It’s true that outdoor furniture has a bit of a reputation for being outdated and plastic-y. A far cry from its indoor cousin, it might be down to the fact that we use it seasonally here in the UK, in between ducking rain showers. But as our gardens are beginning to evolve into outdoor living spaces, brands are catching up. As I’m always so good to you, I’ve put aside our house renovations to pick out five brands with collections that suit a modern Scandi garden. Think clean lines with a crafted feel to compliment contemporary planting, perhaps a gravel garden with black fencing and architectural planting. A space that remains both timeless and a place to spend time in. Furniture made with honest materials. In short, exactly what I’m working towards with my own garden!
Rowen and Wren
What I love about Rowen and Wren is their keen eye for beautifully crafted, simple homewares that sit comfortably in just about any setting. I’ve honed in on two of their functional, wooden collections which illustrate just that.
Made from sustainable teak, the Byron bench bridges the gap between indoors and out. With its smooth, curved back it makes an ideal spot for that morning coffee, perhaps with a cushion on the seat. It’s a versatile addition to have at the table too – keep it indoors in the winter and bring it outside with the warmer months.
Drawing on the slatted wood trend, the Harman collection has coastal appeal with its combination of wood and rope. Effortlessly stylish, the table and benches are perfect for impromptu gatherings in the garden and come in oiled grey or black. There’s also scope to mix and match your garden set-up with stools and chairs to compliment. I could see myself using the black bench in our hallway during the winter months, so much would it compliment a minimal interior.
As I recently featured the indoor side of Danish brand Woud’s collection, it made sense to explore their outdoor furniture here.
Designed by Fasting & Rolff, the Ray collection is a light and modern interpretation of French cafe furniture. Made from aluminium with steel inside the tubes to give it weight, it also comes in a light blue and rose pink (though obviously, I’m more partial to the black and white!) Its minimal curves bring a contemporary feel to any garden and grooves in the seat cast playful shadows underneath. You can also choose to include armrests on the Ray Chair and Bench too which in my eyes makes it a striking and versatile collection for a modern Scandi garden space.
You can always rely on Garden Trading for classic accessories for the garden. Although I’m familiar with their artisanal planters and tools, this is the first time I’ve sat up and taken note of their outdoor collection. And there are some real gems. Natural, sustainable materials such as cane and bamboo always look at home in the garden and the organic shape of the Hampstead bench is no exception. Made from woven, all-weather bamboo on a powder coated steel frame it would steal the show in a sunroom or as a focal point in your garden.
Of course, the classic choice for alfresco dining is always the bistro table and chairs and the Rive Droite comes in a selection of colours – I love the clay, of course. And below, the Thurloe chair is a stand-alone design intended to be paired with other furniture. The matt dark grey and sleek armrests give it a contemporary look that also lends itself to a more rustic style.
Marrying quintessential Scandinavian style with contemporary materials, Skagerak’s collection of garden furniture is vast. Literally, so many choices and they all compliment each other effortlessly. Freshen up your space with smaller details like the terracotta Edge pots or a By Your Side table. Play with a classic Overlap wooden table with meshed metal Mira chairs. Kick back in the high-backed Between Lines deck chair or seat the whole clan on the Tradition modular sofa. For smaller gardens, courtyards or balconies, the collection also includes foldable tables, stackable stools and Oeko-Tex certified outdoor cushions. I’ll take the lot!
You know how much I love and support Mater in their endeavours to change the landscape of sustainable design. Founded with the environment in mind from the very beginning, this Danish brand focuses on circular design instead of throwing a piece away when it reaches the end of its life. All the components can be separated and recycled if and when the time comes.
In what I think is their first foray into outdoor furniture, the Ocean collection reuses 960g of ocean plastic per chair. Although it looks wholly contemporary, the original model was actually designed in 1955 by Danish designer Nanna Ditzel. This updated, eco-conscious version also includes a table made from the same moulded plastic slats with a steel frame. So, not only does the Ocean collection bring long-lasting style into the garden, but it’s also doing its bit by cleaning up the ocean. No wonder its winning awards!