As the weather warms up and the evenings stretch out, the garden starts to become the focal point of the home. We want to spend more time outdoors so it’s important our outdoor living environment is ready for any occasion, and central to its success is the right set of garden furniture.

At Bents we’ve been experts in outdoor living for decades and understand all the elements involved in creating a stylish space that suits your needs. Whether it’s a space to entertain or somewhere to simply sit back and relax, we’ve got everything you need to make your outdoor living room a special place to be.

A good set of garden furniture can be a big investment so we know it’s not a decision that can be taken lightly. All our experts have an eye for detail and understand what will work best for you. They are here to advise you on your purchase and help you make the right decisions.

Make a plan

It’s important to plan carefully and think about what you would like your garden furniture to achieve. Think about what sort of look, feel and ambience you want to create, but also how you would like to use your furniture. Will it be a place for pure relaxation, or a place to entertain, or both? Our casual dining suites such as the Palma Casual Dining Round Set are perfect for creating a space that’s not just for eating and entertainment but also a place for relaxation and loungeability. If you plan carefully, your outdoor room will be the perfect addition to your home.

Consider your space

Surely everyone has bought a piece of furniture that looked moderately sized in the shop but which resembled something from a giant’s mansion once they’ve put it in their home. Floor area can be incredibly deceiving like this, and the rule applies equally to the outside and the inside.

So before you even start to look at what’s available, measure your outdoor area and work out how much room you can give to your furniture whilst allowing you enough space to move around. How flexible do you want it to be? Will it be a permanent feature or do you need to have the ability to move your furniture around? Our lightweight aluminium options such as the Florence 120cm Round 4 Seater Set are strong and robust yet deceptively lightweight and easy to move around.

Think about storage

Your next consideration also involves size – where will the furniture be kept over winter? Good quality wooden garden furniture that’s looked after will survive the British winter, just like all those park benches and picnic tables do. A top tip is to make sure the metalwork (screws, plates, nuts and bolts) are made of steel or brass as they won’t corrode over time.

Plastic moulded chairs and tables will also be fine, although they might start to show their age earlier if left out in the sun, rain and frost throughout the year.

Bistro-style metal chairs and tables can be left out too – just remove any cushions you have attached.

Another option is to move your furniture inside to keep it fresher for longer. Obviously this means having enough space, so you’ll realistically need an empty garage, shed or greenhouse with a large enough door to fit it all in. Alternatively, using collapsible deckchair-type furniture means you’ll need much less space.

If storage is not an option, it’s worth investing in some covers to keep the rain, wet leaves, snow and general garden grime off your furniture, so it looks like new when you unveil it every spring.

How does your garden grow?

The look and feel of your garden will play a big part in determining the type of outdoor furniture you choose. A cottage-style country garden works best with classic furniture, usually the slatted wooden style, but the metal look works well too, harking back to the days when every village had a blacksmith.

Plastic offers a wider range of colours and shapes, so you can get creative or match the patio furniture with the colour scheme of the rest of the space – ideal for fun, modern outdoor living.

Somewhere in between is rattan furniture, be it real or faux. It certainly has a good, solid construction that’ll last you for years, but it also has a delicate nature due to its woven elements. It all adds up to a stylish, light and comfortable garden furniture set.

Relaxation or entertainment?

Are you a social butterfly who’s always throwing barbecue parties and who turns every sunny day into an outdoor get-together? You’re going to need sturdy chairs and tables that won’t get knocked over and which will tolerate food and drink spillages. Comfort might not be the first option in this case, so wooden or metal chairs, benches and tables will be perfect for occasional seating.

Not everyone sees their garden as a social space, of course. For many, it’s where they chill out with a book, a cool drink and close friends or family members. If this is your idea of heaven, go for some plush, plump, cushioned furniture, perhaps a recliner or swing seat where you can while away the days to the sound of birdsong, ice on glass and gentle laughter.

Finishing touches

Finally, you need to think about those essential finishing touches that bring the garden to life. Not everyone likes to be sat in the blazing sun even if they like being outdoors – so a good parasol is probably an essential for the committed al fresco entertainer.

You should also remember lighting. Candles, Tiki torches and lanterns are all delightful ways of creating atmosphere when the sun goes down. But electric lighting is perfectly good, and with modern LEDs and solar panels, you won’t even need to plug them in. Whether you go for strings of coloured lights or free-standing units dotted around the borders, they create a wonderful vibe on those sultry summer nights.

Try before you buy

Once you’ve considered the practicalities it’s time to enjoy the experience of choosing the perfect pieces for your outdoor room. Our award-winning Outdoor Living department offers one of the largest collections of furniture in the region and our experts are here to help you envisage the possibilities that are available. You are encouraged to take a seat, check for comfort, sit back, relax, try and test to ensure your decision is a happy one.

When you’ve made your decision we know you you’ll want to get your furniture home as soon as possible so offer a range of delivery options for you to choose from. For the most immediate solution our Home Drive service allows you to transport your purchase yourself, whilst our Deliver and Build option may be more suited to larger suites which our experts will ensure are delivered and positioned perfectly in the garden.

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Investing in your outdoor room not only adds value to your home but can also be a hugely enjoyable experience. Our experts at Bents can help you create a beautiful space with bags of style and one which repays the research and is worth the investment, so why not start making those plans now so your outdoor room is ready and waiting for when the sun starts to shine?