The Ultimate Guide to Making an Outdoor Room: Part Two – Garden Furniture

In the second part of our blog on the essential ways you can make an outdoor entertaining space in your garden, we will be focusing on garden furniture.

In Part One we looked at different types of garden structures which create an entertaining space with shade or shelter in the garden.

In ‘The Landform Spring Garden’ for the Ascot Spring Garden Show, Catherine MacDonald has chosen a minimal but elegant furniture set called Levity, from Hampshire-based outdoor furniture designers and craftsmen, Gaze Burvill. Catherine is a big fan of the style and quality of Gaze Burvill’s furniture and has collaborated with them on many projects.

Levity, a dining furniture collection, designed by Gaze Burvill

Hand assembled from sustainable oak, their pieces are comfortable, tactile and timeless in design. Simple and modern, Levity is one of their latest dining ranges and showcases state-of-the-art furniture manufacturing techniques. It is beautifully designed to suit smaller spaces, and will be the perfect for entertaining guests in an ‘outdoor room’.

Here are Catherine’s top tips to consider when selecting garden furniture:

1. Size

As we’ve mentioned in Part One of our guide, typically garden furniture tends to be larger than indoor furniture. If you are opting for a family dining area, make sure you have enough space around the table to allow people to circulate and to sit comfortably.

If you have a small to medium sized patio area, consider choosing a four-seater table for an intimate, cosy arrangement. Alternatively choosing bench seating might be a good choice if space is limited.

The RHS Chelsea Flower 2013 Homebase Garden, designed by Adam Frost, constructed by Landform. Photo by Steve Wooster.

2. Purpose & Type

Before you choose the style of your furniture, you need to consider the purpose or function of your garden room: whether it’s to be dining space, a lounge area, or even multi-functional.

For a family dining area, a round or rectangular table arrangement could be chosen and, depending on space, chairs with or without arms might be selected, such as “Chancery Chairs” or “May Throne”, both by Gaze Burvill.

When considering a lounge area, an arrangement of arm chairs or sofas might include a small coffee table or ottoman. Another option could be to have a firepit or outdoor fireplace as a central focus. In big schemes with swimming pools, the choice of furniture may involve sun loungers and parasols.

South West London Garden, designed by Luciano Guibbilei, constructed by Landform. Photo by Steve Wooster.

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2017 The Urban Rain Garden, designed by Rhiannon Williams, constructed by Landform.

3. Style & Materials

Whether you opt for dining or lounge furniture, there are still many different styles on offer.

Garden furniture, whether classic or contemporary in style, is made in a range of different materials including wood, metal, plastic, fabric and rattan. It’s usually a good idea for the choice of style and material to reflect the overall design ethos of the garden or to be sympathetic to any furniture inside the house if it’s close by. Gaze Burvill, for example, have beautiful hand assembled wooden pieces in a traditional style, like Cloisters and Splash, but they also have the simple, modern ranges, Levity and Bowline, which are made from a combination of different materials.

Here are just a few examples of different styles we’ve used in our gardens.

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2017 The Urban Rain Garden, designed by Rhiannon Williams, constructed by Landform. Photo by Marianne Majerus.

A Gaze Burvill Border seat as seen in RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Massachusetts Garden designed by Catherine MacDonald and Susannah Hunter. Photo by Steve Wooster.

 

4. Accessories

Just like an indoor room, all garden furniture can be accessorised with different cushions and covers, using an array of various waterproof and water resistant fabrics, suitable for use in changeable weather. Pouffes, ottoman and outdoor beanbags can be used to enhance a layout as well as offering alternative seating ideas. There are even outdoor rugs available to choose from. There are so many attractive possibilities to consider when adding the finishing touches to your outdoor room.

Left: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 Australia Garden, designed by Jim Fogarty. Right: RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Landform Garden, designed by Catherine MacDonald. Both constructed by Landform. Photos by Steve Wooster.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010 Children’s Society Garden, designed by Mark Gregory, constructed by Landform. Photo by Steve Wooster.

For inspiration about Garden Structures, see Part One of our Ultimate Guide to Making an Outdoor Room.