Protecting non-hardy plants from frost and snow is always mentioned as one of the most important garden jobs for winter, but what about the effort you put into finding the best garden furniture for your outside space, not to mention the investment? Will it withstand the cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, and what should you do to protect it? The answer may surprise you.
The truth is that you should do nothing at all, in most cases. Your wooden garden furniture is perfectly safe under even a thick blanket of snow – the material can withstand both the snowfall and the low temperatures. In fact, cold weather and snow pose very low risk to most types of furniture – unless it's made from natural rattan (as opposed to synthetic rattan that's advertised as weatherproof) or uncoated steel, which will rust.
In fact, with most types of garden furniture, rust, mould, and rot from damp are the real issues to look out for as opposed to cracking from low temperatures. Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk (opens in new tab) said: 'The cold has the potential to cause the most damage as the damp, chilly conditions can cause metal to rust and wood to rot.'
The solution? Protect your furniture, as Chris advises: 'Using varnish on hard wood will add an extra layer of protection and extend its life, but shielding items is the best form of protection. Place any furniture in dry storage over winter if there is space. If not, snug fitting waterproof covers are the next best thing.'
It should be noted that covering your furniture with the best outdoor furniture covers after it's been snowed on is a very bad idea: the cover will only act as a breeding ground for mould spores. If you don't have a waterproof furniture cover, or didn't put it on before the winter rains and snow came, don't bother now – just let the snow melt and the furniture dry before you do anything else, including varnishing or painting.
Worried about how to protect your plants in the cold weather too? Our guide on how to protect plants from winter has the answers.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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