The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the UK spend more than a year under some form of lockdown, with the ‘stay at home’ orders resulting in many people investing more time and money in their gardens. A private space outside is no longer just a bonus feature of a property but a necessity for a lot of buyers.
Various studies reveal that having an attractive and well-maintained garden can add around 20% to the value of your home too, and the right accessories will only add to the appeal. But are the garden furniture trends seen last year in 2020 here to stay? Or has the novelty of hot tubs and outdoor sofas worn off? Let’s take a look.
With many social engagements forced outdoors, even in the colder months, shelters have been one of the top buys over the last 12 months.
Pergolas can make a great outside entertaining area for when you are hosting guests but they are often considered the marmite of the garden furniture world. You either love the solid structure and shelter they provide, or hate the permanence and inability to move them, especially when the sun makes an appearance.
Although there hasn’t been a real growth in sales for pergolas, anecdotal evidence reveals that some homeowners have used their time spent in lockdown to build their own DIY pergola.
The alternative and more inexpensive option has been the gazebo. Easy to erect and fairly portable, sales of gazebos are seven times higher than last year during the peak of the pandemic. And the need to heat these temporary shelters has led to a 600% increase in demand for fire pits and outdoor heaters already this year.
At the other end of the scale are ‘shoffices’. Despite only 38% of UK workers now working from home, according to the ONS, Toolstation reported a 500% increase in sales of garden buildings in the first half of 2021.
The UK went wild for hot tubs over lockdown, as families looked for alternatives to holidays abroad and weekends at the seaside. By June 2020, eBay had experienced a 1,000% increase in hot tub sales.
For many, buying a hot tub or pool created a relaxing space in their own home. But while they are a great garden feature for the whole family to enjoy, they cost money to run and maintain.
However, it’s likely the investment in hot tubs and pools will continue into this summer, not only because travelling abroad remains unlikely but also because MyToolShed claims it can add over £65,000 to the value of your home! We are yet to be convinced.
A mainstay of any garden, pandemic or not, is an outdoor seating and dining set. While many people used the lockdown as a key reason to upcycle or invest in new garden furniture, it’s a trend that will always be around.
While 2021 has seen a huge shortage in garden furniture supplies, there are still two types that remain the most popular (if and when you can get your hands on them).
Sets in plastic rattan material are usually shower- UV-proof, making them long-lasting but these examples can also be on the pricey side. With various styles and configurations to choose from, such as corner sofas, coffee table sets and complete dining arrangements, there will, however, be an option for even the smallest of outdoor spaces.
Another furniture style to look out for is steel or aluminium frame. Garden furniture made from lightweight and weather-resistant metal is perfect for UK gardens since it requires little maintenance and can stand the test of time.
The industrial trend brings a more modern feel to the garden, although you will need to invest in complementary soft furnishings like cushions, pillows and blankets to avoid that cold-to-the-touch feeling.
Consider your home moving plans
Before you make any investment in garden furniture and accessories, consider how long you plan to be in your home and whether this purchase is for you to enjoy or for potential buyers to visualise the space.
Think twice about erecting any permanent or hard-to-transport structures if you can’t take them with you (or ask White & Brooks how much value it will add to your home if you offer to leave it). Opt for the most cost-effective furniture if you’re simply sprucing up your garden in preparation for a sale.