If you’re looking forward to a little al fresco dining this summer, now is the time to sort out your garden furniture. With a bit of effort and elbow grease, old garden furniture can be given a new lease of life and new garden furniture can be kept in good condition.
Not only will a bit of TLC make your outdoor dining space look more enticing, it will help to make your dining furniture last longer too.
Here are our tips on how to care for wooden and metal garden furniture - and it’s surprisingly simple. So, get yourself organised, set aside a couple of hours to work on your furniture and then you can enjoy lazy afternoon barbeques or relaxing after-work dinners in the beauty of your garden whenever the sun shines.
Caring for wooden garden furniture
If you have a table and chairs made from wood, you’ll need to give your furniture a bit of care and attention at the start of each summer to keep it in good condition. You don’t need to go over the top, after all, wooden furniture tends to ‘weather’ with age and look more beautiful for it.
Begin by cleaning your wooden garden furniture with either hot soapy water or a specially-designed hardwood cleaning fluid which you can buy from Homebase, B&Q or your local garden centre. For really ground-in dirt, give it a light sanding after cleaning but remember to brush away any dust before painting or oiling.
While some wooden furniture will be sufficiently robust to clean with a pressure washer, we wouldn’t advise it – you don’t want to risk damage.
When your furniture is clean, you can either paint it, stain it or oil it.
When painting it, you don’t have to stick to the original colour of the wood, of course. Choose a paint in a bright blue, a neutral grey or a sparkling white to bring a fresh new look to your garden. Expect to apply 2 – 3 coats. A good quality outdoor furniture paint should last 2 – 3 years with regular cleaning.
Alternatively, you can stain the wood to a shade of your choice. There are dozens of wood stain colours to choose from in dark, medium and light tones, it’s down to personal preference. Again, expect to apply at least two coats.
If you like the natural colour of your furniture but want to protect the wood, then opt for an oil. You’ll need to apply a couple of coats and allow around 48 hours for the oil to dry.
Caring for metal garden furniture
If your garden furniture is made of metal, a good clean with hot, soapy water should be all it takes to bring it back to life.
Aluminium garden furniture can change colour over time. The only way to prevent or reduce this is to clean it regularly, and either store it away or keep it fully covered during the winter months.
If you have steel furniture, watch out for rusting. If you spot any rust, rub it away with steel wool or clean away with a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar (1 part lemon juice to 10 parts vinegar). Once the rust is gone, you can use an exterior metal paint to cover the affected area.
If rust has already set in, remove it using some steel wool, then touch up the affected area using an exterior metal paint of the same colour.
Styling your outdoor table
Once you’ve done the maintenance work on your outdoor furniture, it’s time to make it look pretty! Browse your local garden centre for some attactive tea lights which you can use as the sun goes down.
Buy a little vase and add a few blooms from your own garden and invest in some colourful placemats to make the table look enticing before dinner.
And treat yourself to a new wipe clean tablecloth, of course! All of our PVC tablecloths are suitable for use outdoors and you can even have a parasol hole for the perfect fit. Plus, we can cut your tablecloth to suit the size and shape of your outdoor table – round, oval, rectangle or square.