture outside over winter means you can take advantage of those rare but glorious sunny winter days. What better way to perk up a cold and flu-filled you than sitting outside wrapped up in warming winter sun? You aren’t going to pull chairs out of the shed, but if there’s one already waiting for you, get in there and beat winter blues with powerful December sunshine.
- Cover it with a large and heavy tarpaulin and weigh the edges down with bricks or push tent pegs into the grass. Watch out for windy days that may cause it to take off.
- Bring it indoors! Some garden furniture is classy enough to live in the home, conservatories are especially good places for wicker or wooden garden furniture.
What Is Plastic Wicker Rattan?
It’s got many names including resin wicker, synthetic wicker, plastic rattan, and all-weather wicker but they all refer to a manufactured synthetic material called polyethylene (PE).
Polyethylene strips are woven into what we know as wicker, but wicker is the weaving process rather than the material. It comes from the Scandinavian word ‘vika’ meaning ‘to bend’.
In the past, wicker furniture was made from willow or other natural fibres such as rattan but these materials rot and don’t withstand weather.
Plastic wicker ‘polyethylene’ is highly durable. It’s resistant to rain and UV rays which makes it a perfect outdoor material for garden furniture of all types.
If it’s woven over an aluminium frame the result is weatherproof and lightweight garden furniture that’ll last for years.
I hope this guide has helped you choose the best garden furniture for your outdoor living space. I’d always recommend weatherproof lightweight furniture, especially if you’ve nowhere to store for the winter.
Check out my recommendations and see what style suits your lifestyle the best.
Enjoy those warm and sunny days on your stylish, hassle-free garden furniture!