Sourcing the best garden furniture for your outside space is a surefire way to increase your enjoyment of time spent alfresco, whether you’re looking for a table and chairs to host a BBQ, a spacious corner sofa or lounge set to kick back and relax around a fire pit, or a smart foldaway bistro set to maximise the potential of a smaller space.
But what is the best garden furniture? After all, whether you're looking for timeless rattan garden furniture or one of the best garden benches, you’ll soon come to realise that upgrading your patio furniture doesn’t come cheap! So how can you ensure that your investment is built to last? And where should you look when updating your outside space, whatever your style and budget?
In this article we aim to demystify the garden furniture buying process – helping you to recognise the materials that are worth splashing the cash on, and those that may be a little more style over substance. As well as this, we’ve rounded up the Gardeningetc team's go-to garden furniture brands and retailers, along with a few top picks from our editors.
The best garden furniture stores
Why you can trust Gardeningetc Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Ready to get straight into shopping? Here's the Gardeningetc edit of the best garden furniture stores you can shop today, with options for every style of garden and budget.
Want to find out how to choose the best garden furniture in terms of durability and longevity first? Or get help deciding whether you need a dining set, corner sofa, or lounger to maximise your outdoor space? Just scroll to the bottom of this guide for all of the detail.
1. John Lewis & Partners
As well as John Lewis & Partner's own brand range, the retailer also offers the more affordable ANYDAY collection, plus offerings from rattan outdoor furniture favourites Kettler and great value bistro sets from the likes of EMU. As usual, the brand achieves a good mix of great design and good value in its ranges, with a focus on quality pieces that feature weatherproof aluminium frames and hardwearing hardwoods.
Editor's pick: Dante Deluxe Garden Dining Armchairs (Set of 2) (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: John Lewis & Partners garden furniture (opens in new tab)
Homebase is a great place to find the best of both worlds, with a mix of affordable powder-coated steel garden furniture and good value aluminium sets if your budget can stretch a little further. The Spirit Garden Corner Sofa Set has been relaunched after a sell-out year last year and is a particularly good buy, blending a contemporary aluminium frame with teak details at a very good price point. Plus, there's also a great selection of modern and more traditional rattan garden furniture sets on offer.
Editor's pick: Spirit Aluminium Garden Corner Sofa Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Homebase garden furniture (opens in new tab)
3. Barker and Stonehouse
Barker and Stonehouse has garden furniture to suit pretty much every style, whether you're looking for a timeless rattan corner sofa or a contemporary concrete table for statement alfresco dining. The brand's outdoor furniture tends to feature weather-resistant aluminium and durable hardwoods, so expect prices to be a little more expensive. But, if you're looking to create an outdoor living area that will become the focal point of the garden, this is one of our favourite stores to shop.
Editor's pick: Beach Teak & Graphite Dining Table (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Barker and Stonehouse garden furniture (opens in new tab)
Independent department store Leekes is a great place to find some of the top brands of garden furniture under one roof, whether you shop in-store or online. You'll find durable and elegant aluminium-framed rattan garden furniture from Bramblecrest and Kettler, and contemporary outdoor sofas and dining sets from Hartman, as well as a good selection of Garden Trading's bistro and lounge sets.
Editor's pick: Hartman Vienna Garden Square Corner Set with Lounger (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Leekes garden furniture (opens in new tab)
As well as catering to all your DIY needs, B&Q also stocks a large range of gardening essentials, including a good selection of reasonably priced garden furniture; think good value rattan garden sets, wooden lounge sets, and compact metal bistro sets. There is a mix of materials on offer, from hardwearing aluminium to powder-coated steel, so just make sure to check the small print so that you're aware of what you're investing in. You'll find advice on which materials to pick to best suit your needs at the bottom of this guide.
Editor's pick: GoodHome Apolima Rattan-Effect Egg Chair (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: B&Q garden furniture (opens in new tab)
If you're looking for garden furniture that looks the part, but doesn't break the bank, then Argos Home is a great place to head, mainly thanks to the addition of the Habitat brand to its offering. To achieve that affordability, most lines are made from powder-coated steel or slightly less durable hardwoods, so there will be a compromise on outdoor weatherproofing compared to higher price point aluminium or teak wood alternatives. However, its low prices and contemporary designs definitely nail it in the style stakes.
Editor's pick: Argos Home Sitges Aluminium 4 Seater Sofa Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Argos garden furniture (opens in new tab)
7. Garden Trading
Perfectly combining timeless design with a modern twist, there's a lot to love about Garden Trading's garden furniture range. And, although its pieces are somewhat of an investment, quality materials and hardwearing designs make its outdoor range good value over the long term. We especially like the pared-back wood options that blend classic British style with a nod to cool and contemporary Scandinavian style.
Editor's pick: Porthallow Acacia Wood Corner Sofa Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Garden Trading garden furniture (opens in new tab)
Stocking a modern selection of own-brand garden furniture, alongside options from Charles Bentley, Norfolk Leisure, and many more, Dunelm offers everything from Adirondack chairs to contemporary garden sofa sets, and all at affordable price points.
Editor's pick: Ibiza 5 Seater Corner Sofa Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Dunelm garden furniture (opens in new tab)
9. Cox & Cox
Nothing says 'classic English country garden' quite so eloquently as Cox & Cox's outdoor furniture collection, with the brand offering a swoon-worthy array of timeless rattan seating, wooden dining tables and chairs, plus, an extensive range of hanging egg chairs. The only downside is that the brand's lead times can be lengthy, so order as soon as possible to ensure you can be sitting pretty outdoors as soon as the good weather arrives.
Editor's pick: Ravenna Lounge Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Cox & Cox garden furniture (opens in new tab)
Whatever the time of year, and whatever your budget, you can pretty much be guaranteed to find garden furniture options to suit at Wayfair. The brand prides itself on curating one of the biggest selections of indoor and outdoor furniture going, and as such you'll find everything from anti-gravity deckchairs to rattan garden sets listed on its online storefront. Just be aware that pricing and discounting can change on an almost daily basis, so if you find a good deal, it's best to snap it up rather than delay.
Editor's pick: Keter Armona 4-Seat Rattan-Effect Lounge Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Wayfair garden furniture (opens in new tab)
11. Robert Dyas
Looking for no-frills garden furniture that's good on value? Robert Dyas offers a huge selection of affordable outdoor seating, including reasonably-priced garden dining tables and chairs and cheap sun loungers, plus plenty of outdoor extras including some of the best hot tubs, garden parasols, and outdoor bean bags.
Editor's pick: Country Hardwood 6-Seater Garden Dining Table & Chairs (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Robert Dyas garden furniture (opens in new tab)
12. La Redoute
French online retailer La Redoute is a great option for sourcing something a little bit different for your patio space. It offers a great mix of classic wooden bistro sets and practical outdoor furniture, alongside some super contemporary on-trend designs. The brand's online sales are also well worth keeping an eye out for, with some hefty discounts regularly making an appearance.
Editor's pick: Aurelia 4 Seater Garden Dining Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: La Redoute garden furniture (opens in new tab)
If budget allows, then OKA is our go-to for beautiful outdoor design. A mix of heritage British style and global influences mean the brand's garden furniture collection offers a treasure trove of timeless classics and statement pieces. We especially love its elegant rattan garden furniture, statement dining tables, and contemporary lounge sets.
Editor's pick: Braunton Rattan-Effect Dining Table (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: OKA garden furniture (opens in new tab)
A great selection of modern garden furniture and some refreshingly low pricing makes the VonHaus garden collection a bit of a find. There are compact corner sofas that are great for smaller patios, on-trend lounge sets, and some statement garden chairs, alongside good value zero-gravity deckchairs and rocking loungers that are perfect for lazy days in the sun.
Editor's pick: Rope-Effect Garden Sofa and Table Set (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: VonHaus garden furniture (opens in new tab)
15. Marks & Spencer
High street favourite Marks & Spencer has now extended its indoor furniture collection to include a range of outdoor furniture, offering rattan garden sofas, contemporary dining sets and space-saving bistro sets for a modern patio. We especially like the Lois collection which brings bright tropical colour and playful Acapulco-style seating to the garden.
Editor's pick: Marlow Rattan-Effect Garden Sofa (opens in new tab)
Shop the collection: Marks & Spencer garden furniture (opens in new tab)
Looking for something specific?
Jump straight to the cream of the garden furniture crop with the Gardeningetc team's round-up of the best outdoor furniture in each of the following categories:
- Browse the best rattan garden furniture
- Browse the best wooden garden furniture
- Browse the best garden benches
- Browse the best bistro sets
- Browse the best sun loungers
Plus, of course, creating the perfect outdoor living space isn't just about the furniture. Find the finishing touches for kitting out your patio area with these essential edits:
- Browse the best garden parasols
- Browse the best gazebos
- Browse the best outdoor bean bags
- Browse the best outdoor rugs
- Browse the best outdoor lights
What's the best garden furniture for your outside space?
You'll first want to consider how you prefer to use your outdoor area; do you want to entertain large numbers of guests, create a family-friendly garden, or create a space to relax and unwind amongst nature in relative solitude?
If you're blessed with plenty of space to play with, you may want to create outdoor 'rooms' as you would with an interior. Start by adding a garden table and chairs that are spacious enough to host the number of family and friends you would regularly entertain around a barbecue area for an 'outdoor dining' zone. Then, perhaps create a more relaxed, informal seating area with a corner sofa or lounge set as an 'outdoor living room'. Adding some loungers to an area that has a little more privacy and catches the best of the sun can create a third zone that's perfect for sunbathing.
If space is more limited, then you may need to combine these areas. In this case, a garden sofa set that features an extendable height riser table can be a worthy investment, allowing you to easily transform your seating from a daytime coffee spot into an alfresco dining zone in the evening. Alternatively, a chaise sofa, or option that comes with padded footstools, will transform seating into a sun lounging space when the weather allows.
And, if space is truly at a premium, then options that fold away can help to maximise your square footage, with collapsible bistro sets offering a smart and versatile solution.
What type of outdoor furniture is the most durable?
Once you've decided on the type of garden furniture layout that will work best for your lifestyle, it's time to consider the best materials for outdoor furniture.
You can find an in-depth look at the differences in durability between each material in Gardeningetc's guide to 'Is outdoor furniture weatherproof?', but as a quick cheat sheet, we've summarised some of the key factors to consider when shopping each of the most common garden furniture materials below.
What's the best metal garden furniture to buy?
Even if you opt for a rattan corner sofa or dining set for your patio furniture ideas, metal will often be used to create the base structure of the design. Therefore, it's important to understand the differences in what's available.
The most affordable garden furniture tends to be made of powder-coated steel. Steel is highly corrosive when it comes into contact with water, so it's protected from the outdoor elements by way of powder-coating the surface with a protective paint barrier. This works, but it means steel-based outdoor furniture is likely to have weak points at joints and fixings where moisture can penetrate and gradually form rust, and any chips in the paint surface will need repairing promptly to maintain durability. For this reason, it's generally recommended that steel-based rattan furniture is stored under cover during inclement weather, which isn't always easy if you're short on space. Plus, steel furniture can be very heavy to move.
Aluminium-framed garden furniture is by far the more durable option, as the metal itself forms a barrier that prevents moisture from penetrating the surface. It may still be powder-coated, but this is purely for aesthetic reasons rather than protection. For this reason, aluminium garden furniture can be left outside all year round making it a super low-maintenance option (although most manufacturers will still recommend sheltering it from the worst of the elements to prolong its lifespan even further). However, this does mean aluminium-based outdoor furniture tends to be by far the more expensive option. The added durability can make it the most cost-effective and better value investment long term, though.
What's the best type of rattan garden furniture?
One of the most popular garden furniture designs, rattan garden furniture offers a timeless look that blends with most garden styles.
Most modern 'rattan' garden furniture is actually made of PE-rattan or polyrattan, a polyurethane plastic that offers the benefits of being lightweight, waterproof, weather-resistant, and low maintenance.
The key consideration in shopping for the best rattan garden furniture your budget allows is the construction of the metal base frame that gives rattan furniture its support. As explained above, a powder-coated steel frame is likely to weather much faster than aluminium-framed rattan garden furniture, and steel-based rattan furniture is likely to need storing under shelter in inclement weather. However, aluminium-based rattan furniture is more expensive.
Which wood is best for garden furniture?
You'll find wooden garden furniture made from many types of timber, but when shopping for the most durable designs, it's hardwoods you'll want to look out for.
Teak is the hardwood most prized for its strength and durability outdoors. As well as offering an extremely dense grain that prevents moisture from penetrating, teak retains high levels of natural oils in its timber once cut, which further helps to prevent the wood from weathering. You can top up the wood with teak oil to offer even more weather resistance, although many allow the timber to weather over time to its signature soft silvery patina.
However, this dense grain is down to teak's extremely slow-growing habit, and that slow growth, plus the difficulty of working with such a tough timber, makes it one of the most expensive wooden options.
Like many woods, teak is also in danger of being harvested unsustainably. Reclaimed teak wood can be a more eco-friendly solution, or, as when buying any wood product, make sure to look for FSC-certification which should ensure the tree has been felled within a managed forest rather than contributing to damaging deforestation.
Cheaper and faster-growing alternatives that are now becoming very popular outdoor furniture choices are the hardwoods acacia and eucalyptus. These woods may be slightly less dense than teak but they are far-quicker growing, allowing them to be grown and managed to yield greater quantities of wood more sustainably – although again, it's important to look for FSC accreditation. A little low-maintenance upkeep with a coat of wood preservative each year should ensure these hardwoods retain plenty of weather resistance.
If you're looking for durability, then try to avoid garden furniture that is simply listed as a 'wood' or timber' build, as it's more likely these options are crafted from less weather-resistant softwoods.
Can you leave garden furniture outside in the rain?
Some garden furniture, like options made from weather-resistant aluminium or hardwoods like teak, need very little maintenance to keep them looking their best and can be left outdoors all year round.
However, garden furniture made from powder-coated steel or softer hardwoods will need a little more TLC to prolong its lifespan, and, whatever option your budget allows, most manufacturers will still recommend that you store outdoor furniture under cover during the worst of the winter weather, whether that's in the garage or a storage shed, or at the very least under one of the best outdoor furniture covers.
If storage space is limited, foldable dining chairs and tables can be a good option. If you're storing your garden furniture under a furniture cover then it's important to consider the material, as non-breathable options can still leave garden furniture at risk of mould.
Plus, of course, it's not just your garden furniture that might need some shelter. If you're planning an alfresco gathering and grey clouds are looming, check out our guide to the best gazebos to ensure your party plans can continue whatever the weather.
For more insider knowledge on what to consider when garden furniture shopping, make sure to browse our top tips for choosing outdoor furniture article which considers colour schemes, trends and more.
After specialising in Textile Design for Interiors at Winchester School of Art, Amy spent many years working in the design and interior industries, including styling and visual merchandising for many well-known brands. She now writes for multiple interior publications, including Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, and Real Homes to offer advice on creating a well-designed interior, whether that's choosing the perfect shade of paint, what to look for when investing in a new sofa, or sourcing on-trend and sustainable products for the home.
Amy joined the Gardeningetc team to bring her design knowledge outdoors, offering advice on what to consider when shopping for the best garden furniture, how to choose the ideal garden bench, and sourcing everything you need to create an outdoor living area that will become the perfect place to kick back and relax when the sun shines.
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