Garden furniture - where do I start?
How many rooms are in your home? What about outside of your home? An odd question perhaps, but maybe you ought to consider your garden as an extended room?
Whether you own a modest yard, or are lucky enough to have a huge expanse of land, gardens are a wonderful free extension to your living space.
A garden is so many things to so many people. There’s little more of a rewarding feeling than owning a well planned garden.
Spend quality time pottering around your own vegetable plot, or grow flowers and fruits. Make a haven for wildlife or provide a cosy gathering with family and friends.
Party on with one of our barbecue grills, or simply use your garden as a retreat from your hectic lifestyle.
Whatever you use your garden for, comfortable seating allows you sit back and admire your efforts.
Consider your garden and how you want to use it.
Our quality ranges of garden furniture, barbecue grills and garden accessories, at XS Stock make any garden feel complete.
Which outdoor furniture set is best for my garden?
Start by considering the function you’ve chosen for your garden.
Maybe you host simple gatherings or elaborate dinners and parties?
Plan your outdoor furniture to match your events.
A long table is perfect for family meals, whilst a few well placed side tables and chairs might be better for hosting cocktail parties or social meets.
If book reading in the great outdoors is your thing, then a sturdy and comfortable wooden armchair is a must.
Garden sets are an investment
At the risk of stating the obvious, when buying any outdoor furniture, you only get what you pay for.
It’s important to consider that good quality outdoor garden sets are worth the money in the long term. Budget for the best you can afford so there is no need to pay out again more quickly than expected.
If you want a garden set that is long lasting, it’s worth the extra cost.
Choose the right materials for your budget.
Choose a material that is right for you and where it will be used. If you understand the main types of materials used, you will make a more informed decision.
Plastic Garden Furniture
Ultra violet rays emanating from the sun, can break down and degrade certain plastics.
The degree of degradation depends on the plastic used and the amount of exposure.
Though certain plastics are affected by the sun’s rays, this may not be much of an issue if your garden set is positioned in a more shady area.
Study the descriptions of any garden furniture you are interested in to ensure the guarantees are adequate for their use.
Many plastic garden sets are manufactured to resemble the woven rattan wicker style of design for garden furniture.
• Plastic garden sets are usually the cheaper option in comparison with other materials.
• Generally lighter to carry, and easier to clean.
• More colours and shades available.
• Different designs are more easily achieved over natural materials.
• Certain points of a plastic garden set are weaker than their counterparts and therefore more liable to damage which is not easily repaired, if at all.
• Some are so light, they can be blown around the garden in a comparatively light breeze.
• Cheaper versions degrade quickly in the sun.
• The perceived value of plastic furniture is budget or cheap, even though some are more expensive than more natural products!
• Metal frames are often utilised which can be of inferior quality than the plastic itself.
Metal Garden Furniture
Principally, metal garden sets are either made in moulded heavy cast iron design, wrought iron, steel or aluminium.
Cast Iron lends itself primarily to ornate looking patio sets like tables and chairs. Due to their weight they are often placed permanently in a set area.
Wrought iron is predominantly used for garden benches and gates, as it can be shaped and is lighter than cast iron.
Wrought Iron Furniture
• Sturdy and can last a lifetime if built well.
• Great stability when left outside on windy days.
• Lots of different designs to choose between.
• Some more modern manufacturing designs make it relatively easy to assemble on site.
• Can be coupled with wood or plastics to make unique garden sets and benches.
• If poor quality, old or badly maintained, wrought iron rusts readily.
• Designs are often traditionally based compared to other materials.
• Some designs can be heavy and therefore hard to move if needed.
• Hot to touch in the Summer.
Cast Iron Furniture
• Traditional design, built to tried and tested tastes.
• Very heavy - should last a lifetime.
• Perceived high value due to weight and durability.
• Weight - just as much regarded as positive, in certain circumstances cast iron is too heavy to be ideal.
• Cast iron is prone to rust and should be treated with suitable primer and paints periodically.
• Generally the designs make seats uncomfortable over prolonged use without suitable cushioning.
• Hot to touch in the Summer.
Steel Garden Furniture
• Traditional and modern designs , built to tried and tested tastes.
• If stored and maintained properly, steel garden furniture should last a lifetime.
• Perceived high value due to weight and durability.
• Weight - just as much regarded as positive, in certain circumstances steel can be considered as too heavy.
• Steel is prone to rust and unless coated with a polymer or plate, and should be treated with suitable primer and paints periodically.
• Styles can make seats uncomfortable over prolonged use without suitable cushioning.
• Hot to touch in the Summer, though less so when coated.
Aluminium Garden Furniture
• Aluminium chairs and tables are commonplace in the garden environment due to their weight and comparative durability.
• Design flexibility of aluminium means many styles are possible, and as it is so lightweight, it is commonplace in garden sets.
• Cast aluminium is the most durable as it is a solid structure, but tubular aluminium is more often used.
• Aluminium is rust free and able to withstand many different weather conditions.
• Under certain load conditions, some aluminium garden furniture have weak points.
• Aluminium is not maintenance free as it can oxidise, stain and pit. A simple car wax is usually adequate to prevent this.
• High temperatures at times make the aluminium hot to the touch.
Wooden Garden Furniture
• Wooden garden sets and furniture, for the most part, are simple to maintain and to keep clean.
• As it is a natural product, wooden sets tend to blend more easily into a garden plan.
• There are many choices of finish from wax and oils, to painted. Some woods have natural rot inhibitors so can even be left bare.
• As wood can be turned and shaped well, more ergonomic and therefore comfortable seats can be made over certain other materials.
• Well chosen wooden garden sets are less harmful to the environment due to their sustainability.
• Generally perceived as a high end price (and quite possibly product for product, it is!)
• Regular cleaning and maintenance is needed to ensure your investment is well justified.
• Costs are normally greater for the same product in another material.
• Not as robust as some metal counterparts.
Rattan Garden Furniture
We're talking about poly-rattan furniture here. So not the real stuff. Real rattan furniture is very expensive and difficult to find in our experience. It comes with it's own pros and cons.
• Lightweight and resilient.
• It's weatherproof (we advise covering or storing it in the garage during winter though to prolong it's life).
• Good quality rattan furniture can outlast wood.
• Classic looks make it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
• Perceived as high quality.
• Furniture with aluminium frames are rust resistant.
• Easily maintained, just wipe clean.
• Some cheap versions sold by other retailers tend be poorly made.
• Any cushions need to be brought indoors in wet weather.
• Furniture may fade over time if exposed to continuous sun. We suggest you get a cover to avoid this.
Having learned a little more about the materials used in manufacturing outdoor furniture, personal preference and your budget will always determine your choice.
How many seats do I need?
The amount of seats you need will depend on your types of usual gatherings and the size of your available space.
If it’s a cozy get together for two then we recommend a small table and couple of chairs, with a parasol for shade.
Our Havana set fits the bill well.
Alternatively, you might use your garden later in the day as the sun begins to fall. In this case you might just sit and chat with a coffee (or whatever is your favourite drink), so a small occasional table will be adequate.
Our Lazio range is perfect for this too.
Maybe you might have friends around quite regularly and love the ambience of a garden conversation? Or you have small children with whom you like to share an early evening meal. A four seat set of outdoor furniture could be ideal here.
Consider your table shape as a round table often uses less space than a square or rectangular style.
For larger get togethers, consider extending tables and stackable chairs.
If you are fortunate enough to have a large garden, think about distinctive areas a more private secluded spot, and another for a more formal meal. If parties are your thing, you could spread different styles of chairs and side tables.
Maybe a set of outdoor armchairs well positioned would be the order of the day?
Whatever you choose, we are happy to help with your decision making and are sure to have something for you.
Extras for your garden sets and outdoor furniture
Parasols ought to be considered as an essential addition to your outdoor furniture.
With some ranges, it may already be included but if it isn’t, we do advise you budget for it.
You may soak up the sun every minute it is out, but your friends and family might need the shade!
We have a wonderful selection of parasols from stand alone to overhanging and cranked.
Parasols don’t only shade, they offer style and protection too.
Some ranges of chairs come supplied with fitted cushions, while others are regarded as extra due to colour choice or style. Check with your supplier.
Most outdoor chairs would prove a little uncomfortable without a well chosen cushion. Go for UV protected if you can, and better still if you can get removable covers to help clean them.
Generally, outdoor cushion covers are not designed for washing machines as they lose their fabric protection.
Obviously it’s better to bring your furniture indoors when you can, but covers are designed for when you can’t.
If you want your outdoor furniture to last year after year, a good quality cover is essential.
When you consider the different types of weather a garden set has to endure over the seasons, it stands to reason that any material will degrade over time.
If possible, do buy specialised fitted covers if you can as they are designed to fit properly.
If this isn’t feasible, try to buy one that fits the best. In any case, a poorly fitted cover is arguably better than none at all.
If you opt for wooden outdoor furniture, it’s highly likely you are recommended to periodically protect it with wood treatments of some nature.
Quite often, this will simply be an oil application with a lint free cloth or brush.
Varnishes, lacquers, and paints are other methods of outdoor furniture protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cushions included with my garden set?
This is dependant on the particular range of garden furniture you have chosen. Some of our ranges are supplied with cushions.
Often, our product information will tell you.
It’s best to email or call if you are unsure or there is not enough information in our description.
Should I choose a natural rattan or synthetic?
Real rattan is highly regarded for outdoor furniture sets. It is strong, looks beautiful, and the price reflects the amount of labour it takes to make.
There are drawbacks to rattan as it is easily damaged by rain, and direct sunlight.
If you intend to use rattan as your main outdoor seating, we advise that you store them indoors and do not leave them outside. This can be inconvenient, especially given the changeable weather we experience!
Synthetic rattan has improved in terms of realism over the years and good quality examples can be left outdoors without issue. There are inferior products which are more susceptible to heat and sunlight damage.
This is often reflected in the price of the furniture and the guarantees given. We advise you always ask about uv protection and warranty.
Will my rattan garden set fade?
This is a question that can’t easily be answered as it depends on so many factors. However, in general, all materials fade colours over time and some more quickly than others.
If you leave your furniture in direct sunlight throughout it’s life, you will see the changes when compared to a piece that hasn’t been exposed.
Get a waterproof cover to protect your furniture in all weather.
What are your guarantees?
We offer a 5 year guarantee with garden furniture sets. Learn more about this guarantee here.
Will my garden furniture come fully assembled?
This almost always depends on the items you have purchased. Check out the product information relative to the item you wish to purchase. If it isn’t clear to you, please contact us and we will clarify.
We will also amend the description to ensure this doesn’t reoccur.
Do you sell chairs and tables separately?
Sorry, we don’t sell chairs and tables separately for any of our complete garden sets.
Can my chairs be stacked?
In many instances, this is possible as it helps when covering the furniture. However, do check the design and if this is conditional of your acceptance of an order, we will be happy to check for you.
What are my delivery options?
We have a wide range of delivery options available. These include cheap standard delivery, next day or 48 hour express delivery and even guaranteed delivery on a Saturday.
We dispatch orders Monday to Friday. Orders for next day delivery must be placed before 2pm.
In some instances your can choose your preferred day for delivery at the time of purchase. Please contact us for more information about this.
If you have booked delivery for a particular day and are not available to receive the delivery at your property, a re-delivery charge will apply.
Where do you deliver?
Delivery is available to most postal areas in the UK and Northern Ireland, but unfortunately our service can sometimes be restricted by location or carrier availability.
Occasionally we cannot deliver certain products to outlying regions of the UK, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Scilly and the Channel Islands.
There are also a few postcode areas, mainly remote, rural areas, where we cannot guarantee delivery within our usual delivery times. For these areas please allow an additional day for delivery.
Please contact us if you have any further questions.
How will my item be delivered to me?
All garden furniture sets will be delivered on a pallet. This would be a kerb side delivery service and your item will not be delivered to a room or flat.
If you live in an upper floor flat or require the item in a specific location, please ensure you have the ability to move it yourself.
If you are unsure if your item falls within this category, please check our product information, or contact us.