As we slowly emerge from the latest lockdown, most of us are desperate to spend time with friends and family again. But until at least June, our socialising is likely to continue to be outside. Apart from keeping our fingers firmly crossed for mild spring and early summer weather, what can we do to get ready for more than our usual share of alfresco entertaining?
For many, their garden or outdoor space will need to be able to seat more guests than usual – particularly those who have a large family or household. Having to seat 10 for a barbecue may once have been unusual, but may become the norm! Investing in new garden furniture now means thinking about how it can adapt for current times, and also work for the future.
To allow numbers to swell easily, while keeping elbow room for everyone, extending tables are ideal. Our Orchid extending teak table comes in square, rectangular or oval, and is made for flexible outdoor dining. The smallest size accommodates the ‘rule of six’ in comfort but can grow to seat 8-10, while the largest size can seat up to 14 so is perfect for larger families. This teak garden table is a breeze to extend, with smooth metal runners and two fold-away extension leaves (no need to find additional space for storage). The Orchid features a parasol hole in the centre of the table and another in the lower stretcher – perfect for adding a sunshade.
Folding or stacking chairs are useful seating options for adaptable entertaining space, since they can be easily stowed away when not required. Our Snapdragon teak folding chairs are always popular, because they are lightweight yet comfortable and can be easily stored in a shed or garage. If you have a bit more space available for storage then the Sumatra teak stacking garden chair or folding dining chair might be perfect; they are slightly more contemporary in style, but still supremely comfortable (for long days or evenings spent catching up!), with lightly curved seats and arms – seat pads are available for even great comfort.
Benches are a fantastic addition to the garden, as they can be put to such a variety of uses. Pull up a bench to your table to provide extra seating at an informal lunch – particularly if you have children who can squish up! The rest of the time a bench can be perfect for a sunny spot in the garden, for a cuppa or glass of wine with a friend – particularly with one of our smaller garden tables next to it. Our folding coffee tables or butlers trays can easily be stored out of sight when not in use, and provide handy extra side tables at a party, too.
One of the great entertaining revelations of last summer were casual garden drinks, with lots of people embracing the low stress, drop-in, drinks & nibbles chance occasion over more formal lunch or supper parties. So much easier to manage and less dependent on great weather! This is where more casual seating can come in. Sales of outdoor sofas have rocketed, as more people have been spending time at home, and realising that they can lounge-about, as well as dine-out, in their gardens. Our Maluku sofa is modular, so can be easily sized according to the needs of your space – a new ottoman is being added to the range this spring too, for even more flexibility. While some outdoor furniture can suffer from being left outside all year round, our high-grade, kiln-dried teak can withstand whatever the seasons might throw at it – and if you have space to store it over winter, it can easily be moved in sections. For a more classic feel, a pair of Gili teak steamer chairs make for a wonderful place to put your feet up with an old friend and catch up on all their news.
Whatever shape your entertaining takes this spring, we very much hope you enjoy it (and that the sun shines for us all….).
This year, much of our collection, particularly more adaptable garden furniture, sold out before Spring had even begun! However, we have more arriving in late April.