7 contemporary garden furniture sets


As a garden designer I do not design with specific furniture in mind – only the well being of my clients and ergonomics of the space. It is far too easy these days to throw some cushions and a fashionable furniture set on a patio and call it a garden. When a client has really thought the furniture through and had gone through the process of ordering a specially made set, usually from abroad, then there is potential for reciprocation in the design process. The most important element is how to fit, comfortably, all the seating requirements of the client in conjunction with the site’s conditions and available space. The first thing I always try and find out is the best spot to sit and how we will integrate it into the rest of the scheme.

1. Bench 2. Table 3. Chair 4. Sofa 5. Dining 6. Stone & steel 7. Wood

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  1. BENCH.

The garden bench, the classic form of seating in any garden, is not one of the fortes of mass produced furniture. It is much better built in to suit the space. Indeed, I find that customising a bench and adding off-the-shelf table and chairs works well in many situations. This beautiful bench called ‘Mantis’ is supplementing a built in one in this Primrose Hill patio garden. While the built in bench is larger in scale, this small bench creates a sculptural focal point in its own right and is great for reading under the Japanese maple. The seat of the bench is made of decreasing sizes of hardwood attached to a powder coated steel frame. I have customised in further by fixing lights underneath.

contemporary garden furniture bench

Primrose Hill patio garden

  2. TABLE.

This handsome all-in set was purchased by the client after my design was completed. Perhaps the decision was inspired by some curved colourful vases and circular white tree planters I had designed. This set is fun and easy to clean. It is also very easy to move around to various locations – I know because I pushed it about for these photographs…

contemporary garden furniture table

London Fields roof terrace

  3. CHAIR.

This chair, designed some 50 years ago by the Danish designer Verner Panton, was the first ever plastic moulded chair and remains extremely popular in many variations – whether original, imitated or copyright-free. Here in this Highbury courtyard the clients had decided to purchase new kitchen chairs – another modernist masterpiece the Tulip chairs by the Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen, and moved the Panton chairs outside. The chair looks good and remains in good condition outdoors, is stackable and light weight.

contemporary garden furniture chair

Highbury garden

  4. SOFA.

This Dedon sofa set is exquisite. Made in Germany it presents lightness with comfort, durability and precision. The client had purchased the set after the design was completed and with such a long narrow space really had to research the best solution. As with many similar rattan imitations there are cushions to be dealt with on the many days it rains here in London. In this case it is not a problem with enough storage inside. The height of the sofa works perfectly with the lines of the plants and its colour blends in well with that of the granite floor. With the penthouse being a large open plan space, this configuration of the sofa works well to augment the interior as well seen through glass doors.

contemporary garden furniture sofa

Shoreditch roof terrace

  5. DINING.

A round table is a blessing in any garden; it is easy on the eye, easy on the arms and is a space saver. Here curves in the chairs, stainless steel, wood, stone and fabric all combine into a contemporary yet classic exterior. Matching sun loungers are situated further back in this woodland roof terrace in Highgate.

contemporary garden furniture dining

Highgate roof terrace


This Covent Garden commercial project consisted of 3 large roof terraces. The west facing roof terrace enjoys a great vista of the BT Tower and centre Point building. The Texan tax law firm of Fulbright Jaowrski had taken over the entire fifth floor in Long Acre and required a refit for the terraces for the grand opening of their new London office. I used Gloster furniture sets to allow for staff and business meetings outside. The teak, stainless steel and stone tables have slim profiles yet are heavy enough to remain stable on these windy roof terraces. The sets go hand in hand with the relatively traditional preferences of the client.

contemporary garden furniture stone and steel

Covent Garden roof terrace

  7. WOOD.

Here at Bridge House, St George Wharf, overlooking Vauxhall Bridge, the wind is ferocious. This heavy wooden set from Indian Ocean is just about the only piece of furniture that can resist levitation in this Westerly aspect… With galvanised steel details giving it an industrial feel the furniture blends in with the look of the penthouse but also holds its own scale in this large 2500 square foot terrace. I designed a generously long and deep bench in iroko with storage inside and a hedge behind. This freed a few chairs to be used elsewhere in the sun deck in the upper level. As with all wood this set needs regular maintenance and has just been oiled for the photographs as well as the decking, coping, chairs and steps.

contemporary garden furniture wood

St George Wharf roof gardens

With the exception of 3 out of the 8 images in this article, the furniture was selected by the client and introduced after the initial project. When the photographers had returned with their pictures I was pleased with the improvements. As I usually take most of the photographs, as the designer, I tend to prefer the space empty of furniture to show off all the intricate design elements. Unfortunately, these days everybody’s after lifestyle pics be it in magazines, television and the Internet. Our lives must be styled at all times… What I strive to do is use the furniture to serve the garden and not the garden to be a mere background for a catalogue shoot…

amir   Written, photographed (unless indicated) and posted by Amir Schlezinger.

contemporary garden furniture

Battersea patio

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10 garden benches 10 garden lighting 10 paving stones
10 garden decking 7 garden screens 10 garden seating

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