The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: Glorious garden furniture, from perfect parasols to a love seat for a ménage a trois

One of the great frustrations of the 2020 lockdown has been the extraordinary good weather. The answer to making the most of it is, of course, garden furniture.

Obviously, you could dig out the rusty old chairs from the back of the garage. Or possibly just lob an old rug down on the lawn. And as for outdoor catering? Pop a disposable barbecue on your shopping list and you’re away.

But when chair collapses under your lockdown-spread, the rug turns out to be covered in mould and the disposable barbecue sets fire to the grass, you’ll know where to find us.

Statement planter

The Giant Egg Cup lead planter is inspired by an old design in the gardens at of Anglesey Abbey. It’ll look magnificent set beneath the stone mullioned windows of your 15th century old rectory. What’s that you say? You don’t live in a 15th century rectory? And your windows are made of PVC? Shush now. We’re sure it’ll still look marvellous.

£2,810 each from Bulbeck Foundry —

Double duty

The Garden Gourmet, £2,499, is both a heater and a barbecue. Though at this price point, frankly we’re a tad disappointed that it isn’t also chef and waiter as well.

£2,499 from Chesney’s —

Shady story

Take to the shade under this 2m garden parasol in glorious William Morris fabric. If you’re worried that it looks a little on the small side, they also make a 3m ‘Big Bill’ version at £725.

With that stuff out of the way, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: how great it is to see a patio where the owners have simply given up on weeding in between the pacing stones. Refreshing.

£450 from East London Parasol Company —

Triple delight

This is quite brilliantly gutsy: a love seat for a ménage a trois.

£6,960 from Gaze Burvill —

Eat out

The Arden large table, bench and stool set. Yes, those seats are made of stone. Yes, you’re gonna need cushions.

£1,850 from Graham & Green —

Easy mover

Ahhh, the lawnmower’s had babies!

Sadly, that’s not at all true: those are just the 24v rechargeable batteries and the charger for this Greenworks cordless 3ft lawn mower, which is designed to be easy to manoevre.

£199.99 from

Sitting pretty

This Edwardian-style bench really is rather lovely, and is made in weather-resistant Linen powder-coated steel. You can just imagine a dreamy-eyed poet perching here on a balmy afternoon while trying to think of a rhyme for ‘magnificent’.

£435 from Rosara —

Bright ideas

Photo: Ian Lamond / Melissa Morton Garden Design —

Like having a tiny sun hiding in your borders, these ‘Stone Globe Lights’ even have a plug-and-play accessory set for safe installation without the need for an electrician.

Lights £109 each, accessory set from £37.03 via

The stripes

While away a peaceful afternoon in the Edwardian deckchair, trying to resist the temptation to flick the tassles on the head-shade-awning thingy.

£225 from The Stripes Company — 01244 757196;