What is the best metal garden furniture?

Bramblecrest Mauritius Garden Lounge Set

We are all now spending more time in our outside spaces whether that is relaxing on our own in our outdoor oasis or entertaining friends and family. We are increasingly discovering that garden furniture is a great way to dress up a terrace, express yourself in the garden, or make your own stamp on the backyard.

Why does metal make great garden furniture?

Because of metal’s strength it is a versatile material which is suited to a variety of styles of furniture. Metal is strong enough to create thinner and more complex designs that are not possible with other outdoor furniture materials. It can also be used differently to create more chunky weighty items. Metal has always been popular for outdoor furniture, but new design and construction approaches have seen its popularity soar recently.

What does metal come from?

Pure metals are found naturally in the Earth’s crust. A lot of energy and expense goes into extracting metals from the solid material or ores in which they are found. The extraction processes which metals undergo can include:

  • Crushing the raw minerals
  • Heating to high temperatures
  • Floating metals to the top of a water bath
  • Filtering out impurities
  • Breaking down some chemical bonds using electrical current

Australia and Brazil are currently the world’s leading iron ore extractors.

What is the best metal garden furniture - furnace 450x450

As you can see from the list above, it is not a straightforward process to extract metals, but the result is worth the journey, due to their many properties which makes them perfect for garden furniture.

What types of metal are used in garden furniture?

Iron – iron is the most common naturally-occurring metal. It is estimated that nearly a third of the planet’s mass is made up of iron. When iron is used for garden furniture, it is normally painted to help it weather the elements. It can be used in a variety of garden furniture, but tends to be used for more traditional items. Iron garden furniture is quite heavy, so is great for windy locations, but is not as corrosion resistant as other metals.

Narbonne Iron Bistro Set is ideal for one or two people

Steel – Steel is iron to which carbon has been added to make it more durable. The steel used in garden furniture is generally of two types.

Galvanised or electroplated steel – a zinc coating is added to the steel sheets before working. This protects the steel from corrosion and water damage. The Kettler classic mesh range is steel powder coasted with a process called Cathodic Dip Coating (CDC). Dipped in 5 stages, then covered with Thermoguard Plus Coating, this makes the furniture 7 times stronger than painted steel, water-tight and tough.

Stainless steel – Stainless steel is made by adding chromium to molten steel. This produces a high-density alloy which is difficult to dent and which is very effective at surviving all weathers. Stainless steel is good at resisting rust, corrosion, water damage and even salt water, leading to its wide use in the marine industry. It is also easy to clean. Stainless steel is expensive to produce, but worth it due its strength and suitability for a range of applications.

Café Roma Bistro Set with Sage seat pads in garden

Aluminium – Around 1.4% of the Earth’s crust is made from Aluminium. It is a very appropriate material for garden furniture as it is light weight, durable, low maintenance and doesn’t rust. Aluminium can also be powder coated which can add colour and help protect it against scratches. Powder coating is superior to painting as it adheres better to the metal and doesn’t fade in UV light.

Eight things to consider when buying the best metal furniture

1. Durability: High quality garden furniture made from metal is incredibly heard wearing. Iron has a reputation for corrosion, but if it is treated with care it can last a long time. Powder coated aluminium is highly durable and can keep its finish for up to 40 years. Stainless steel furniture that is 60 years old will look brand new once it is cleaned.

2. Warranty: When manufacturers of metal furniture offer excellent warranties on their products, you can be confident that you are buying a high quality product.

3. Construction: There are three main common types of manufacturing process for outdoor furniture

  • Tubing – made by pushing molten aluminium into tubular moulds
  • Casting – made by heating up aluminium to 660 degrees centigrade and pouring it into a mould (or cast) to cool and harden
  • Wrought – wrought is an old-fashuioned term for worked. The hot metal is hammered and bent into shape by skilled craftspeople

4. Colour: Metal garden furniture is supplied in a wide range of finishes, from painted iron for a rustic feel to powder coated aluminium in black, bronze, maize, or grey and the clean-looking finish of stainless steel.

Capri 8 Seat Rectangular Dining Set Bronze lifestyle 450x450
Hartman Capri Bronze 8 Seat Rectangular Dining Set with Parasol & Base
Toulouse Mosaic Bistro Set
Toulouse Mosaic Bistro Set
Nevada Lava Mini Corner Lounge Set by LIFE
LIFE Nevada Lava Mini Corner Lounge Set

5. Designs:

Classical garden furniture designs are popular as they match well with older houses and look great with traditional garden designs. If you favour a more traditional approach to garden design then look no further than the metal outdoor furniture, with black, bronze, or maize finishes by a high quality company such as Hartman. They make a feature of the complicated patterns that metal can be made in. Hartman’s ranges feature bistro sets, lounge sets, dining sets and benches.

If you love the appeal of romantic-styled iron garden furniture that recalls sun-soaked holiday destinations, then you’ll enjoy our colourful tiled bistro sets which make any outside space look chic. They can be folded for easy storage when not being used and are and perfect for a terrace, patio or small space.

The hot trend for bringing the inside outside has seen the development of outdoor furniture designs which reflect and compliment the look and feel of one’s indoor space. A quiet revolution is taking place in the garden, and outdoor furniture which emulates trends in indoor furniture is definitely having its moment in the sun right now.

Spearheading this movement is furniture which mixes new finishes and designs with more traditional materials for an up-to-date effect, such as lounge sets and dining sets with chunky, powder coated, aluminium frames mixed with the softening warmth of materials like wood, rope, rattan and upholstered seat cushions.

Contemporary furniture also explores new approaches, such as modular arrangements which offers flexible seating that you can tailor to your own individual needs, or additional accessories such as stools, side tables or fire pits which emit a warm glow to keep you toasty on cold Summer evenings. For inspiration look at our dining sets, lounge sets, pergolas and matching parasols from LIFE Outdoor Living, Hartman Garden Furniture, Bramblecrest, 4 Seasons Outdoor (4SO) and Supremo Leisure.

6. Cushions – One of the drawbacks of metal furniture is that it can heat up in the sun (yes, even in the UK), or be cold to sit on. For this reason, a bistro set or chair might benefit from the addition of one of our outdoor seat pads. These are designed to fit many standard sizes of metal furniture and come in a wide array of colours. One of the many benefits of these pads that they are double-sided so that if one side gets dirty, they can just be flipped over. Many metal lounge and dining sets will feature seat pads for comfort, but they can be accessorised with outdoor scatter cushions to create additional comfort and colourful interest.

7. Adding to it: Buying metal garden furniture from an established range of a high-quality garden furniture company means that should you wish; you are able to add another item from the same range at a later date and because of the quality assurance programmes in operation you can be confident that the colours and quality will match what you already own.  

8. Covers: Most metal furniture will be able to weather most climatic eventualities, but it is recommended to use covers to protect metal garden furniture from garden grime or minor scuffs, nicks and scratches that can occur outdoors. It is a good idea to cover or store iron furniture during inclement weather to deter corrosion.

4SO Lisboa 6 Seat Dining Set in Anthracite with Louvre Table 1200x600
4SO Lisboa 6 Seat Dining Set in Anthracite with Louvre Table

Metal garden furniture makes a great addition to any outdoor space and the best examples are prized for their longevity and clean sleek lines. The best metal garden furniture will perform well for many years to come, be supplied with a good warranty and in colours and designs which reflect the style you are aiming to create in your outdoor space. For more information on other materials used in garden furniture, visit our blog: What are the best materials for high quality outdoor furniture?

Whatever style of metal outdoor furniture you decide upon, if you have any questions or queries at all, then don’t hesitate to visit our Outdoor Living Team instore at Gates Garden Centre, contact us on 01664 454309, or shop online for delivery or collection from our Leicestershire store.

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