Gardening leave: How to have the perfect garden furniture

Now that Summer is finally here, we’re spending more time in the Cosy Home garden and enjoying the benefits of all our hard work. The weather’s warm enough to start spending our coffee breaks outside with a cup of tea, as well as eat meals outside, so our garden furniture is now out and back in use. If you’ve not used your furniture since last summer and it’s looking a bit tired and worse for wear, here are some ideas for tidying it up and giving it a new lease of life.

Cleaning and repairing

If your garden furniture has spent the winter under cover, get it out and inspect it. Teak furniture will probably need a good brush off with a stiff brush, and possibly a wipe down with warm water and washing up liquid to remove any bird stains or dirt that was missed in the winter. Clean any hinges and oil them, as well.

Clean metal furniture with a scrubbing brush and soap and water. Inspect it carefully for rust spots, and if you find any remove them with a wire brush and re-paint the area so the damage doesn’t spread. If you find several areas of rust, it might be time to re-paint completely. Wash the furniture and remove all the rust before applying a rust inhibiting undercoat, then the top coat of your choice. We love Farrow and Ball’s muted colour range.

Farrow and ball paints

Canvas deckchairs and parasols should have been put away clean at the end of last year, but don’t panic if you forgot. Use the vacuum on a low setting to remove any cobwebs, then brush with a stiff brush to remove loose dirt. Spots and stains can be sponged with warm water and washing up liquid, and allowed to dry. Some fabrics are designed to be completely removed and washed in a washing machine, but do check care labels first.

If the parasol or chair was put away damp or stored in a damp location over the winter, it might have mildew spots when you get it out again. For non-washable canvas, dissolve 60g of borax in 500ml of hot water. Put on some rubber gloves, soak a sponge or cloth in the liquid and rub at the marks. If you can’t find borox, you can get borax substitutes in most pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Finally, adding new cushions gives furniture a new lease of life and is cheaper than replacing it. We love:

Weather resistant garden seat cushions, Lily Matthews

Weather resistant garden cushions

These seat pad cushions come in a range of styles and colours, and are made from fabric engineered for use on yachts. Stain resistant, you can simply shake them dry if they get wet. £35 each from Oscar and Eve.

Outdoor cushions, Delightful living

Outdoor cushions

These cushions are made in Wales from recycled wool from the tweed industry, and feature a hard wearing waterproof fabric backing and a large loop for easy carrying and storing. These are ideal for stopping you getting damp if your furniture isn’t quite dry, but don’t forget to whisk them inside if it rains! £22 each, available from Delightful Living.

New garden furniture

If you decide your existing furniture is past saving or you just fancy a change, there are lots of options on the market.

Harrison table and chairs set, Alium

Harrison set by Alium

This budget set by Alium is great value, retailing at £149.99 (was £209.99). Made from sturdy cast aluminium, it’s lightweight, durable and low maintenance. Ideal for smaller gardens, it’s available from Alium.

Chastleton bench, Mobius Living

Chastleton bench

This beautiful reclaimed teak bench isn’t cheap at £525, but it’s an investment that’ll give you please in your garden for years to come. Available from Mobius Living.

Primrose chair, Oliver Bonas

Primrose chair

This quirky little chair comes in various different colours or with a matching table, and will add an individual note to a cottage garden. £59, available from Oliver Bonas

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