When customers buy our garden and patio furniture, one of their important concerns is how to look after it during the winter months. While the last few winters have been relatively mild here in the UK, the weather can certainly turn less than settled at a moment’s notice.
To help, we’ve put together this comprehensive garden furniture winter care guide that covers most of the things you need to know.
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Winter Care and Your Garden Furniture
When it comes to furnishing your outdoor space, there are several types of garden furniture commonly bought in the UK. Each type has its own characteristics and understanding these is crucial for effective winter care that doesn’t give you sleepless nights.
Whenever you buy garden furniture, it’s important to also look at the general maintenance instructions that come with it and whether they fit with what you need.
Rattan Furniture: Wicker or rattan garden furniture is a popular choice for its natural and rustic appearance. It is generally made from woven natural materials, such as cane or bamboo as well as synthetic rattan.
- Vulnerabilities: Weakening, sagging, and mould growth.
- Cold and Wet Impact: Moisture can cause natural fibres in wicker/rattan furniture to weaken and become more susceptible to damage.
Wooden Furniture: This is a classic choice that adds a natural and timeless charm to your outdoor space and is very popular with our customers. Wooden garden furniture is appreciated for its aesthetic appeal, durability, and versatility. Common types used include teak, cedar, and eucalyptus.
- Vulnerabilities: Moisture absorption, rot, warping, cracking.
- Cold and Wet Impact: Exposure to cold and wet conditions can accelerate moisture-related issues and lead to structural damage.
Metal Furniture: Often made from materials like aluminium, steel, or wrought iron, metal offers a sleek and modern look. It’s known for its sturdiness and resistance to the elements.
- Vulnerabilities: Rust and corrosion.
- Cold and Wet Impact: Winter precipitation and moisture can promote rust formation on metal surfaces.
Plastic Furniture: This is lightweight, affordable, and easy to maintain and comes in various styles and colours to suit different tastes.
- Vulnerabilities: Fading, brittleness due to UV exposure.
- Cold and Wet Impact: While plastic furniture is generally resilient, prolonged exposure to moisture and freezing temperatures can affect its appearance and durability.
Being aware of the potential vulnerabilities of each type of garden furniture certainly raises the need for at least some tailored care during the winter months. In short, one size does not fit all when you’re protecting outdoor furniture.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the simple things you can do to help maintain your patio furniture over the winter months. It’s worth noting, however, that high-quality garden furniture has durability built in – the tips we’re offering here are designed to help you increase the lifespan of your furniture by maintaining it properly.
When Should You Start Preparing Your Garden Furniture for Winter?
Early Autumn (September-October) is the optimal time to start your pre-winter preparations. It allows you to complete the necessary tasks while the weather is still mild and dry and starting early ensures your furniture is ready for the first frost.
Before you store or cover your garden furniture for the winter, a thorough cleaning and maintenance routine is essential to protect it from the elements.
Inspecting for Damage and Addressing Any Issues:
- Examine your furniture for any signs of wear, damage, or loose parts.
- Check for splintered wood, loose screws, rust spots, or cracks.
- Repair or replace any damaged components to prevent further deterioration.
Wooden furniture requires special attention to withstand winter conditions, often depending on how old it is.
- Apply a quality wood preservative or sealant to protect against moisture and UV rays.
- Consider applying waterproof wood wax to create a protective barrier.
- Remove wooden furniture from grassy areas to prevent moisture absorption from the soil.
Metal furniture is susceptible to rust, especially in wet and cold conditions. You can protect it with these steps:
- Clean the metal surfaces thoroughly to remove any existing rust or debris.
- Apply a rust-resistant primer and a coat of outdoor metal paint for added protection.
- Reapply paint or oil as needed, especially before winter and after the winter season.
Plastic furniture is relatively low maintenance, but it still requires care to prevent mildew and fading:
- Wipe down the surfaces with a mixture of water and mild detergent.
- Use a plastic-safe UV protectant to prevent fading from sun exposure.
- Store plastic furniture away from direct sunlight if possible.
Rattan furniture needs gentle care to avoid weakening and mould growth:
- Remove dust and debris using a soft brush, cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- Wipe down with a solution of water and mild detergent, taking care not to oversaturate the material.
- Consider applying a recommended sealant for added protection.
By following these pre-winter preparation steps, you can ensure that your garden furniture is in the best possible condition to withstand the cold and wet conditions of the upcoming winter season. This proactive approach should also help extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture and keep it looking great for years to come.Top of Form
Protecting Outdoor Cushions
Outdoor cushions play a vital role in enhancing the comfort and aesthetics of your garden furniture and caring for them is a separate job which should be thought about all year around not just during the winter.
To ensure your outdoor garden furniture cushions remain in excellent condition, it’s essential to establish a cleaning routine and prevent mildew growth:
- Remove cushions from the furniture and gently shake them to dislodge loose dirt and debris.
- Use a soft brush or cloth to wipe away surface dust and grime.
- Prepare a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, then scrub the cushions with a sponge or soft brush.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove soap residue.
- Allow cushions to air dry completely before returning them to the furniture.
To prevent mildew growth, especially over winter, ensure your cushions are completely dry before storing them. If mildew does develop, use a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to gently clean the affected areas.
If you have the space, store your cushions indoors in a dry and temperature-controlled environment, such as a garage, attic or basement. Ensure the cushions are completely dry before storing to prevent mould and mildew. Store away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
You might also want to invest in weatherproof storage containers designed for outdoor cushions, especially if you’re putting them somewhere like a garden shed.
Should I Cover My Garden Furniture?
Covering your garden furniture during the winter months offers a range of benefits that help preserve its condition and extend its lifespan:
- Furniture covers shield your outdoor pieces from rain, snow, sleet, and harsh UV rays, preventing damage caused by exposure to the elements.
- They keep dust, leaves, and other debris from settling on your furniture, reducing the need for frequent cleaning.
- For metal furniture, in particular, covers serve as a barrier against moisture, minimizing the risk of rust and corrosion.
- By protecting from weather-related wear and tear, covers extend the lifespan of your outdoor garden furniture, saving you money in the long run.
Selecting the appropriate covers for your garden furniture is crucial to ensure effective protection. Here are just a few things to consider:
- Obviously ensure that the covers you choose are the right size and shape to fully encase your furniture. Covers that are too small won’t provide adequate protection, while oversized covers can be cumbersome and allow more moisture to get in.
- Go for high-quality, weather-resistant materials such as polyester, vinyl, and other waterproof fabrics. These materials are durable and provide reliable protection against moisture.
- Some covers come with ventilation panels or vents to allow airflow, preventing the buildup of moisture and mildew underneath the cover.
- A good cover should have secure fastening mechanisms, such as drawstrings, buckles, or straps, to keep them in place, especially during windy conditions.
Properly covering your garden furniture ensures effective protection during the winter. The better you can do it, the less you’ll feel the need to check your furniture to make sure it is fully covered over the winter:
Clean and dry the furniture thoroughly before covering and place cushions and other accessories in storage or use waterproof cushion covers. Cover the entire garden furniture piece, ensuring a snug fit and use drawstrings or straps to secure the cover in place, preventing it from blowing away.
Windy conditions can pose a challenge to keeping your furniture covers in place. Drawstrings and straps can come loose over time so it’s worth checking quickly if there’s a winter storm on the horizon. Here are some quick tips:
- Use weighted objects or sandbags to anchor the covers at the bottom to prevent them from lifting.
- Fasten any drawstrings, straps, or buckles tightly to secure the cover.
- Consider using extra furniture clips or bungee cords to hold the cover in place.
- If strong winds are expected, you can add extra protection by placing heavy items on top of the covers to keep them from blowing away.
Indoor Garden Furniture Storage Considerations for the Winter
Indoor storage for your garden furniture becomes necessary under specific circumstances:
Extreme Weather: If you live in an area with severe winter weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, or ice storms, indoor storage is highly recommended to prevent potential damage to your furniture.
Limited Winter Use: If you don’t plan to use your garden furniture during the winter months, storing it indoors can certainly help prolong its lifespan and maintain its appearance.
High-Value Furniture: Expensive furniture pieces deserve the extra protection of indoor storage to ensure their long-term preservation.
Of course, one of the issues that many customers might have is the space available. Sofa garden furniture sets, for example, are fairly bulky and finding a bit of storage space can be difficult.
Storing garden furniture indoors, therefore, requires careful planning and preparation to make the most of your available space.
- Before moving your furniture indoors, clean it thoroughly to remove dirt, grime, and any potential contaminants. Ensure that it’s completely dry to prevent mould or mildew growth during storage.
- If your furniture is modular or has removable components, consider disassembling it to save space and make storage more manageable.
- Even when storing furniture indoors, consider using covers to protect it from dust and scratches. Covers also help keep components together.
- If space is limited, stack chairs and tables vertically to maximize floor space. You might even consider using wall-mounted brackets or hooks to hang smaller or lighter pieces.
- If you have cushions, store them separately in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and potential odours.
- Whenever possible, store garden furniture in a climate-controlled environment to maintain stable temperature and humidity levels. Avoid storing furniture in damp basements or humid garages, for example. Of course, this is not always possible.
Indoor storage provides the highest level of protection for your garden furniture, ensuring that it remains in excellent condition and ready for use when warmer weather returns. Consider your specific climate and the value of your furniture as well as the space you have when deciding on indoor storage for the winter.
Regular Garden Furniture Maintenance During Winter
Even though garden furniture is typically less active during the winter months, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance to ensure its longevity and readiness for the upcoming spring.
Regular inspections help you catch and address issues before they escalate into more significant problems, ultimately saving you time and money on repairs or replacements.
Maintaining your furniture ensures it remains in good condition, extending its lifespan and allowing you to enjoy it for many seasons to come.
- Check Structural Integrity: Ensure that all joints, screws, and connections are secure. Tighten any loose screws or fasteners to maintain the furniture’s stability.
- Examine Surfaces: Look for signs of wear, cracks, or peeling paint on wooden and metal furniture. Address these issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.
- Inspect the Upholstery: If you have cushions or fabric elements, check for tears, mildew, or mould. Clean or repair cushions as needed.
- Assess Coatings: If you applied protective coatings before winter, examine them for wear or damage. Consider reapplying these coatings if they have worn off.
Spring Revival for Your Garden Furniture
As winter gives way to the arrival of spring, it’s time to prepare your garden furniture for the upcoming season of outdoor enjoyment. Here’s how to revive and refresh your outdoor pieces:
- Determine which pieces of furniture you want to use and where you want to place them in your outdoor space.
- If you’ve stored your furniture indoors or in a weatherproof location during the winter, retrieve it and bring it back to your outdoor area.
- Ensure that all components of your furniture, such as cushions, fasteners, or accessories, are accounted for and in good condition.
- Choose a suitable day for cleaning and refreshing your furniture if it needs it, preferably when the weather is mild and dry.
Cleaning and rejuvenating your garden furniture, especially if it has been out in the open over the winter months, is essential. You’ll certainly want to remove any winter grime as you prepare for the spring season.
Start by removing dust, dirt, and debris from the surfaces of your furniture. Use a soft brush, cloth, or a mild detergent solution as needed. If you stored cushions or fabric elements separately, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow them to air dry completely.
For heavily soiled furniture, consider a deeper cleaning process. Wooden furniture can be gently sanded to remove stains or uneven surfaces, while metal furniture can benefit from a rust remover and re-painting if necessary.
If your furniture requires it, reapply protective coatings such as sealants or paint. This step will help safeguard your furniture against the upcoming season’s wear and tear. Again, pick a dry spell and a nice day to do this as you need to leave time for sealants to dry.
Shine up any metal or glass components and polish wooden surfaces to enhance their appearance.
If you checked your furniture before winter set in, it’s just as important to have a closer look at it in the spring, especially if you haven’t used it at all and its been undercover in the garden.
- Check the stability and structural integrity of each piece. Tighten screws, bolts, or fasteners as needed to ensure stability.
- For wooden furniture, closely examine the surfaces for any cracks, splinters, or signs of rot. Repair or replace damaged parts to prevent further deterioration.
- Inspect metal furniture for any signs of rust or corrosion that may have occurred over the winter. Remove rust with a wire brush and apply rust-resistant paint or coatings.
- Address any tears, fraying, or damage to cushions or fabric elements. Sew up small tears or consider replacing cushions or covers if necessary.
- For rattan furniture, check the woven material for signs of weakening or unravelling. Repair any loose or damaged sections.
Using Your Garden Furniture During Winter
While winter is traditionally a time when outdoor living takes a back seat, there are still ways to make the most of your garden furniture during the colder months. This is something that is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, whether it’s for a Halloween shindig or a get-together at Christmas.
Actually, using your garden furniture during the winter months not only allows you to get the best out of it, it also helps keep up with the maintenance. One of our top tips is to dust off those covers when you get a mild spot in the weather. You can add a little warmth with an outdoor heater and have a great evening under the stars.
Here are our top tips:
- Go for garden furniture that is designed for year-round use. Look for materials like teak, aluminium, or all-weather wicker that can withstand winter conditions without extensive damage.
- Consider adding outdoor heating elements such as patio heaters, fire pits, or chimineas to your outdoor space. These really can provide warmth and create a cosy atmosphere for winter gatherings.
- Make your outdoor seating more comfortable in winter by adding warm accessories like outdoor blankets, weather-resistant cushions, and thermal seat covers.
- Position your garden furniture in a way that takes advantage of natural sunlight and provides shelter from the wind. Use walls, fences, or screens to create windbreaks and enhance comfort.
- Continue to maintain and protect your garden furniture over the winter. Regular cleaning and care ensure that your furniture remains functional and attractive, and this is much easier if you are still using it during the winter.
- Finally, keep an eye on weather forecasts and plan your outdoor activities accordingly. Be prepared to move your furniture indoors or cover it if severe weather is expected.
Low Maintenance, High-Quality Garden Furniture UK
While it’s not the only thing you will think about when buying garden furniture for your home or business, maintenance needs to be taken seriously. While most top-end furniture sets have a lot of durability built into them, regular maintenance can certainly increase their lifespans. This is great because it saves you money and should make your furniture set more valuable if you should choose to eventually sell it.
If you are thinking of a garden or patio set, now is a great time to buy. You can order your luxury sofa or bistro set today and have it delivered straight to your door.
At gardenfurniture.co.uk, you can shop all the best brands online and buy from the comfort of your own home. We have one of the biggest selections available in the UK today which gives you a whole lot of choices.
All our furniture sets come with clear instructions on how to maintain them all year round, including over the winter. We can deliver free to almost anywhere in the UK and stock brands such as Kettler, Bramblecrest, Hartman and Supremo.
Want to find out more? Visit our online store today.