When the weather is good, it’s great to get outside and make the most of it. The right wood furniture can transform your garden into a multi-functional space, which is just as effective as a children’s play area as it is as a place to host formal meals and parties or just for general relaxation. Whether you’re looking for picnic tables or table sets, garden benches, loungers or chairs, tables and stools, you’re sure to find it here at Poshh.
Given that both picnic tables and table sets come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, answering this question really comes down to deciding what kind of seating you want. Picnic tables come with benches attached so the seating is an integral part of the table. Table sets have separate seats so they can be moved around as required. Picnic benches, by definition, come without backs, seats for table sets may or may not have backs, depending on your choice. If the lack of backs is a deal-breaker for you, then table sets are basically the only way to go, but if you can live with backless seating then there are two further points which will influence your decision. The first is whether or not it’s important to you that everyone has their own seat and the second is how confident you feel that you can keep track of moveable seating. The answer to both of these questions is largely to depend greatly on the extent to which the garden is used by children, particularly young children. If young children regularly use the space then benches can be a more space-effective form of seating than individual chairs. Basically the nature of benches is such that if they are designed to seat, say, two full-sized adults, they will probably seat three children. Standard seats, however, are generally one per person regardless of the size of the person.
The other consideration with fixed versus moveable seating is that is tends to be both safer and more convenient when children are around, safety is to the fore with young children and convenience with older ones. The fact that picnic benches are fixed to the tables means that they will stay put while younger children clamber all over them (at least if you buy quality picnic tables from a reputable supplier such as Poshh). Freestanding chairs may topple over if children try to get on or off them without adult help. In the adult world, people might prefer to have their own chair, but if you for smaller benches, designed for just two people, then both people have the freedom to move as they wish, thus dealing with the main inconvenience of sitting on a bench as opposed to a free-standing (and free-moving) seat. This then leaves the main advantage of picnic table benches, which is that they stay put. Free-standing garden seating is also free-moving garden seating and the fact that it can be moved from place to place as people wish can be a double-edged sword, particularly when there are older children about the home (and indeed some adults). If you belong to the sort of family where everyone is the sort of tidy person who always and automatically puts everything back in its proper place and you mainly have older children and adults around then table sets may be the best option for you, if, however, your family is not the tidiest, then you may prefer to go for picnic tables, which basically force tidiness on them, whether they like it or not and ensure that you avoid the inconvenience of having to buy replacement chairs.
Seating is key to any garden and as always, it’s about choosing the right kind of seating for the right situation.
The big difference between standard garden benches and their picnic table counterparts is that garden benches generally have backs, which is a minor issue if you are eating, when you are generally sitting up or leaning forward (although it can be nice to have a seat back to lean against when you’re full), but it is a distinct benefit for general seating, for example a place to go to read a book. Like their picnic table counterparts, they’re designed for sharing and without any table directly in front of them, it’s always easy for people to get up and down as they wish. Garden benches can be moved, but since they are generally pretty hefty pieces of garden furniture (at least the good quality ones are), they are usually best kept in one place for most of the time. In other words, you’ll probably want to move them between winter storage (if you choose to bring them in over the colder months) and wherever they are to be placed in the warmer weather and that’s generally it. Garden benches are a solid, all-round seating choice in every sense of the phrase.
Long associated with the beach, garden loungers can bring a touch of comfort and affordable luxury to any garden. Although they’re often thought of as places for adults to relax (and most adults do, indeed, appreciate them), children can enjoy them too. In fact, they can be great places to put little ones when they want to be outdoors but you think they need a little quiet time, a compromise choice, so to speak. Unlike garden benches, loungers are intended for use by one person at a time, like garden benches, loungers are fairly hefty pieces of furniture, so other than moving them in and out of storage (again should you choose to put them into storage over the colder months), you will probably want to leave them in one place.
In the warmer weather, you can turn your garden into an outdoor living and entertaining area with the help of the right chairs, tables and stools. In fact, thinking of your living room is a very good analogy for choosing the right wood furniture for your garden and placing it appropriately. Basically you need to think about how people are going to be using the garden and use that as your guide. If it will be primarily for adults enjoying coffee and conversation then you’re probably going to want upright chairs and coffee tables. If there are possible going to be little ones around then you could use stools to do double-duty as seating for them and small coffee tables for the adults. If you’re planning on offering guests more than just coffee, then bistro tables can be an excellent choice. They are small enough to be cosy while still having enough space for meals rather than snacks. Bistro tables are also a good choice if you want to use your table for outdoor study or work. You have enough space to spread out your bits and pieces without feeling overwhelmed by the expanse of a full dining table. If, you want something a bit more comfortable than a standard upright chair, but more compact than a lounger, how about an old-school rocking chair. They are the classic piece of patio furniture and are absolutely lovely to relax in and great places to get a baby or young child to go to sleep. When siting the furniture, think about the realities of the weather and the flow of the traffic. Remember it can sometimes be both sunny and windy, so ideally you want your garden furniture to be in a sheltered location and generally you want it to be close to the house so you can just pop out and enjoy it, rather than having to go to the other end of the garden, also if there are children going to be using it, keeping the garden furniture near the house makes it easier to keep an eye on them. As well as thinking about the location itself, think about how people use the garden and make sure that the location and position of the garden furniture is in keeping with how the garden is used, for example that people can still walk from A to B the way they usually do rather than having to take a detour round the garden furniture.
It has to be said that the most important point to remember when it comes to the care and maintenance of wood furniture for the garden is to buy high quality wood furniture which is intended for the garden. Standard household furniture is generally completely unsuitable for use outdoors. Budget garden furniture is intended for use outdoors but may only last a few seasons even with the best of care. High-quality wood garden furniture should be cleaned regularly and oiled occasionally to keep it in the best of condition. Wood garden furniture can generally be stored outdoors during the colder months, but you may need to think about the effect of the wind where you live.