Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Ideal for relaxing outdoors, garden swing seats are hanging structures designed to swing gently back and forth. Available in countless styles and materials, these swings can seat several people at once so you just have to think about the amount of space you have to fill! Read on to find the perfect garden swing seat.
Garden swing seats: choosing the perfect model
First things first, it's important to choose a garden swing seat that matches the style of your garden or decking area. While these seats are traditionally rectangular, it is possible to find swing seats with rounded edges for a softer and slightly more original look. Wooden models will tie in perfectly with a rustic theme but make sure you're up to taking care of the material. Resin or metal are great choices for a more contemporary vibe while plastic can be an option if you're on a budget – just be sure to cover up your swing seat over the winter months!
The amount of outdoor space you have will dictate the size of the swing you can purchase. Two- or three-seater swing seats are most common but it's also possible to find single swing chairs which look a bit like hanging armchairs! Want to stretch out? Some garden swing seats come with four seats. But be sure to check the maximum load supported by the swing which basically means the amount of weight it can withstand.
Generally speaking, the comfort of the swing seat will depend on how cushioned it is so it's important to pay attention to the seat padding and the quality of the fabric. Finally, don’t forget to have a look at the roof of the swing. Not only will the roof change the design of your seat, it should also protect you from the sun or even light rain.
Swing structure materials
The materials that make up the structure of the garden swing seat will affect how the swing looks as well as its durability and price. The most popular options are as follows:
- woven resin;
Wood is a natural material that has the added bonus of working with most outdoor spaces. Steel is a good budget option but it does tend to get scratched. Aluminium is strong and stylish but will set you back a bit more. The same goes for woven resin which combines the look of rattan with the strength of resin. Finally, plastic swings are not particularly strong but they're not expensive either! In short, each material comes with advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look at each option.
Wooden swing seats
Wooden swings provide a warm and natural look. If you go for wood, it's important to pay attention to the type of wood you choose; i.e. European wood (pine, oak, acacia, larch, etc.) or exotic wood (teak, itauba, eucalyptus, etc.). European woods will have to be treated to withstand outdoor conditions while exotic woods are naturally rot-proof. All wood species perform differently in terms of their resistance to moisture, insects and fungi. It's important to keep on top of treating your wood and to use the correct product for the species you choose whether this be wax, oil, varnish or wood brightener.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC) labels ensure that the wood you choose has been sourced from a supplier that follows sustainable forestry practices.
It’s worth noting that as wooden swings can be used alone, they rarely come with cushions. But this doesn’t stop you from adding some yourself if you’re looking for more comfort!
Steel swing seats
Steel swing seats provide a bit more contemporary option. Whether made of stainless steel or powder-coated steel, these swings are designed to stand up to UV rays and rust. Be careful, however, as this material tends to heat up in the sun meaning you will need to invest in some cushions. While steel does not require any particular type of maintenance, if you go for a powder-coated steel, the slightest scratch can damage the protection provided by the epoxy resin. In turn, this can open up the material to rust. If you're looking for greater protection, some steel swings are hot dipped galvanised which involves coating the material in a thin layer of zinc.
Aluminium swing seats
Aluminium swings often come in a wide range modern designs. They are very resistant to various weather conditions (including rain, heat and frost) as well as rust.
Strong but lightweight, aluminium swings are easier to move around and do not require any special type of care. However, just like steel models, they do tend to heat up in the sun.
Woven resin swing seats
Woven resin, also known as poly rattan or synthetic rattan, combines all the benefits of plastic with the charm of woven rattan. It is lightweight, rot-proof and weather-resistant. In terms of maintenance, this material just needs to be washed with soapy water. However, be sure to check that the material has been UV-treated or it may start to lose its colour over time.
Plastic swing seats
Plastic isn't the strongest material and these swing seats won't be able to spend the winter outdoors. Nonetheless, plastic garden swing seats are not expensive and are really easy to maintain.
Check to see if your swing seat has been UV-treated as this will provide greater durability and resistance. Take your plastic swing seat indoors when the weather is bad and never leave these seats outdoors over the winter.
Garden swing seats
Garden swing seat features
Garden swing seat roofs
Garden swing seat roofs can be made of a few different materials. Resin is a common option designed to let in the light but keep out UV rays. Polyester and textilene (a woven polyester fabric with a PVC coating) do not let in light or UV rays and will also protect you from light rain showers. Check the fabric weight as this will determine the quality, water resistance and durability of the material – the higher the g/m², the better the quality. Another practical option is a swivel roof which can be tilted depending on the position of the sun.
Garden swing seats
Swing seats can be made up of wooden slats, steel or a nylon panel. With the exception of wooden models, cushions are often provided with the swing seat. Cushioning will always make the seat and backrest more comfortable. The cushions should ideally be waterproof and come with a detachable cover for easy cleaning.
Garden swing seat accessories
Some swings come with trays set out beside the armrests which is a really handy option for setting down a book or a glass.
If you plan on not using your swing seat over a certain period or if you are unable to store it in a dry, frost-free place, it is best to cover it up with a fitted cover. Ensure your cover is both strong and waterproof.
It is advisable to take your cushions indoors when not in use to keep them looking their best.
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 51 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.