Raindrops keep falling on… your garden furniture?

 Photography courtesy of    Alexander Rose

Photography courtesy of Alexander Rose

Outdoor furniture has never been as popular as we look to extend our lounge/dining space at home; either in an open plan kitchen scheme or into the great outdoors.  Beautiful furniture comes in all shapes, sizes and materials and there are no limits to outdoor designs – they are, by nature, for fun, relaxing times so you can let your imagination run wild. 

After finding the perfect look, the last thing you want is for the furniture to be damaged by the elements; you want it to last for years so follow some simple tips.

How do I measure for garden furniture covers?

Whether you’ve got garden table and chairs, a large L-shaped garden corner sofa, or a continental-style bistro dining set, there’s a perfect cover out there for you.

If you are planning to stack your garden chairs, you can purchase “tall furniture” covers. These will allow you to save space if storing your furniture in a garage or shed over the winter. However, it may cause extra work if you are covering your furniture each night. Alternatively, you can tuck the chairs under the table and source a cover that adequately fits over the full outdoor dining set which allows for easier covering and uncovering but may limit your options for indoor storage.

Once you have decided how to store your garden furniture, you will need to measure the height, width, and length of all of the pieces that will need covering. 

What protection do I need?

The best material for your covers will depend on the type of furniture that you have. You should also take into account the climate where you live – is sun the main risk, or are blustering gales and high winds your greater concern? 

Many garden furniture covers are waterproof as standard whilst some also offer full UV-protection. Plastic furniture’s biggest nemesis is the sun; UV damage can warp it.  Conversely, water does little damage to plastic and it can generally withstand wetter weather under a cover that isn’t completely waterproof. Therefore, invest in garden furniture covers that offer, above all else, good UV protection.

If your furniture is wood, wicker, rattan or metal, you’ll want covers that offer complete waterproofing. UV can damage each of these types of garden furniture too so, if you’re unable to find a cover in a budget that offers both, make sure to store your furniture outside of direct sunlight in order to ensure longevity.

How do I cover and store my garden furniture?

Depending on your furniture and the weather in your area, you may want to cover your furniture each night. As a general rule though, covering is only necessary when heavy rain is expected and when putting the furniture away for the winter.

Firstly, all cushions should be removed from your garden furniture. Ideally, these would be stored within your house to make sure they’re kept at room temperature and not allowed to develop mildew. If you must store them in a shed, make sure to cover these with a bag but allow fresh airflow so that the fabric can breathe.

You should take the time to thoroughly clean and dry your furniture before covering it and storing it for a prolonged period of time. Dirt or moisture trapped under the cover can quickly turn to stains and mildew.

Once your furniture is clean, dry, and covered, you can decide how best to store it. A shed or garage is ideal. Ensure there is space around the furniture pieces to allow for fresh air flow and protection against mildew. If this option isn’t feasible, tuck your covered garden furniture away, on stones or bricks, in a sheltered spot so that it doesn’t get too harshly beaten by the elements.

By investing in good quality, appropriate covers, you can protect your cherished garden furniture as you would the pieces in your home. 

kevin carvill