PATIO AND GARDEN FURNITURE GUIDE
Patio Tables and Chairs, Umbrellas, and More: So Many Choices
Make a PlanAs in most endeavors, making a plan will usually save you some time and money, since you'll have an idea ahead of time what you are looking for and will be less likely to impulse buy something that won't really be right for you. We suggest making a rough sketch of the area you want to put furniture in, whether it's in your yard or on your deck or patio. Stand in your yard, patio or on your deck with your pencil and paper and look around; you'll get a good feel for what will fit, and how many pieces will fit there. If a picnic table and chairs or benches are part of your plan, where will they fit the best? What type of picnic table and chairs are you looking for? What about other chairs? Where will they go, and what type of chairs are you most interested in? And most importantly, how much money can you spend on your outdoor furniture purchases? Once you have answered these questions and have decided on where this furniture will be placed, how much furniture you'll be buying, and how much money you are willing to spend, you are ready to look at the types of furniture that is available.
Patio and Garden Furniture Choices
One of your first purchases may be a table and chairs, especially if you'll be barbecuing and eating outdoors. Table choices include aluminum and wrought iron; woods such as oak, teak, and white cedar. All patio and garden furniture should be weather-resistant. You'll find many choices in table styles, such as round or oval, square or rectangular, and even octagon. There are various size ranges, from 2-person tables and those accomodating six or more people. As for chairs, you'll find quite a variety there as well, and if you purchase a set, you'll be assured of matching chairs and table.
You'll probably want some extra seating, just chairs or lounges, for example. You can go really cheap and pick up those stackable plastic chairs from your local Target or Walmart, or you can opt for something a little nicer, such as aluminum, wrought iron, wicker, or wooden chairs and lounges. And if you are setting these out in your yard or you have a large patio or deck to furnish, consider a couple of small tables to add to the group of chairs, so guests have a place to set their drinks or dishes. These also come in aluminum, wrought iron or wood, and if you're on a budget or don't care if these little tables aren't fancy, you can buy stackable small plastic tables to go with the plastic chairs. You'll probably want some cushions to go with these chairs, which are also available wherever fine patio furniture is sold.
If your patio isn't covered, or if you are setting your table in the yard, a patio umbrella might come in handy on those hot summer days. If your table is made with a hole in the center, it's just begging for a patio umbrella to be inserted in that hole. Umbrella styles include an offset style--allowing you to tilt your umbrella to avoid the sun, aluminum umbrellas, and wood umbrellas--goes nicely with your wood patio furniture. These should also be available wherever you find other furniture pieces. Other types of patio and garden furniture to consider include slider and swinging chairs or loveseats, and hammocks. There's probably more choices for your consideration than you can even imagine.
Sources and Prices
Here are a few sources we've found for patio furniture, including price ranges for the types of furniture offered. As always, there's more than we can even begin to cover in this area.
PatioWholesale.com has a great selection of patio and garden furniture. In dining sets alone you can find price ranges from $269 for a 6-piece set which includes a 35" round steel frame table, 4 chairs and even an umbrella; to a 7-piece (table & six chairs) rust-free cast aluminum set for about $1500. Shipping was free at the time we researched this article.
PatioFurnitureUSA offers dining sets in aluminum and wrought iron, wicker, wood, teak and recycled pastic; many styles and sizes of patio tables; umbrellas, accessories such as gazebos, fountains and patio heaters; and cushions and covers too. Target: Most everyone has a Target store in their area, and we've seen some pretty nice patio furniture at our local stores. Prices are pretty reasonable, too. You can get a small 5-piece (table & four chairs) from the Windsor line for around $300. It's a powder-coated steel set. For $850 or so, you can purchase a 7-piece set (table and 6 chairs) made of aluminum. The table is glass-topped, has a center hole for an umbrella, and measures 42" wide by 72" long. Chairs are padded. They carry other pieces which are sold separately. Some sets are only available online, so if you don't see what you want at your local store, check their web site.
Walmart is another source for discount patio furniture. For about $300 you can pick up a 6-piece wood patio set made by Delahey. An expandable 59" x 36" table, 4 chairs and a bench round out the set, and you can purchase an umbrella (about $100) and chair cushions (also $100) separately. Or, go up in price a bit and for about $700 you can have a 7-piece aluminum/wicker set--a 62" x 37" table and six chairs which are already padded. You can also pick up other pieces which are sold separately.
Other local and online sources include Lowe's and Home Depot. As we said before, there are more furniture choices, prices, and dealers than we can even begin to cover in this article. Use these suggestions as a starting point, and if you don't see what you want or can afford, feel free to branch out to other sources. Enjoy your new patio furniture!