Things to consider when buying garden dining furniture

When you are thinking about buying your new garden dining furniture, there are a number of things that you should consider if you are going to make the right choice.

In this article we have listed out 8 key things to consider that will help guide your thinking so that you will enjoy your outdoor dining furniture for many years to come.

For the purpose of this post we are assuming that you have already decided that teak is your preferred choice of material. (That is a great decision by the way!) But, if you are still undecided please see Why Buy Teak Garden Furniture?

To create your perfect outdoor dining experience, you must make sure that your new teak garden furniture meets all of your needs.

To start the process, consider how you will use your new furniture. Do you want, for example, to create an intimate dining space for two, an area for your family to eat and relax together or an outdoor area for entertaining friends, family or neighbours?

With thoughtful planning you will be able to choose garden furniture that will meet all your objectives. Some of the key areas you need to consider before investing in your teak garden furniture are listed here:

  • What space do you have available?
  • What is the main purpose of your garden furniture – what will you be using it for?
  • What size will you need your table to be – measurements and number of seats?
  • What is the best shape for your table – circular, oval, square, rectangular?
  • Consider the type and style of chairs you want; stackable, foldable, with or without armrests.
  • Are there any accessories or extras that will enhance your outdoor entertaining?
  • Care and maintenance – what levels of aftercare will be required?
  • What level of quality and what type of style will you want your furniture to be?

These are all important considerations so we will take a closer look at each of these in turn.

1. Available Space

It is vital that you consider the outdoor spaces you have be it a patio, lawn, balcony, terrace – and ask yourself if the furniture you’re thinking of would suit it.

Don’t be tempted to just buy furniture that you like the appearance of in pictures on a website or in a showroom. Think about whether it will fit in your own spaces – would it look right in that location. Pictures often show the furniture in an ideal setting that might or might not be similar to your outdoor space.

Outdoor dining tables come in many sizes and shapes – round, oval, square, rectangular folding, extending, with all types of seating options, chairs with/without arms, folding chairs, stacking chairs, and benches. Think about the shapes and sizes that will best suit your needs and your outdoor space.

All gardens and outdoor spaces are unique and are shaped or influenced by their surroundings – the same sized space may be found in the heart of a city or on the edge of countryside, yet each will have a very different feel about it as a result. So as well as considering the size of the area you have available, you need to really think about what style of furniture will best compliment your space.

Also, you definitely need to think about what you will use it for, who will use it and how often – so that leads us the next section.

Available Space

2. Purpose – how will you be using your garden dining furniture

Before you start choosing your outdoor dining furniture it is important that you know what you are going to be using it for. So, are you trying to replicate your indoor dining experience with an alternative al fresco family dining area? Will you be regularly entertaining numerous guests for dinner, or will it be mainly used for informal BBQs and drinks parties? Or maybe you’re planning for more peaceful, intimate or romantic meals? Or combinations of all of the above.

Whatever your intentions, make the most of your budget and space by choosing furniture that you will use regularly. Don’t get attracted to something that you will only use very rarely and end up overlooking what you really need most often. Start the process by considering the size of the table you require.

3. Table Size

Outdoor dining tables range from compact bistro sets which are ideal for a dining couple or 4 people with drinks, to much larger tables which can easily accommodate 12 or more people.

If you often have visitors, you may need a larger table that gives you the space to accommodate extra guests. An ideal solution here is to buy an extending table which allows you the flexibility of having a larger dining area to accommodate extra guests when needed.

Tip: You should make sure that you can comfortably access your new dining set and when measuring add an extra metre all the way round so that chairs can be safely and easily pulled out.

If you are working with a smaller outdoor space, consider a stylish folding table with folding chairs. When not in use it all simply folds flat for easy storage. See folding table sets here.

If regular al fresco entertaining is your thing, then make sure that you have a larger table that can be quickly extended when required. Flexible seating options are important here too. Bench seating as shown in this example can be a great choice, allowing you to accommodate extra (sometimes unexpected) guests when you need to. Alternatively, you can buy some extra folding or stacking chairs which can easily be stored until they are needed. View our range of foldable and stackable chairs here.

4. In love with the shape of you

Your table is the centre piece of your outdoor dining furniture set so you need to choose a table that, as well as being the right size, looks really good in your setting.

In love with the shape of you

The choice of table shape is matter of taste and personal preference – do you prefer round, oval, square or rectangular? But always keep in mind your outdoor space and the main purpose of your table. For example, with more formal dining experiences it is better to choose a longer oval or rectangular table which creates more of a presence, whereas for a more informal, relaxed and sociable dining experience, a round table often creates a better atmosphere, allowing your guests to be seated closer together.

Tip: Round tables make great party tables and our clever ‘legless’ circular tables means wherever you sit there are no table legs in the way! This clever design will also allow extra chairs around the table if necessary.

For the smaller terrace or patio – choose a neat square table that can fit against a wall or in a corner if being used by two and pulled out to seat four. Even better may be a folding table option – round or square that stows neatly away when not in use to maximise your outdoor space.

Tip: think about shade too – will you have enough space for a free-standing parasol or would a table with a centre hole for the parasol be more suitable for your outdoor space.

5. Seating

As with tables there will be multiple options for chairs too. It is stating the obvious but do make sure you choose a chair that will be comfortable to sit on! That fancy chair may look uber-stylish but can you sit on it happily for a couple of hours?

Consider what will be the best size and shape for you. Do you want chairs with arms or no arms? Arms on chairs will give more support but also take up more space around the table – some chairs with arms are stackable but others won’t be, so if you want to put them away for the winter* you will need adequate storage space.

Superior teak outdoor stacking garden chair from Kingsley Smythe

*Teak furniture is designed to be left outside in all weathers. It doesn’t have to be stored over winter to preserve its life.

Chairs with a curved back are very comfortable and allow you to sit back and relax like our Bowood and Deluxe Highness ranges.

Be aware you don’t have to trade off stackability for comfort. Our Viceroy and Highness chairs are stackable for easy storage but they are also very much built with comfort in mind. Supportive slats in the back and slight curves in the seat ensure an enjoyable seating experience – no matter how long you sit for.

The same goes for folding chairs which are even simpler to store, with the extra benefit of being less heavy and therefore easier to move around. Be assured though, less heavy does not mean less robust. The quality of workmanship on our chairs is superior.

If your outdoor dining area is compact or you want some seating flexibility, consider bench seating which can be space saving – allowing more people to be seated than on separate chairs. Benches are also ideal to use with round pedestal (legless) tables as they can be tucked right in when not in use and so maximise the space available.

Seating

6. Accessories and extras make a difference

Cushions, or more accurately seat pads, provide extra comfort and also look good.

Our cushions are specially tailored and shaped to fit the chairs. Filled with a comfortable, durable foam filling, they are both shower proof and washable.

Tip: Although your teak furniture is happy to stay out all winter we would advise taking the cushions in protect and maintain them.

A Lazy Susan, in the centre of your table, will make sure that no-one misses out on the sharing, and you and your guests can always access the important things on your table – like the wine!

You can buy a lazy Susan as an extra to add on to your table or you might prefer to buy a table with an integral – ‘hidden’ Lazy Susan.

Our cleverly designed ice buckets/wine buckets can be bought as an accessory to hang on any table but you may choose to buy an outdoor dining table with an integral ice bucket.

7. Style and appearance

Consider what furniture style best fits your setting and meets your needs. Classic and timeless or contemporary. All teak or a blend of teak and aluminium? There is plenty of choice.

Style and appearance

Teak being a natural product always looks completely in almost any outdoor setting. It immediately fits in with the natural surroundings of your garden, making your outdoor dining furniture look as if it truly belongs there.

With an attractive grain pattern, and a gorgeous golden brown tone which will fade gradually over time to a majestic silvery grey patina your teak furniture will age gracefully. However, teak can always be cleaned and oiled to return it to its initial golden brown tone if required. (See our Aftercare tips here.)

Ultimately, you will get what you pay for. Plastic, resin and wicker furniture can look good to start with but begin to become brittle and lose their colouring after a couple of years. Hardwearing teakwood furniture will last for years, decades even and that means it looks fabulous and delivers superb value for money!

These then are the top seven things we feel are most important to consider before buying garden dining furniture. But at the start we said there were eight and so the last one is all about Aftercare. How much time and effort do you want to put into maintaining your garden dining furniture after you have bought it so that it looks great when ever you want to use it?

The great news is that with teak garden furniture will require next to no maintenance over the years – even if left uncovered. It is perfectly suited to remain outside in all weathers, through all seasons. All you need to do is give it the occasional wash off with warm soapy water to remove any surface dirt that might have accumulated – mainly this will be bird poo and leaf litter. You can avoid doing even that if you buy a cover* for your furniture.

(* See our important tip on furniture covers below.)

8. Aftercare and maintenance

One of the benefits of investing in teak garden furniture is its longevity. Teak contains natural oils which give it amazing weather resistant properties which is why you can leave your teak garden furniture outside in all weathers and seasons.

One thing to be aware of – but not alarmed by – is something that can sometimes be seen when your furniture is first delivered. You may see some small surface cracks in the teak. This is called “ticking” and is caused by the teak reacting to a sudden change in atmospheric conditions as it is transported from a warm and very humid environment (Indonesia) to a colder, drier one (Britain.) The change in atmospherics can cause the wood to contract and that causes the ticking. This is entirely natural and over time those little surface cracks will close up naturally.

On rare occasions – often when the furniture has been covered for a while you may see a whitish surface mould appear in places. This is no cause for alarm and a simple wash over with soapy water will remove it. Don’t use detergents or other cleaning agents on the wood as these will strip the teak of its natural protective oils which is what you don’t want to happen.

Important Tip: If you do wish to cover your furniture when not in use you should use a breathable weather cover to not PVC or a tarpaulin as these will cause the wood to sweat.

As your teak furniture ages, its initial golden brown colour will fade to a silvery grey which can look equally as attractive. However, if you wish to retain the original colour – or revive it again after a few years – you can treat your furniture with teak oil (just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

If you have any questions on any of the points covered in this post, or if you would like any further advice or guidance on buying your teak garden furniture, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be genuinely delighted to hear from you.

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