Your garden furniture guide

A colourful garden with plenty of space for extensive barbecues, sunbathing or simply relaxing: This is probably the greatest happiness of every nature lover. Tables, chairs, benches and loungers for the garden not only support the ambience of your paradise, but are also your practical, comfortable and, in the best case, durable companions through all seasons.

What is garden furniture?

By furniture for the garden, we mean tables, seating and loungers that are designed in terms of their functionality and material to be suitable for outdoor use. It can be placed and used both in the garden and on the terrace as well as on the balcony.

Buy garden furniture: What materials are available?

Tables, chairs, benches and the like for the garden are now available in a variety of materials. As a buyer, you are spoilt for choice, because they all have advantages and disadvantages. Get an overview:

  • Furniture for the garden made of plastic - Plastic furniture is the classic choice for initial furnishing or for the balcony. They have the advantage that they are light, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Moreover, they can be wonderfully stacked and stored away in winter. They should be, because the strong weather conditions can take their toll on plastic garden furniture. Do not expose them to the blazing sun and ask for advice on how to care for the furniture for a long time.
  • Garden tables and chairs made of (tropical) wood - pure nature and elegance: only garden furniture made of wood can exude this. When choosing wooden tables, benches and chairs for outdoors, make sure that they are made of robust material. Teak, eucalyptus bangkirai and red meranti, for example, can withstand sun, rain, snow and storms without significant damage or deterioration. They are somewhat more expensive to buy than plastic furniture. In the long run, however, it is worthwhile to dig a little deeper into your pocket at first. Finally, when buying tropical wood, you should make sure that the furniture bears the FSC or PEFC seal. Only then can you be sure that the wood comes from sustainable forestry.
  • Metal garden furniture - Metal is a particularly popular material for tables and chairs that should be exposed to all weathers. When buying iron furniture, make sure that it is weatherproof painted and will not rust. Bistro furniture made of metal is particularly common. With their Mediterranean flair, they bring a fascinating romanticism to any garden or terrace.
  • Outdoor furniture made of rattan - Rattan furniture for the garden is particularly easy to care for and the selection of different versions and designs is unbeatable. A particular advantage is that they are very comfortable, even without upholstery.

What are the different types of patio furniture?

Anyone who wants to equip their garden with furniture has certainly already come across the large selection of different types. From functional tables and chairs to benches and loungers to hammocks and lounge furniture, you will find everything your heart desires in different qualities and designs. Due to the abundance of choice, it is particularly important to make a concept or plan for the furnishing of the garden or terrace before buying. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I need at all?
  • How much space do I have on my terrace, on my balcony or in my garden?
  • Which material suits the look of my outdoor facilities or my house?
  • Do I have space for winter storage or do I need furniture made of robust, weather-resistant material?
  • What is my budget?
  • Which aspects (functionality, design, cosiness, price, maintenance) are particularly important to me?

How important is the quality of patio or balcony furniture?

The question of the importance of the quality of garden furniture can be answered simply: it should always play the biggest role in the purchase. On the other hand, there is the question of purpose. Furniture that will stand outside all year round should undoubtedly be of high quality. If you have space for shelter in bad weather or are looking for tables and chairs for a gazebo, then value plays a somewhat subordinate role. Nevertheless: in the long run, you will enjoy high-quality furniture for the garden or balcony longer than inferior ones. True to the motto: "If you buy cheap, you buy twice."

Can garden furniture be left outside in winter?

Whether garden furniture can be left outside over winter is a question of care, quality and material. Painted metal furniture, for example, can remain outside in winter without any problems, while tables and chairs made of plastic, wood or rattan are best kept in the shed, garage or cellar. If you want to leave your furniture on the balcony for the winter, for example, you should buy protective covers for garden furniture.

What features and functions does garden furniture have?

To ensure that the furniture for your garden or patio can do its job for as long as possible, proper care is important. This depends on the material. Wood needs more care than polyrattan, metal needs a special varnish to prevent rusting and plastic needs special care. Moreover, garden furniture must also comply with aesthetic laws. As a rule, outdoor tables and chairs are not only more robust in terms of their material, but also have a more solid appearance. The design can depend on the garden, personal taste and functionality.

What to look for when buying garden furniture?

If you want to buy garden furniture, it's important to make sure that the size and style match the space where it will be used. Patio furniture is usually a little more expansive in design than balcony furniture. A bistro table and chairs will suit an enchanted and overgrown garden, while wooden furniture will blend in with a natural setting.

You can buy garden furniture conveniently online from your PC or you can go to a specialist shop and get expert advice. For those who know what they want, the selection on the Internet is excellent. The homepages of garden furniture suppliers are also worth a look for initial ideas and impressions, design options and an overview of the various designs.

Enough space on the balcony?

  • When buying, bear in mind that a chair needs a movement area behind it of 20 - 30 cm in addition to its footprint of approx. 50 x 65 cm.
  • The table should be at least one metre wide so that you can eat comfortably.
  • Ideally, you should have about 50 cm of space around the dining group so that you can pass by without difficulty. If the space of at least 40 x 40 cm is no longer sufficient for a parasol, you can also use a garden table with an integrated parasol holder. Another option would be to clamp the parasol to the balcony parapet.
  • Also make sure you have a little space for a barbecue or a side table.
  • The best solution for a small balcony is folding furniture that can be placed in a corner to save space.

Be careful with colours:

  • Be aware that dark garden furniture can get very hot in the blazing sun! Plastic and metal furniture also heats up easily. One solution to this problem is to use light-coloured cushions, which of course also increase the seating comfort considerably. These cushions should cover the entire surface of the seat and back.
  • A tablecloth helps to prevent glaring light reflections and reflections on the table surface.
  • If you have a very light-coloured or sensitive natural stone covering on your balcony or terrace, you should bear in mind that some wood glazes or paints can stain, especially in rainy weather.

Quality in garden furniture:

  • Make sure that the furniture is waterproof, UV-resistant (important for plastic furniture), easy to clean, dimensionally stable, colourfast and resistant to impact and abrasion. In the case of fabric-covered loungers, the seams must be stable and tear-resistant.
  • Upholstery should be washable or at least cleanable. They should be easy to attach to the seating furniture without slipping.
  • Non-folding chairs should be stackable so that they can be stored in a space-saving way.

Quality especially with folding furniture:

  • Test the folding mechanisms! Loungers, chairs and tables must be easy to adjust and stable to lock in place. In the case of folding tables, the tabletop must be able to be secured when folded out.
  • Hinge and connecting parts should not be made of iron but of stainless steel or brass.
  • A lacquered seal must close all around and must not be abraded when folding and unfolding.
  • To ensure safety against injury, make sure that the edges are cleanly rounded and that no screw heads protrude.

Be sure to try it out:

  • Plastic furniture is often not as stable as it looks. Make sure that the backrest does not bend backwards, that the armrests cannot be easily pushed to the side or that the table and chair legs give way or even bend under load!
  • Also remember that the chairs may have to withstand a heavy visitor! They should also be able to sit comfortably and safely.
  • The table must not wobble or even tip over when you lean on it for a moment.

Go back

The guidebook of the Federal Environment Agency - download now as an e-book for free!

Mehr erfahren