Monday, 21 September 2009

Put Your Garden Furniture Away

Nothing ages garden furniture more than being left outside all through winter (at least it does if you get bad weather throughout the winter months).

If you have the type of garden furniture which ages well (teak comes to mind) then you may consider leaving it outside. Just be aware it definitely won't look like new after a winter of rain and gales.

To prepare your furniture give it a good clean with warm soapy water, rinse it well with plenty of clean water and let it dry naturally. (You want a good day for this task).

Once it is clean store your furniture away in a dry place. If you don't have a garage or shed you may need to use patio furniture covers instead. Make sure that they are securely tied down so that they don't blow away. Check periodically whether the rain has gotten through the cover - if they are not longer keeping the furniture dry you will need to replace them.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Garden Furniture for Kids

Have you seen those mini garden furniture sets you can get for kids? They are so cute! It's the kind of thing which makes you get out your wallet when you should really be thinking about how practical they are.

If you are buying as a toy so that your child can have tea parties with their friends or with their teddies that's one thing and the kids patio sets are just fantastic for that. But if you are buying as garden furniture so that your child has their own chair to sit with you then that's another thing entirely.

If kids are interacting with adults they really like to sit WITH them and not down lower towards the ground. Especially important for sharing a meal at the outdoor dining table if you think about it! If you want your child to join in family life buy him or her an adult sized chair to join in on your level!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Include a Reclining Chair or Two

It's wonderful to sit around on the patio sharing great food and conversation at your outdoor dining table.

But when you are considering your requirements for garden furniture also think those times when you want to relax in your garden in the sun.

For those times you really need a chair which will allow you to lie back - there is not much relaxing after all about sitting up straight.

The best purchase (if you have the space) would be a couple of chaise lounge chairs in addition to your patio set which would allow you lie back completely and change the angle of the back of the chair to suit. If you don't have space for that then make sure that a couple of the chairs in your patio dining set recline.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Patio Sets - Don't Be Cheap

You can buy some very cheap plastic garden furniture but you really have to think if it is worth the money.

Unless you are only thinking about having something, anything to sit on in your garden and you have a very limited budget I would rather wait. Sit on a picnic rug and cushions on the lawn until you can afford to pay for a quality patio set.

You see cheap patio furniture is just not going to enhance your garden or patio and it certainly won't be comfortable unless you pad it out with the thickest patio cushions (and that is defeating the object of saving money as these don't come cheap).

You don't need to pay an arm and a leg for your furniture to get something with style but you do need at least a few hundred dollars. High prices are not necessarily the highest quality however - see this consumer article on comparing prices on patio sets so you do need to shop around.

If you can't afford a full set at the moment look at buying just one or two pieces in a classic material such as teak so that you can add to your patio furniture collection each year.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Patio Materials

There are a number of materials suitable for constructing a patio but the most practical are timber decking or solid concrete, stone slabs or bricks.

If you need a particularly hard-wearing surface then stone is ideal and it looks good too however decking is becoming more and more popular as it lower in cost and can be built over an uneven or sloping surface. (You must first of all prepare and level the ground for a stone or brick patio area).

With decking do be careful if you are in an area subject to a lot of rainfall. The decking is treated so that it does not rot but it can get slippery underfoot if you allow green algae to grow.

Your choice of materials will be dictated to some extent by the style of your house - decking may look out of place in a period house. An old stone patio would look great with an older house.

If you choose decking get your deck designed by an experienced designer and you will be amazed at the kind of shapes and arrangements which are possible.

A Great Patio

A great patio is an essential element (if not the most important element) of a welcoming garden.

It's OK not to pay much emphasis to your patio if you just want a garden to stare at from the house and to create a view from the windows but most of us want to use our gardens and we want to sit in them and enjoy them.

So it's important to create a focal point with your patio and make it the most attractive spot in the garden so you, your family and friends want to sit there.

And what makes a great patio?
  1. You need a hard surface which is even, pleasant to walk on and to look at situated in the right place in the garden
  2. You need quality garden furniture - enough chairs for the everyone who usually gather around your patio and maybe an outdoor dining table if you plan on eating outside
  3. You need patio cushions to make the hard surfaces of the patio furniture comfortable to sit on
  4. You need plants surrounding your patio to add color (and possibly fragrance)
Of course you can add a lot more elements to make a great patio but these are the essentials. We'll look at each of them in this blog.