Garden Furnishing Ideas

While the overall design of the garden is a relatively static affair, at least in terms of the hard landscape, the furnishing of that space will be far more mobile. Here there is room to include both passing fashion and lasting favorites: the choice of a pot; the siting of a statue, a piece of sculpture or an ornament; the colorway of awnings, deckchair fabric and curtains in a summerhouse. Some may stay with you for a lifetime, while others will come and go as the mood takes you.

Having said all that, the garden is often a far more demanding master than the house, and your choices will invariably have to be tempered by practicality.

Why does garden furniture tend to be so uncomfortable, when the garden is supposed to be, above all, a place in which to relax? Of course there are always exceptions, but do make sure you try chairs out before you buy them, and NEVER fall for the temptation of buying through mail order.

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Materials vary, and there are no real rights or wrongs here; just respect the setting. Run-of-the-mill plastic tables and chairs do not look good beside a classic Georgian fa├žade, nor do wrought-iron replicas alongside a contemporary steel and glass building. Timber is usually a safe bet, but check that the wood has not come from tropical rain forests; there are other environmentally acceptable sources of supply.

Timber can be used in many different ways, and in virtually any garden setting. Consider the character of the particular area when you are deciding on a style, and remember to use non-toxic wood preservatives to prolong its life. You will also need cushions, essential if wooden seats and benches are to remain comfortable for any length of time.

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You can have fun with fabrics, perhaps picking up an interior theme, and they also fold up flat for easy storage. Wickerwork is also attractive, and easy to move around, while the woven ‘Lloyd Loom’ type of furniture is always immensely comfortable.

One of the favorites is the hammock. There is nothing better than gently snoozing above the sweet grasses of an orchard in a hammock suspended from two stout old trees.

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Cushions, awnings, tablecloths and bean bags all add instant color to a composition, in much the same way as annuals in a garden container. Choose fabrics with care, and if possible link them to your internal color scheme. There are a number of waterproofed ones that are ideal for outside use and which do not have to be rushed under cover at the first hint of a shower of rain.

Always have a good quality waterproof sheet available, and if it is brightly patterned, so much the better. It will have many uses, from picnics on the lawn to hanging over the top of overhead beams when you are barbecuing and there is a sudden torrential rainstorm.


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