Upgrade your relaxation levels in your garden by choosing unique seating that will create an eye-catching focal point, while offering practicality. Garden swing seats andhammocks are distinctive pieces of garden furniture that provide exceptional levels of comfort for lounging in the sun. We’ve compiled this useful buying guide with everything you should consider when choosing this type of outdoor furniture to ensure it ticks all of the right boxes for what you need.
What is a garden swing seat?
A garden swing seat is a piece of seating furniture that is designed on a hanging structure that can be enjoyed in a stationary or swinging position. Many tend to feature a canopy for keeping cool and blocking out the sun’s rays. Available in a range of designs, materials, and shapes, they usually come as a 2-seater or 3-seater. If you prefer one just for yourself, a swing chair is a great option, this 1-seater allows you to create your own personal chill-out zone - which is sure to send you into a sweet slumber on a hot summer’s day!
What is a hammock?
A key symbol of summer and synonymous with tropical holidays - a hammock is a bed sling usually made out of fabric, rope, or netting supported by cords at two ends fixed to a tree or wood or metal posts. Its sling design allows you to swing which is perfect for resting, sleeping, and relaxing on a glorious, warm day. Some are designed for more than 1 person, but investing in a 1 person hammock makes it’s a very attractive piece to own as you can retreat in pure heaven, having this bed all to yourself. It’s a great alternative to a traditional sun lounger.
What to consider when buying garden swing seats or hammocks?
Such an important question to ask before you start shopping for the best swing seat or hammock. Are you looking for extra seating to entertain guests or want it for relaxation for yourself and the family? You might even fancy one to act as a focal point in your garden or perhaps filling an empty corner or space that you think needs something interesting to jazz the area up.
Not only do you have to take into consideration the size of the swing seat or hammock, but remember to allow for additional space so you can enjoy its swinging feature. Is it going to be placed against a wall on the patio where space might be a little restricted, especially if you’ve got other garden furniture in this area or perhaps it will be positioned on the garden lawn with plenty of space surrounding it?
Do you need it as additional seating for entertaining, many of them are designed as a 2 or 3-seater chair, and you’ll find some 3-seater garden swing seats are spacious making them ideal for having guests over.
Deciding on how much time you’re willing to put in maintaining your new garden swing seat or hammock each year will determine what type is best for you. Perhaps it’s best to choose a wooden swing seat or hammock if the rest of your outdoor furniture is wooden designed, so you can do all the painting at the same time.
If you see yourself having less time, buying a garden furniture cover to place over it in winter will protect it. Some swing seats feature strong metal material, a waterproof canopy, and even waterproof fabric built-in cushions, so you can leave it outside all year round which would be a good option if you’re worried about finding the time for maintenance.
Most garden swing seats and hammocks come unmade and need to be assembled at home. While it may be a breeze for some people, we know assembling furniture is not everyone’s cup of tea. Make sure you have someone who can help with this initial setup to avoid disappointment, you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions included which will help with the assembling of your new piece of garden furniture.
Types of garden swing seats
Wooden swing seats
Made from solid wood and high-quality materials, wooden designs are sturdy and long-lasting. The swing is often attached to the wood frame with durable steel chains for safety. The wood finish offers a natural look, perfect for fitting in with many garden themes. Some even feature waterproof designs that can be used all year round. Some come with cushions while other wooden swing seats don’t include any which gives you the freedom to choose your own garden cushions to add decor touches to suit your taste.
Tip: Check the wood used, while most wooden swing chairs have a stain applied to protect them from weathering, some like a teakwood design will require oil treatment once a year.
Designed with strong metal material (steel or aluminum) for the mainframe along with fabric for the seat and canopy, these are a great, practical option. With steel designs, most are commonly made of powder-coated metal which means they’re water-resistant, chip-resistant, and long-lasting. Their cushions also feature waterproof fabric, so it can be left outside all year round, without it getting damaged from the British weather - perfect if you’re looking for a low maintenance option.
Tip: Remember to be careful not to scratch the surface of the metal frame, as this can compromise the material’s anti-rust protection.
Opting for one with a canopy will provide shade from the UV rays of the sun and even shelter from those light summer rain showers. Choose from fixed canopies or swing chairs that feature adjustable canopies offering you more flexibility for moving it forwards and backward to block out the sun when it moves in the sky throughout the day.
Tip: When buying a garden swing seat with a canopy, remember to find out the weight of the materials used (measure in grams per metre square) will determine the quality of the fabric, its degree of water-tightness, and its durability; the higher the gr/m², the better the quality.
Some styles come with cushions that have detachable covers - great for storing them away in winter or even washing them to freshen them up. It’s quite a common feature of wooden swing chairs while most metal swing seats have built-in cushions and seat covers.
Tip: Find out what material is used in the cushioning, opting for fully-pipped, crumb-filled cushions will provide a high level of comfort and support - its thick quality will create a softness that will send you into a relaxation bubble.
Designed with a wooden or metal stand with two endpoints to support the hammock, it’s a modern and practical option that can be easily moved around the garden or patio to find the best sunspot. The material used in the hammock is either rope or canvas. If you’re looking for the best hammock to offer comfort, opting for one with canvas fabric will provide extra support and relaxation - it will feel like a daybed.
These are more traditional where the sling fabric needs to be hung between two trees or posts. The two endpoints feature cords and some even have a wooden strip for extra stability so they can be hung safely. There is less flexibility with this style as you can only set it up where the trees are positioned in your garden. On the other hand, as they don’t come with a frame, the hammock is much compact and you can fold up it up easily for storage.