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Spring is just around the corner. Depending on where you live, the sun is starting to flirt with us already. Warmer days mean more fun and frolics in the garden.

That may also mean it’s time to spruce up your outside space in preparation for family and friends coming over.

So if you are in the market for buying new patio furniture this year, this guide is designed for you.

Here are 7 things you should consider before you part with your hard earned money…


1. Try before You Buy – (Comfort & Size)

Clearly many of us like to buy online these days, so this tip will not apply to everyone. However, if you can you should try before you buy.

There is nothing better than being able to lounge in a new patio sofa, or porch swing in the shop before you pull the trigger on the purchase.

Pictures will give you a good idea on how pretty a piece might look, but it will never relay just how comfortable (or not) the item may be.

Size is a big issue too. Some patio chairs and outdoor dining sets may be too small for an extended sitting scenario, (plastic chairs or the wire mesh type are especially prone to this).

How does it feel on the butt? The only way to find out is to try it first.

2. Consider the maintenance

Outdoor furniture is designed for just that – to be outdoors. This means that whatever you buy will have to withstand the elements. The last thing you want is a dining set that has to be constantly cleaned and maintained before you can enjoy it, (or equally as annoying, be stored away between use)

The best way to avoid such a situation is to buy easy-care furniture.

Look out for furniture that has been built using reliable materials designed to live outside. Most metal, teak, cedar, and all-weather wicker pieces can be left to out in the yard without being compromised.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more common materials available:

Wood

Wood is a natural choice for most garden furniture set ups. It looks great, is strong (as long as you buy quality pieces) and if you buy the right type sufficiently weather resistant.

Teak, redwood, cypress and cedar are your best option. However, you should always read the small print – some wooden furniture may require sporadic treatment with a preservative or occasional UV protection.

Rattan, wicker and natural grasses

Rattan furniture is a good option. Items made from this have rust-resistant features and cope well against mildew and humidity.

Wicker and natural grasses look especially pleasing with the rustic vibe that they have.

Look out for the furniture that has been treated with a resin finish. Not only does this look great, they also hold up well outside.

Steel and wrought iron

Steel and wrought iron are popular choices. Robust, affordable and often with a pleasing aesthetic there is wide range of furniture made using these materials.

However, comfort levels vary (you will certainly need additional cushions) and they are prone to rust if not weatherproofed or painted periodically.

Aluminum, plastic and PVC

Probably the most common type of garden furniture is that made from aluminium, plastic or PVC.

Rustproof, lightweight and inexpensive it is easy to see why so many people opt for this type of product.

3. Invest in quality items

Whatever construction material or type of furniture you decide upon, you should always stretch the budget to purchase the best quality you can afford.

While plastic resin furniture is a popular choice because of the low cost, aesthetically speaking such items are generally rather uninspiring.

Cheap wood products and wicker pieces will rarely stand the test of time. As we have covered above, your furniture has to weather the elements – the higher quality items you buy, the greater longevity they will have.

The bottom line is, poorly constructed outdoor furniture rarely last very long.

Research items before you buy to see what reviews and previous customers have to say. This will help you discern the brands to look out for as well as how durable specific products actually are.

4. The all important shade

Never overlook the shade when it comes to planning your garden furniture set up. Whether you are utilising a natural canopy of trees, a permanent structure, an awning or a large sun umbrella, providing adequate respite from the sun is an important consideration.

Depending on where you live, mid-summer days will be unbearable in the garden without enough shade.

So make sure you have made arrangements for some naturally refreshing and sheltering cover for you, your family and friends.

5. Double the fun with dual purpose

There is a lot of furniture available these days that serve dual function.

From a quality ottoman that doubles as extra seating, block chairs that can be used as footstools or small outdoor coffee tables.

An alfresco dining table may come with additional benches that can be easily moved around to provide extra seating when seat down dining isn’t required.

Or simply a pretty garden sofa that has secure and dry storage space beneath.

Look for versatility in your chosen furniture so that your garden set up can be adapted to suit the needs of the day.

6. Keep an eye out for sales

We all love a good bargain. And with garden furniture being such an obvious seasonal purchase, there are definitely deals to be had if you shop at the right times.

Buying in the spring will clearly provide fewer chances of snapping up a sale item.

However, wait until mid to late summer, or better still buy the last stock in early fall in preparation for the following year and you could save up to 50% on your purchases.

This obviously takes planning, but if you are able to wait your pocket will certainly be better off for it.

Image Credits: Pixabay.com