Qual­ity counts

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - GARDEN CHRISTO SAGGERS -

Cus­tom built gar­den fur­ni­ture is one of the new gar­den trends. Down here in New Zealand we are of­fered very limited choice of qual­ity, hard wear­ing and at­trac­tive gar­den fur­ni­ture.

There are so few de­cent off-theshelf prod­ucts avail­able in Blen­heim.

The out­door fur­ni­ture on of­fer here is typ­i­cally poorly de­signed (if at all), made from cheap rust­prone ma­te­ri­als and not very com­fort­able. So what is the al­ter­na­tive?

It is some­times hard to ac­cept, but you must al­ways buy qual­ity fit­tings, as in the long run they will pay for them­selves.

Cheap out­door fur­ni­ture that is ex­posed to our harsh level of UV lasts only one sea­son or two at the most be­fore it starts to de­te­ri­o­rate and then it falls apart quickly.

So what turns out to be cheap is not good and af­ter you buy a few sets of these you have paid more than you would have for a qual­ity set that would last 20 years.

There are sev­eral lo­cal builders who could con­struct a gor­geous site-spe­cific out­door fur­ni­ture suite for you, but make sure you have the designs right. As part of my ser­vices I de­sign out­door fur­ni­ture and have con­trac­tors build it for my clients. This is not a cheap ex­er­cise ini­tially, but it is cheaper than pur­chas­ing an ex­pen­sive high-qual­ity al­ter­na­tive from Auck­land and it will last longer.

Best of all it will look bet­ter, be more func­tional and com­fort­able and it will be unique to you.

Gar­den fur­ni­ture needs to suit its pur­pose. A day bed, for ex­am­ple, needs to be so com­fort­able that you don’t want to get up.

A din­ing ta­ble needs to be big enough to place sum­mer plat­ters crammed full of bar­be­cued ca­jun chicken, honey soy ribs, snags, juicy steaks and sal­ads on. But that is not all – you also need to sit 8-10 around it com­fort­ably to avoid el­bow wrestling with your neigh­bour. Each piece should be site spe­cific – cus­tom built to your re­quire­ments.

If it is built in it can be a re­ally good in­vest­ment in your gar­den and on sold with the house.

Go­ing back to the court­yard, from pre­vi­ous col­umns, we see here that the bar area is very so­cial, but above all it is prac­ti­cal. The bar can be used aid the whole BBQ ex­pe­ri­ence as well as be­ing a place to so­cialise.

The bar stools in this im­age are replica Xavier Pauchard bar stools and are gal­va­nized to pre­vent cor­ro­sion.

The de­tails of the bar­be­cue area need to play sec­ond fid­dle to safety. The heat from the bar­be­cue must be able to dis­si­pate and fire proof ma­te­ri­als should be used around the bar­be­cue. There are many ma­te­ri­als avail­able from our lo­cal hard­ware stores.

As with all my designs I in­cor­po­rate light­ing. Gar­den light­ing is es­sen­tial in out­door rooms like these as you can dou­ble its us­able time with lit­tle ex­tra cost.

Here I have 4 12V 1W LED down lights that cast a ‘‘moon light’’ ef­fect on the con­crete slab bar top – it looks amaz­ing!

I have 200W flood­lights amongst the trop­i­cal plant­ings that re­ally show off the large­leafed spec­i­mens with jostling shad­ows act­ing on the con­crete wall be­hind.

There is so much more plea­sure avail­able from the sat­is­fac­tion of cre­at­ing some­thing orig­i­nal and unique.

If you are to build the fur­ni­ture your­self you can save on the labour costs so you can spend more on qual­ity fit­tings that will look bet­ter and last much longer.

Stain­less steel is prob­a­bly the best and most ex­pen­sive but gal­va­nized fix­ings look good and cost a frac­tion of the stain­less.

This bar area comes alive with mu­sic from the out­door speak­ers and the slosh­ing water from the water fall be­hind.

This trop­i­cal par­adise was cre­ated with a good bud­get but not nearly as much as you might think – hav­ing time, knowl­edge and some de­cent tools can save you thou­sands and in­crease the value of your prop­erty.

Although sum­mer 2012 never re­ally ma­te­ri­alised I am quite cer­tain that there will be plenty of good sum­mers to come so start pre­par­ing your win­ter project now in an­tic­i­pa­tion and hope of a great sum­mer for 2013.

Won’t rust: Photo: SUP­PLIED

cor­ro­sion. The bar stools in this im­age are replica Xavier Pauchard bar stools and are gal­va­nized to pre­vent

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