Garden swings are no longer just a fond reminder of our childhood memories. Presence of swings in our gardens, terraces and balconies is increasing day by day, so is the number of swings being introduced to the market. The models and materials are varying greatly but most common ones are made from metal or wood combined with sling fabric, upholstered cushions or synthetic rattan seating components. In this article we would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these different products in the market and help you choose the best option based on your budget, personal needs and likes.
Marketplaces are mostly frequented by metal swing frames nowadays due to the inexpensiveness of the material and the ease of processing metal profiles. Metal is very prone to corrosion and has to be treated in order to prolong its life in the outdoors. Thickness of the metal profiles and anti-corrosive application are the two very important factors here. Electrostatic powder/wet paint is the most reliable form of anti-corrosive treatment. It is widely used nowadays and the technology is getting cheaper, however manual brush painting is still much cheaper. Therefore for your metal swing not to be eaten away by corrosion rapidly, make sure you buy a heavy and sturdy one (which indicates thick profiles) and that electrostatic paint has been applied.
Wood swings are preferred mainly based on their natural look and feel in the gardens- they are almost like an extension of the garden itself. After all wood has been the oldest material of choice in all man-made structures. Wood is durable, easy to work with and easy to maintain. It is also a living organism that responds to the external elements. In the outdoors, the response can be rather drastic. However not all wood respond the same. Hard wood types such as teak, iroko, mahogany, okoume, kosipo, sapelli etc. are more durable but they are also more expensive. Soft wood types are coniferous trees such as larch, pine, fir, spruce. They are more affordable and with appropriate treatment and regular maintenance these will also last you ages.
The seater part of swings are usually made from wood or metal profiles together with a combination of synthetic rattan weave, cushions and/or sling material. Rattan-weave products are usually quite stylish and creative, such as the most common cocoon models we see in the market today. When we say rattan-weave today we almost always refer to synthetic rattan. Synthetic rattan is lighter and stronger than natural rattan. It’s resistant to ultraviolet light, so it will not brittle or crack, and colours will not fade. It does not swell, rot or get mouldy, so it is quite able to cope with rain. Chlorine or salt will not do any damage so it’s fine to use around the pool or at the beach. A good quality rattan swing would last you ages and you would enjoy your elegant piece for years to come. Natural rattan is gorgeous but it really does not like the outdoors. Too much sunlight can make it brittle, too much rain and it may rot, frost may make it split.
Whether it is rattan weave or metal/wood profiles used to for the seating structure, cushions must be used to ensure comfort. The fabric used in the cushions must be outdoor upholstery material, which ensures it is resistant against UV, fading, moisture etc. We recently started seeing sling material streched across metal or wood profiles. Sling fabric is very durable and is comfortable enough so cushions are not a must for seating comfort.
Choosing garden/patio swings is a tricky business. For a money good spent and a product enjoyed for years to come make sure to invest in quality materials to the extent possible, take care of your swing by covering or storing it away during winter months and maintain your product regulary.