Garden furniture is a must-have for any home (outdoor space permitting, of course). Perfect for summer, it’ll help you entertain guests and ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of your garden.

However not all garden furniture is created equal. The materials used and quality of manufacturing make a big difference to the durability of the furniture and, critically, whether or not it can be left outside.

If you don’t have room to store garden furniture indoors, then you might be deterred from investing in furniture that could potentially be made redundant by the famous British weather.

So What Garden Furniture Can Be Left Outside?

While most garden furniture is designed to withstand being left outside year round, there are some caveats to that and things you can do to counteract weathering. This includes using outdoor furniture covers and (depending on the material) treating your garden furniture set with sealants and oils.

Can Real Rattan Furniture Be Left Outside?

Despite its price, genuine rattan furniture cannot be left outside all year round - at least in the UK. In fact, it’s rare to find genuine rattan garden furniture on sale in this part of the world.

In its place you’ll usually find faux rattan furniture. This is formed of plastic and steel frames, which will fare much better in inclement weather than real rattan. That said, even this should ideally be taken inside over winter, and in damp conditions.

If you've got your heart set on real rattan, note that it should absolutely be taken inside during autumn and winter and should still be covered when not in use during the spring and summer. This is because real rattan furniture will rot in the rain - and quickly.

Can Wooden Furniture Be Left Outside?

Wooden garden furniture should be good all year round - especially if it’s regularly treated - however the type of wood makes a difference.

Many different types of wood can be and are used to make garden furniture. They can broadly be split into two categories:
  • Hardwoods - Elm, Teak, Eucalyptus, Oak, Mahogany etc.
  • Softwoods - Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Fir etc.
They have different properties, but they'll need to be treated if they are to be left outside 12 months of the year. In damp conditions, these materials will eventually begin to rot. This will severely weaken the wood, causing it to crack and snap.

There are many oils, treatments and sealants available on our website, that will help prevent damage to your furniture. In fact, if you treat your wooden furniture regularly and well, you can leave it out all year round and expect it to last for over 25 years. Depending on the quality of the wood, that life expectancy can be up to 50 years.

Can Plastic Furniture Be Left Outside?

Plastic garden furniture is a budget-friendly option. You get some perfectly functional furniture for your outdoor space, for a low price. Unfortunately, this means making a trade-off on the durability and quality of your furniture.

Plastic garden furniture will not rot, snap or crack in damp, wintry conditions, so in theory, it's completely okay to leave it out all year round.

However, plastic garden furniture is often very light. A strong gust of wind and it's unlikely to be in the same place you left it. This will inevitably damage it, and potentially anything it comes into contact with. If you can't move plastic garden furniture indoors, find a way to secure it when not in use.

Plastic furniture can also fade when left out in the sun, so it’s a good idea to keep it covered in the warmer months, too.

Can Steel Furniture Be Left Outside?

Steel is a great material for garden furniture. It's inexpensive, sturdy and durable. Cover it, and it should be fine to leave outside during the winter - but you're taking a gamble.

Steel will rust when left in damp conditions, and that rust can leave orange marks on your patio. Keep it covered when you’re not using it during spring and summer, just in case there's a downpour. When summer's over, bring it inside if you can.

Can Aluminium Furniture Be Left Outside?

Aluminium is a fantastic choice for your garden and makes for great all year round furniture - but why?

Aluminium is low-maintenance and doesn’t get hot in the sun. It’s also corrosion and rust-resistant. This means it should be able to brave all weather conditions, all year round. Aluminium garden furniture is generally more expensive than other metals, though.

You might still want to cover your aluminium garden furniture when it’s not in use, just as a precaution.

How to Cover Garden Furniture

Don't try and cover your garden furniture with whatever you can lay your hands on - we can almost guarantee it won't work. Invest instead in a waterproof cover. The whole idea of covering furniture is to protect it from damp conditions. If your furniture cover isn't waterproof, then you may as well not use a cover at all.

It's better to cover each item of furniture individually, but not necessary. If you're applying a large cover, then make sure it turns underneath the furniture slightly. This will help prevent water from running under the cover and on to the base of your furniture.

Lastly, make sure your furniture is on a solid, flat surface. If possible, keep it sheltered when not in use, too. It’s also a good idea to make sure your cover has been weighted so it doesn't blow off in a strong wind.

We have a wide selection of garden furniture for you to choose from on our website and at our garden centre in Grantham. From garden furniture sets to outdoor accessories, we also stock barbecues, pots, sheds, garden lighting, and lots more.