If you haven't headed down to the shed recently to dust off your cobweb-covered patio furniture, you may be looking to buy outdoor seating or sun loungers for the very first time.
However, with lots of different types of seating on offer, it can be confusing trying to find the right ones for your garden. You may want to consider who will be using your new seats, the price, the materials they're made from and how they look.
To help you choose we've listed the most common seating designs along with their pros and cons. We also highlight the features you should look out for when buying sun loungers and outdoor seating, as well as some popular retailers to buy your garden furniture from.
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Here are some of the most important questions you'll need to think about when buying a sun lounger and outdoor seating:
Picking the right sun lounger and outdoor seating will depend on your budget, style preference and the size of garden. Below you will find the main types available:
Many people only get to enjoy time out on a sun lounger while they're abroad, but if you'd prefer not to wait for your annual holiday then buying your own could be a worthwhile decision. The most basic can cost as little as £20, while it's not difficult to find bespoke offerings for a few hundred pounds.
At their most simple, sun loungers are made from a metal frame with a polyester back and seat. The high-end models may be made of rattan or wood and come with cushions, contemporary designs and holders to put your drinks.
There aren't many things in life that feel as quintessentially British as a stripy-coloured folding deckchair. Synonymous with trips to the seaside, this type of outdoor seating is widely available for around £30.
Traditionally made from wood and canvas fabric, it is their simplicity that also makes deckchairs so popular. As with sun beds you will need somewhere to store them when not in use.
Recliners are somewhere in between sun loungers and garden chairs, making them popular with people who like to sit upright in a chair but may also wish to rest or snooze in a more horizontal position. Often the mechanism to tip back requires just a lifting of the armrests, although this all depends on the design. Some will also have adjustable footrests.
The prices for recliners vary with some high street stores selling them at around £30, others can creep up to hundreds of pounds.
If you thought that beds were meant to be confined to the bedroom, then you would be mistaken - a growing trend has seen day beds finding their way into UK back yards and gardens. Starting at £200 for a basic design, prices can jump up to well over £1,000 for premium products.
If you're looking for more traditional outdoor seating, a bench might be the answer. There is a huge array of types and sizes, ranging from handmade bespoke designs to flat-pack options straight off the production line.
Prices can start for under £100 from high street stores and go up to a few hundred pounds. Benches are often made from wood, metal or plastic.
Garden sofas are becoming increasingly popular as people opt for outdoor furniture that offers more comfort than simply sitting on hard chairs around a patio table. Garden sofas essentially allow people to lounge outside during warmer months and are brilliant for entertaining guests.
There is a huge variety of designs in terms of materials, sizes, colours and shapes. Prices start at around £350 and can go up to £2,000 for luxury options.
For many people the ultimate relaxation experience is lying back in a hammock watching the clouds drift by above. So the good news is that you now don't need two large tree trunks to tie a hammock to, as some options can be hung on a freestanding metal frame.
If getting in and out of a hammock sounds like hard work, there are also dozens of swing seat designs. These include hanging egg chairs or a more traditional swing chair. Hammocks can cost as little as £25, with swinging egg chairs typically priced over £200.
With prices starting at around £80, garden rocking chairs are typically made from wood, wicker or plastic and they can offer a whimsical vibe to your outdoor area.
Want to know more about materials, furnishings and covers? Read our guide to garden furniture
Durability is an important factor when deciding which type of sun lounger or outdoor seating to buy. How they withstand wear, pressure or damage can impact how long your outdoor furniture stays in good shape. Much of this is down to the material the sun loungers and outdoor seating are made from. Here are some of the more durable materials to look out for:
We run through the pros and cons of each of the materials above in our garden furniture buying guide
Here are some extra features that you may want to look out for when buying a sun lounger or outdoor seating:
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Zero gravity sun loungers are designed to give people a feeling of weightlessness and achieve a higher level of relaxation. Zero gravity sun loungers actually have more in common with recliners than sun beds as they also rely on users being able to tip backwards from a sitting position.
The idea is the lounger tips backwards, therefore elevating your legs and feet above your heart and spreading your weight across your entire body. Zero gravity sun loungers were allegedly invented by NASA who needed to find ways of relieving the stress on an astronaut's body as they launched into outer space.
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There is a broad range of prices available for those looking to buy sun loungers or outdoor seating. While some products on the market can cost thousands of pounds, the good news it that you can also usually find a budget option.
If you want to keep warm while relaxing in your new outdoor lounger, then a patio heater could be a worthwhile investment. See our patio heater buying guide for more information
The great thing about sun loungers and outdoor seating is that you can pick up something basic for a relatively low price.
Outdoor seating made from plastic, steel, aluminium and softwoods, such as pine, help to keep the costs down. Of course, plastic is not as durable as pricier hardwood or rattan options - nor is it eco-friendly. So, if you’re looking for a long-term investment, you’ll need to spend a little more.
At high street stores such as Argos you can pick up a very basic sun lounger for as little as £25 or an egg chair for under £300. Lots of supermarkets including Aldi and Asda also offer value-for-money seating.
Another option is buying secondhand on sites such as Ebay and Gumtree. Occasionally you may find people giving away items for free if you're able to collect.
There are a whole host of stores and websites that sell sun loungers and outdoor seating at a range of prices. Wherever you shop, make sure you pay attention to the returns policy and check for warranties.
Popular online retailers that stock outdoor seating include:
Aldistocks a range of patio furniture - everything from seating pillows to recliners, stools and loungers. Aldi sells seat pads in a range of designs for less than £15.
Amazonsells almost all types of outdoor seating so if you struggle to find what you want elsewhere, then it might be worth checking them out.
Argossells patio sets, sun loungers, hammocks and more. If it's an outdoor sofa set you are after, then Argos has options for as low as £150.
B&Qoffers a selection of garden seating, including egg chairs, day beds and armchairs. Its simple garden chairs start at just £20.
Dunelmsells plenty of sofa sets, with prices starting at under £200.
Homebasehas everything from benches and loungers to swing seats and picnic tables.
Ikeasupplies a full range of garden furniture, from a £15 folding metal and wooden chair, to a £1,225 modular corner sofa.
John Lewishouses lots of own-brand options, as well as seating from big names such as Kettler and Fiam.
Kettleris one of the most widely stocked garden furniture retailers with more than 400 stockists up and down the country.
The Rangehas a variety of outdoor seating including garden chairs, lounge sets, benches and sun loungers. If you're looking for zero gravity sun beds, they start under £40.
Wilkosells a wide variety of seating, including a basic chair that costs less than £10 right up to a set of loungers for £900.
Outdoor seating cushions can add some character and brighten up your outdoor space and they come in a range of colours and styles. They're also great for providing comfort and stability when relaxing outside.
It's important that cushions are the correct size and have ties to ensure they don't move around when you're sitting or lying down.
You'll probably want cushions that are waterproof and resistant to fading if they're going to be positioned in the sun for sustained periods of time. Generally speaking, acrylic, polyester, olefin and textilene are all good materials for outdoor cushions.
There is a huge range in prices for outdoor seating cushions and the cost is heavily influenced by how many you need to buy. For your very basic needs, cushions can cost as little as £5 but if you require bespoke items then you could pay substantially more.
Some of the most searched for retailers for outdoor cushions include Ikea, Amazon, John Lewis and Argos.
Solar garden lights will let you enjoy your outdoor seating even after the sun goes down
If you are into DIY or enjoy being creative, then you might want to consider making your own outdoor sofa. It might sound complicated but there are some clever designs that require minimum effort but will still give your garden a boost this summer. One idea shared widely on social media requires just three pallets, some outdoor paint and a drill with some decent screws.
If you're renovating your garden and fancy splashing out, take a look at our hot tub buying guide