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The best outdoor dining sets for eating al fresco this summer

Find the perfect furniture for your garden with our guide to the best outdoor dining sets, including expert advice on what materials to look out for and some top tips on maintenance and storage.

The best outdoor dining sets

An outdoor dining set is an essential purchase for every garden living space. Perfect for hosting a BBQ, eating a midweek meal outside or enjoying the flowers and plants in your garden, a comfortable set of table and chairs – along with outdoor cushions and an outdoor rug – will transform your outdoor space.

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If you’re in the market for a garden dining set, though, it’s worthwhile considering the material and design best suited to your space before parting with your money. Whether you opt for a hardwood, metal or rattan dining set, it’s a sensible idea to properly weigh up the pros and cons of each material first.

To help you find the perfect outdoor dining set for your home, The Recommended spoke to a garden stylist to get their advice on what materials you should consider, including some top tips for maintaining and looking after your outdoor garden furniture, as well as how to store it properly during the winter. In line with these recommendations, we’ve pulled together a list of the best outdoor dining sets to buy online.

Jump to the best outdoor dining sets:

Our garden design expert

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Peter Reader is an RHS award-winning garden designer who studied at the prestigious KLC School of Design. Peter spent 12 years working as a full-time GP and ten years as a medical director before changing careers to follow his passion for horticulture and design. Peter believes “space has its own unique atmosphere”, and as the designer, it is his job to work with clients to deliver the garden they desire in a way that realises a space’s full potential.

What are the best materials for outdoor furniture?

According to Peter, the most common materials used for outdoor furniture are hardwoods, metals – such as aluminium, stainless or galvanised steel – and artificial rattan, which can withstand wet weather and temperature variations as the season’s change. “Plastic furniture is also an option,” says Peter, “but in my experience, it is not very strong and quickly becomes tired-looking as it ages.

How to choose the best garden furniture for your outside space

Peter says that in judging the quality of outdoor furniture, it is worthwhile considering the qualities and practicalities of the material it’s made from:

  • The style and look of the furniture: Hardwood furniture is “generally quite traditional and chunky in its design, and therefore works well in traditional-looking gardens or more rustic settings”, he says. Rattan can deliver a similar look, Peter adds, but can also work in a “clean-lined modern space”. Alternatively, metal furniture tends to have a “modern and lighter appearance”, which he says can work well in more contemporary garden spaces.
  • How functional is it?: Hardwood furniture and some solid metal furniture can be quite heavy, so Peter advises that you consider the weight of the furniture carefully if you plan to move it around a lot. “Personally, I find heavy chairs or chairs are rather annoying and therefore less relaxing to use,” he says. “Similarly, if you are thinking of using the furniture both inside and outside, make sure that the materials and style work in both situations.”
  • Robustness in use: Hardwood, metal and artificial rattan garden furniture should all cope with being in a garden setting, but it’s worth considering how their appearance will change over time. “For example, hardwood will silver in colour and the grain will split a little over time, whereas metals (particularly aluminium) will retain their new appearance for much longer,” Peter explains.
  • Cushions and accessories: If your furniture comes with cushions, “can they be easily removed and stored in winter and how easy is it to wash them?” Peter asks. “There are also now many cushions and fabrics on the market that can be left out all summer as they allow the rain to effectively run through them, rather than soak it up. This means that they dry very quickly (20 minutes in the sun) and save having to bring them in when not in use. They are also usually very stain-resistant and easy to clean.”

How to maintain and look after outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture will almost always come with guidance from the manufacturer detailing how best to maintain it, so make a point of keeping any instructions safe when you first buy the furniture. For general advice on how to maintain and look after your outdoor furniture, Peter outlines the following:

  • Wood: Peter says you can either leave wooden furniture outside in all weathers and allow it to go silver or alternatively treat it every two to three years to retain its original colour and reduce cracking and ageing. This is a matter of personal preference. “For good hardwoods, there is no right or wrong here,” he says, “it depends on which look you prefer and whether you want the extra work of treating.”
  • Other materials: For metal and artificial rattan furniture, “there is generally little or no maintenance, but do try to prevent galvanised surfaces or chrome getting scratched or chipped”, says Peter, as this will allow rust to set in.
  • Winter: Regardless of the material of your garden furniture, Peter advises that you protect it from cold and wet weather in winter when you are not likely to use it by storing it properly.

How to store outdoor furniture during winter

In winter, cold and wet weather means frozen water and frost can easily damage the surfaces of your furniture, says Peter. While good quality furniture should be able to withstand these elements, it’s still a good idea to protect your furniture regardless.

A canvas or waterproof cover is a cheap but effective solution to protect the worst of inclement weather from damaging your furniture. “They are not the prettiest to look at,” he says, “but they can be quickly removed if you have a warm spring day and you wish to sit outside and prevent damp getting in that might then freeze.”

Inside storage is likely to be the best option, but be mindful of where you keep your furniture. A garden shed or even the house or conservatory is a good place to store furniture, says Peter, but “make sure it is not leaning against a radiator that might dry the wood out too much or warp its shape”. In a non-heated outside space, be aware of condensation. “In such environments, cushions can remain very damp and grow mould and algae, and canvas can rot,” he says.

The best outdoor dining sets

Best budget outdoor dining set: Outsunny 6 PCs Garden Patio Furniture Set

Lightweight and simple

1. Outsunny 6 PCs Garden Patio Furniture Set

This six-piece dining set is a minimalist option for those on a tight budget. Made from a mixture of metal, fabric and tempered glass, it includes four foldable seats, a small table and a parasol.

This outdoor dining set is made with powder-coated steel frames designed to provide strength and resistance during wet weather. The seats are finished with a textilene (synthetic) fabric, which is said to be easy to wipe clean. The circular table is topped with a 5mm-thick tempered glass.

Best wooden four-seater: BrackenStyle Devon Hardwood Dining Set

Sustainably sourced wood

2. BrackenStyle Devon Hardwood Dining Set

This hardwood dining set seats four people and is made from sustainably sourced materials. The Scandinavian Pine wood is oil treated to naturally enhance its durability during wet weather.

This dining set comes with four seats and a table with a 40mm parasol hole. This set is constructed with reinforced stress points to ensure they are not likely to break. The table measures 90 x 90 x 73 cm, while the seats measure 43 x 53 x 90 cm.

Best wooden six-seater: CASARIA Deuba Wooden Garden Dining Table and Chairs Set

Foldable design

3. CASARIA Deuba Wooden Garden Dining Table and Chairs Set

This six-seater outdoor dining set is made from eucalyptus wood and consists of six chairs and one large oval-shaped wooden table.

The eucalyptus wood used to make this outdoor dining set is weather-resistant and FSC-certified – which means it is sustainably sourced. The manufacturer recommends treating the wood with a suitable oil to retain its original colour over time. The hinges on the folding chairs are made from galvanised steel and can be adjusted to different seating angles.

Best metal four-seater: AECOJOY 5 Pieces Outdoor Patio Dining Set

Simple design

4. AECOJOY 5 Pieces Outdoor Patio Dining Set

Made from heavy-duty metal, this weather-resistant metal outdoor dining set is treated with a rust-resistant and heat-resistant coating to withstand high temperatures.

This five-piece dining set consists of four stackable metal chairs and a metal slatted table which is designed to support up to 165lbs and has an umbrella hole to fit a parasol. This set is also available to buy with a round or rectangular table.

Best large rattan dining set: Arizona Rattan Dining Set

For hosting in style

5. Arizona Rattan Dining Set

This eight-seater rattan outdoor dining set is perfect for hosting friends and family. It comes with a large table with a Lazy Susan, eight padded chairs, and a parasol with a base.

This furniture set has aluminium frames and is made using artificial polyethylene all-weather rattan that is UV-resistant and said to be able to withstand temperatures ranging from -15 to 60 degrees celsius. The seats are equipped with multi-density foam and fibre-padded cushions for comfort.

Best aluminium dining set: CASARIA Outdoor Dining Set

Adjustable and foldable seats

6. Casaria Outdoor Dining Set

Available to buy as a four, six or eight-seater, this dining set from Casaria is made from weather-proof and rust-proof aluminium and comes with a table equipped with a 5mm glass top.

The seats that come with this aluminium dining set can be altered to seven backrest positions and are fitted with a breathable synthetic fabric. The aluminium table is height-adjustable to adapt to uneven ground and is fitted with floor protectors to protect flooring.

Best picnic-style dining set: Lifetime Convertible Bench Table

Doubles as a garden bench

7. Lifetime Convertible Bench Table

This outdoor furniture set doubles as a regular garden bench with a backrest, as well as a dining table and seat. When two are pushed together you can create a full-size picnic table.

This convertible bench table is made from stainless steel and UV-protected polystyrene and has a rust-resistant finish. It is available to buy in two colours: harbour grey or tan.

Best minimalist rattan set: Deuba Outdoor Furniture Seating

Wide range of colours

8. Deuba Outdoor Furniture Seating Group

This rattan dining set is made from hand-woven poly rattan and is available as a four, six or eight-seater and in a range of four colours – beige/brown, black, cream or brown.

This rattan is weatherproof, UV-resistant and dirt-repellant. The tables and chairs feature galvanised and powder-coated steel frames to prevent rust, and the chairs are fitted with water-repellant pads for easy cleaning. The cases on the cushions are removable.

Best premium rattan set: Savannah Rattan Dining Set

Seven-piece furniture set

9. Savannah Rattan Dining Set

Made with aluminium frames and polyethylene rattan, this four-seater furniture set consists of four padded dining chairs, a round rattan dining table, a parasol and a parasol base.

Designed to withstand all weather conditions, this rattan outdoor dining set is UV-resistant and the aluminium frames are rust-proof. It is also lightweight, corrosion-resistant and can withstand temperatures ranging from -15 to 60 degrees celsius. The 5cm thick seat cushions and 4cm thick back cushions have multi-density filling designed to keep their shape, and the outer fabric is water-resistant for easy cleaning.

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Want to read more expert-recommended product round-ups? Check out our Summer essentials page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best sun creams, the best rattan garden furniture and the best outdoor cushions.