Garden & patio furniture is designed and manufactured so it is durable, much more so than furniture that is made for indoors. However, when I worked as a buyer for The Garden Village, I learned it is good to know what to look for when it comes to the quality of patio furniture to ensure you get value for the money spent. You don't want to find yourself needing to buy again a year or two down the line because you overlooked issues you were not aware existed.

Therefore, even if a furniture set has the label ‘outdoor furniture’, it is recommended you validate this claim and make sure that it really will withstand outdoor conditions as it claims, and you don’t get swayed into buying something that won't serve its purpose. Knowing what to look for will be a great help to you rather than just taking a salesperson's word for it.

A primary factor in determining if something is a smart buy is if you will get real value for your money, so here are some handy tips to help you know what to look for to determine the quality of patio and outdoor furniture that catches your eye.

When buying online, it is not possible to inspect real-life samples of the furniture as you can in a store, but when the item arrives, do a check! It is better to have the inconvenience of returning goods than keeping an item that is essentially a waste of money. When buying in a store, it is easy to check for the following potential issues.

The Joints

If you are thinking of buying wooden outdoor furniture, try to check if the wood furniture has tightly fitting joints that connect the wood material to the structure. Loosely fastened joints will decrease the strength and sturdiness of the item. This is especially important when it comes to the legs on tables and chairs since they will likely deteriorate quite quickly with use. The snugger the joints fit together without gaps, the more stable the furniture.

For metal-based furniture, it's the same as with wood furniture, but you need to make sure the joints are neatly welded together. Metal parts joined together should be seamless and smooth.

If you spot unsightly or unusual bulges on welded joints, it is possibly a sign of corrosion or metal joints that are poorly welded. This is a budding stress point that could break when someone sits or leans on the item.

You should also look at any angled metal parts joined together, as it is the same thing when it comes to bulges which indicate the furniture is not well welded.

Holes in between the angles is also a certain sign of weak stress points.

An excellent professional welding job produces a smooth, continuous welding path along the metals fixed together.

Surfaces

With wooden furniture, the surfaces should be sanded smooth. This is not limited to table tops and armrests, but also the backrest, arms and legs. Painted and varnished surfaces should indicate the covering is uniformly applied without drips or ripples.

Also, check underneath the armrests, back, and even below the seat as unpainted or unvarnished areas can result in weak spots prone to damage and decay.

Lastly, make sure there aren't any sharp or un-sanded edges. These could be at worse dangerous or at best uncomfortable, and may snag clothing, which won’t go down well with guests.

Now you know what to look for when checking the quality of patio furniture, so happy garden furniture shopping!