Patio furniture is much more attractive if it is made of natural products such as hardwood, stone, wrought iron or cast iron. These products will eventually weather and blend in more harmoniously with the garden. My very favourite is patio furniture made of wrought iron. Wrought iron does not compete with the garden, but seems to recede into the garden allowing the viewer to enjoy the plants. Wrought iron patio furniture is especially pleasing in traditional colours of black, dark green, white, or dark brown.
The chairs and tea cart pictured are occasional pieces that can be left in a far corner of the garden, or on a patio, ready to be brought into use on their own, or to add to a larger gathering when additional chairs are needed. These pieces can be left on the lawn because the light is allowed through, and will not impede the lawn growth beneath. They are all vintage pieces, still in excellent condition, and will last forever if they are given minimum care. The china on the tea cart is Villeroy and Boch china, Vieux Luxembourg pattern.
Wrought iron patio furniture can be kept outside all year round. It does not need to be covered for the winter. Indeed, it adds to the beauty of a winter garden. In the spring, to keep wrought iron pieces in excellent condition, it should be examined for rust spots. All the maintenance that is required is to brush the rust spots with a metal brush, wipe with a clean cloth, and spot spray with a rust retardant paint making sure to protect the patio with a drop sheet. This springtime maintenance takes very little time.
Wrought iron furniture is a timeless treasure. Antique or vintage pieces can mix well with new pieces.
The chair in this corner is so loved that the owner, one of my best customers, brings it inside for the winter as a pretty accent piece within her house.
It is still possible to find affordable Victorian and Edwardian pieces as well as the understated pieces made in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
The wrought iron railing pictured here was custom-made just two years ago to surround and decorate our raised patio. It allows approaching visitors to see through to the square concrete containers planted with ivy geraniums, annual lobelias, and clematis.
Reference: Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, McArthur & Company, Toronto, Classic Decorative Details (London, Anaya Publishers Ltd. 1994)