Whether you’re looking to sit back and relax, entertain friends and family or even create an outdoor workspace, the garden is a brilliant way to extend your home, and enjoy the benefits from being outside in nature.
We’ve collated a selection of ten of the best garden furniture sets to add a touch of personality to your garden, and ensure you have a summer of fun. From stylish wooden corner sofas to luxurious rattan loungers, and from trendy metal bistro sets to classic circular dining tables, there’s plenty to inspire you. We've also rounded up five online garden retailers, all of whom offer a range of garden furniture ideas.
For more garden seating, you may like our round-up of the best rattan garden furniture, deck chairs, egg chairs, and hammocks for summer, while our selection of the parasols could come in handy, too. And, if you’re planning a get-together with friends and family, check out our tests of best gas BBQs, and the best charcoal BBQs, in collaboration with BBC Good Food, as well as our guide to barbecue accessories. If you're looking for tools to build and maintain your garden furniture, consider our tests of the best electric screwdrivers and the best hammers.
- What to consider when choosing garden furniture
- What are the best materials for garden furniture?
- What is the best protection for wooden garden furniture?
- Cheap garden furniture – is it worth it?
- Ten of the best garden furniture sets
Where to buy online garden furniture:
- John Lewis - A mix of contemporary and classic designs
- Garden Trading - Classic furniture to suit traditional and modern gardens
- Robert Dyas - A traditional-style garden furniture collection, featuring sofa and dining sets, armchairs and bistro sets
- Wayfair - A huge selection of garden furniture including sofas, daybeds, dining sets, tables and loungers
- Made - Designer pieces, including modern garden sofas, chairs, tables, loungers, balcony sets and dining sets
- Rattan Tree - Specialising in PE-rattan furniture sets
- Will it fit? The size of your garden, patio or balcony will help determine the style and type of the garden furniture you choose. If you have a large lawn or palatial patio you won’t be constrained by size. In fact, once you’ve measured the space, making sure there’s a metre clear of the table edge so people can get in and out of their chairs, it’s worth buying slightly bigger furniture than you think you’ll need, so there’s plenty of room for family and friends to sit in comfort. It's a bit like a greenhouse – you won’t regret buying the largest one you can, as you’ll soon find yourself filling it up. However, for those of us with a small garden, patio or balcony, it might be more sensible to go for a cleverly designed, space-saving option, like a bistro set that can be folded away.
- Revelling or relaxing? It’s also useful to think about how you use your garden. If you’re entertaining, a dining table and chairs means you’ll be able to eat al fresco in style and comfort. However, if your outside space is a calm sanctuary, somewhere to relax and unwind after a busy day at work, then a lounger, squashy armchair or sofa will be on the top of your list. Get-togethers with friends may be more fun with bar-style tables and stools, while evening gatherings will last longer into the night when snuggled around tables with integral fire pits.
- Which style should I choose? Whether you go for traditional or contemporary designs is really a question of taste and the type of design that appeals to you and works with your home and garden. There’s so much choice on the market, you’ll be able to take your pick of ornate, metal bistro sets to go in a quiet corner of a traditional-looking garden, or a sleek, modular sofa to provide a focal point for an urban space. The choice is yours.
- How do I store it? Unless you’re lucky enough to have a garage or garden shed to store your furniture over the winter, chances are you’ll need to leave it in situ and at the mercy of the elements. While covers are a good investment and offer protection, you may prefer to go for compact or foldable furniture that won’t take up too much room to stow away. If you are buying a cover, make sure you measure the furniture carefully, so you can be sure the cover is the right fit. And, if you can find one that’s both waterproof and protects from UV rays, all the better.
- What's my budget? Finally, but perhaps most importantly, the price tag will be a consideration when you’re choosing garden furniture. In fact, more often than not, it’s the deciding factor. Style, size and materials affect prices, as well as the brand label, so it’s a good idea to work out how much you’d like to spend and use the online price filter to focus your search.
Over and above personal taste, there are several things to consider when choosing which material will most suit your needs:
- Hardwood: Teak, acacia, oak or eucalyptus are weather-resistant, sturdy and will endure for years, especially if you’re prepared to give them a quick wash each summer with soapy water. There’s also the added advantage that you can stain it to match your colour scheme if you’re not a fan of how the wood ages. However, furniture made from hardwoods can be a huge investment.
- Softwood: An inexpensive alternative to hardwood furniture, this will need annual maintenance to ensure it lasts for more than a year or two.
- Natural rattan: While this woven material looks gorgeous, it’s expensive and as it’s not weather-resistant, is best suited to a conservatory rather than outside, where it’ll be exposed to the elements.
- Synthetic or polyethylene (PE)-rattan: A popular alternative to natural rattan, as it’s a cheaper, lightweight, low-maintenance and hard-wearing option. However, check the construction of the frame underneath and be prepared to store it in winter as it might blow over in strong winds.
- Aluminium: Lightweight and rust-resistant, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for something that will last a long time and can be moved around the garden.
- Powder-coated steel: A cheaper alternative to aluminium, but it has less weather resistance so will need more careful storage during bad weather to prolong its lifespan.
Whether you want to ensure your new wooden garden furniture remains in pristine condition, or takes on a natural patina, it’s worth allocating a bit of time for general maintenance each year.
- If furniture has been covered over the winter, try to occasionally remove the cover if it’s a warm, dry spring day. This will allow good airflow, which prevents mildew forming.
- If possible, position furniture on a patio or other hard surface, because if it’s placed on a lawn, over time the legs will start to rot. If that’s not an option, you could try placing a small tile or slab underneath each leg, or moving it off the lawn when it’s not in use or it’s going to rain or the lawn is wet.
- Softwood needs to be treated with an all-weather oil, stain or paint each year as the harsh weather will make joints shrink and eventually work loose, and the wood splinter and crack. With hardwood, on the other hand, you can get away with a quick wash down, if you’re not looking to change the colour. That said, take care if you’re oiling or staining hardwood, as it can turn new oak black, while teak needs special oil to prevent it from cracking and splitting. Avoid painting hardwood, as it has a high oil content, which means you won’t be able to achieve an even finish.
- If you're using a treatment to protect your furniture, prepare wood by using a stiff brush, scrubbing along the grain of the wood, to remove any marks, stains or lichen, moss or algae. If required, give furniture a light sanding down before applying the treatment. Choose a warm – but not sunny – day, where there's no chance of rain, so it has plenty of time to dry.
If you’re looking for something that looks good but won’t break the bank, it’s a good idea to shop at the big chains like Aldi, Argos and The Range. However, it’s worth weighing up between saving money and getting good value, because low prices means you may be compromising on materials. Plastic, softwood, and steel aren’t as durable as PE rattan and hardwood, which means you’ll ultimately have to replace them, and there’s also the issue of sustainability – specifically when it comes to plastic items.
Keep an eye out for sales, too: there are often discounts that are well worth taking advantage of.
10 of the best garden furniture sets
Browse our selection of garden furniture for patios, lawns and balconies:
Aventine Two-Seater Sofa and Sydra Side Table
Sleek and elegant, this sofa is ideal for both traditional or contemporary gardens. The all-weather PE rattan compliments the simple wooden base, as well as the sumptuous cream cushions, and we think it looks great teamed with the PE rattan Sydra Side Table.
Price: Sofa £1,395; Side table, £195
Cancun Six-Seater Grey Half Moon Sofa Set
Versatile, on-trend and great value, this sofa set brings that little extra to your garden with its distinctive curved shape and fashionable rattan finish. The set includes three curved rattan sofas, two side tables and a table.
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Vichy Corner Set
If you’re after pared-down style, then the wooden-framed acacia wood Vichy Corner Set fits the bill. We love the contrasting metal legs, the practical but luxurious dew-resistant seat cushions, as well as the small round table that comes as part of the set.
Apolima Rattan Effect Furniture
Fun and funky, each part of this range of rattan-effect furniture is sold separately, which means you can pick and choose the pieces, making it ideal for smaller gardens and balconies. It includes an armchair, bench, hanging egg chair and kids egg chair, and some pieces are available in steel-grey.
Price: from £75
Lettie Bistro Set
Colourful and modern, the table and two chairs fold away, so this set is perfect for a small space or balcony. However, as it’s made from woven synthetic PE rattan over a steel frame, it also means it can be left out in all weathers. Available in black, natural, grey, blue and pink.
Gallery Direct Braided Four-Seater Garden Lounging Set with Coffee Table
This Scandinavian-inspired two-seater sofa and armchair set features an elegant mix of wood-effect vinyl-wrapped aluminium frames and all-weather woven polyrattan seating backrests. Practical, shower-resistant seat cushions are also included, as is the coffee table with a frosted glass top.
Bistro Set of Table and Four Chairs
Perfect if space is an issue, this fully foldable and lightweight bistro set comes in a choice of colours to bring a little French chic to your patio. Available in clay, chalk, carbon and forest green.
Zest4Leisure Emily Table and Two Bench Seat Set
This traditional-style bench and table set seats up to six people. Crafted from FSC-certified timber, which has been pressure treated to protect against rot, the solid-looking panels create a rustic finish that's ideal for a country garden setting. It's worth noting it comes flat-packed and requires assembly.
Galilhai Four Person Seating Group
A smart, stylish set comprising two chairs, a double sofa and a table. All-weather PE rattan covers the long-lasting aluminium frames, making it lightweight and easy to clean.
Retro Bar Set
A colourful bar-style table with high stools, which brings a fun focal point to the garden. Made from lightweight, coated aluminium, this rust-free set comes with capped feet for added protection. Available in white, pink and blue.
This product guide was last updated in June 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.