Expert tips on choosing the best furniture for your garden

Rattan furniture is more popular than ever

Rattan furniture is more popular than ever - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s that time of the year again, and as the weather shows a marked improvement, many of us are turning our thoughts to garden furniture.

St Albans-based Jane Thomas, of Jane Thomas Landscape & Garden Design, says there are things we need to consider before making what can be an expensive investment.

She says: “There are lots of different ranges to choose from. Generally the type you choose needs to be guided by your lifestyle, garden/house style and the amount of space you have (you need to be able to move around it and pull out chairs). Plus, you need to consider where to store it when it’s not in use.”

Options include table and chairs sets, garden benches and arbours, loungers, sofa sets, and hammocks and swing seats. Then you need to decide whether you want wooden, rattan effect, plastic or metal.

“The rattan ‘sofa’ style is very popular now as you can create your living room outdoors,” says Jane. “A client said how this type of furniture had really increased the amount of time she spent in her garden.

“If the furniture is positioned under a garden structure such as a covered pergola or sheltered installation then it can be used all year round.”

Jane adds that synthetic rattan is UV and weather resistant, meaning it requires virtually no maintenance. “You need to just wash annually with hot soapy water,” she says. “It can be left outdoors.”

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Traditional rattan and wicker needs more maintenance, however. “Brush with a scrubbing brush and toothbrush to remove debris and dust from the cracks between the weaves,” Jane advises. “Then clean with soapy water and a soft cloth.”

To find out more about Jane and her garden design services, visit