Caring for your Garden Furniture over Winter

Disclosure: I was gifted a bench by Garden Benches.

Caring for your garden furniture through the winter - Windsor couples bench from Garden Benches

Living in a flat we are so incredibly lucky to have our own, private garden and it’s a decent size too which is a real added bonus. I had big plans for our garden this year, but sadly, as we had renovation projects going on inside, we ran out of time to work on the garden and now it’s a bit late. So I’ll be shelving our plans until the springtime.

What I’m looking at doing is levelling the garden out a bit so we can actually create a usable space for entertaining, relaxing and dining outside and also somewhere flat for the girls to play. It’s going to be quite a lot of work and I’m really hoping we can get started next year, but it all depends on budgets.

The delayed plans have not stopped me from looking at garden furniture though and dreaming of how we will use the space when it’s finished. Matters have not been helped by all the garden furniture sales that have taken place since summer slowly ebbed away. I’ve been really tempted to take advantage and buy a load of furniture now while the good deals have been on offer. But then I have been put off by the thought of my new furniture sitting outside all winter in the cold, wet weather.

Caring for your garden furniture through the winter - Lutyens garden bench from Garden BenchesNow I know absolutely nothing about caring for garden furniture, this being the first opportunity we’ve actually had to get any. So as with everything, I started researching wooden garden furniture and how to care for it.

I specifically want something that is easy to maintain, with minimal upkeep and that will last. I don’t want to be sanding, oiling, or repainting my furniture every year to protect it from the weather.

It turns out that hardwoods such as teak are a good option. Teak is particularly valued for its durability and water resistance, and is used for things like boat building and exterior construction as well as for the manufacture of furniture. It’s natural oils apparently make it useful in exposed locations, and make the timber termite and pest resistant, and teak is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. Sounds like just the ticket! So how do you care for this garden furniture through the winter months?

Caring for your garden furniture through the winter - Oxford garden bench from Garden Benches

Throughout this whole research process, I got speaking to Ed Sloane of Garden Benches, a company that specialises in the production of garden benches made from teak. He kindly offered me some great advice on how to care for your garden furniture through the winter.

There is very little benefit in treating your teak outdoor furniture with oil as the winter approaches and we would definitely advise against any treatment if the teak is wet or even damp.

Ed says: “Think of this time as a period of hibernation where some simple preparations should be made before the onset of winter.  We would advise the removal of any bird droppings with a brush and soapy water using washing up liquid, and you should ideally allow the furniture to air dry on a fine/breezy day before covering with a showerproof cover for the winter. A purchased bench cover is the perfect way to offer protection during the winter and there are several sizes to suit the design of your bench.”

Caring for your garden furniture through the winter - bench cover from Garden Benches

That definitely sounds like something I could manage. A quick wash down, let it dry and cover it up. That wouldn’t take too long at all and I could rest sound in the knowledge that my furniture wasn’t rotting away over the winter. But, Ed says it’s important to make sure the cover you use isn’t too tight.

“Air circulation under the cover and around your bench, chairs or table is the perfect winter storage solution. Encasing your bench tightly is not the way forward as teak does need to ‘breathe’,” says Ed. “If you tightly encase or seal your teak furniture you will most certainly create a greenhouse/condensation environment as the temperatures drop below freezing on some days and will be quite pleasantly sunny on others. A sealed or tightly wrapped environment will allow mould to develop and this could be extensive by the time you release your furniture early Springtime.”

Caring for your garden furniture through the winter - bench cover from Garden Benches

Ed’s final nugget of advice is: “Do not be tempted to take your teak garden furniture into a centrally heated environment or indeed into your greenhouse. Trees used in the manufacture of teak garden furniture are harvested in Indonesia and are ideally suited to being outside enjoying the movement of air – if the wood dries out completely it will be prone to cracking.”

Keep it simple and don’t overthink it too much. Clean the furniture down, cover it loosely but securely and that will put it to bed for the winter.

Caring for your garden furniture through winter - Balmoral garden bench from Garden BenchesSo that is fantastic news. I’m now ready to grab myself a bargain while it’s not the season for garden furniture. That way I’ll have more of an incentive to get going on our garden plans as soon as the spring comes around.

Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Garden Benches. However, all the other opinions in this post are my own and I stress that I only collaborate with brands and companies that I genuinely like and believe that my readers will like too.

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