Pool Spa Life
Pool Spa Life

Lazing around

Sun loungers, recliners, hammocks and swings

A luxurious poolside or garden retreat needs a comfortable place to kick back and chill. Try these seating options on for size.

Spring is a great time to spruce up your outdoor area in preparation for summer entertaining. Whether lounging poolside, swinging in a hammock or just enjoying a little time al fresco, comfort is the name of the game. But not all outdoor options are created equal – here’s our guide to finding the perfect lazing choice.  

Sun loungers, recliners and daybeds

The epitome of relaxation, sun loungers and recliners offer the perfect location for poolside leisure – whether reading a book, catching a few rays or kicking back in the shade with a cocktail. There are plenty of material choices and designs for every budget, but there are a few practical considerations as well.

Plastic or polycarbonate

Plastic and polycarbonate sun loungers are lightweight and affordable. They are often stackable, which will help with storage if you aren’t likely to use them year-round.

Look for UV resistant or UV stabilised options, as some plastics can break down pretty quicky when exposed to the elements. While lightweight furniture is easy to move, it might also need to be tied down or otherwise secured in rough weather like storms or high winds.

When it comes to looks, plastic and polycarbonate tend to lack the aesthetic appeal of some other options. A lower price point makes them seem like an economical option but there are more durable material choices available. Think about lifespan when working out your budget, to avoid forking out more in the long run.


Wooden sun loungers are always popular. Being made from a natural material, they look right at home in garden and poolside settings.

You’ll probably find both soft and hardwood options in your search. Softwood trees are evergreens. These trees grow quickly, which causes air pockets to form in the wood fibres, giving the wood it’s ‘soft’ quality. Hardwoods are slow growth trees, a process that delivers a denser (or harder) wood fibre. Both soft and hard wood can be suitable for loungers and other seating, provided they have water resistant (anti-wicking) properties.

Cedar, cypress and redwood are good softwoods for outdoor furniture, while pine (even when treated) lacks the durability to reliably withstand the elements, so isn’t really a great long-term alternative. When it comes to hardwoods, look for local options like jarrah or redgum, or established imports including teak and mahogany.

Most wood choices will require regular maintenance like sanding, priming, oiling or varnishing, but they tend to age well and are definitely a robust option when properly maintained. The weight means you probably won’t want to move these loungers around too often so, if portability is a consideration, look for a lighter material. On the flip side, they’re unlikely to need tying down, provided you aren’t in cyclone territory.

Synthetic wicker and rattan

There’s a good reason why woven synthetic furniture is everywhere you look. These sun loungers work on many levels – they offer the visual appeal of natural materials without the fragility and short life span. They are lighter than wood, require little to no maintenance and can handle being out in the elements.

They offer a bit more design freedom than some of the other material options, so you’ll probably find a range of sofa and daybed styles on offer, in addition to single recliner loungers.


Lightweight, rust-resistant and low-maintenance, aluminium ticks a lot of boxes, especially if you’re looking for a sleek modern look to fit in with a contemporary outdoor space. Powder coating provides an extra layer of protection and gives you more variation, so you can tie in colour choices to match with other decorative outdoor elements.

For all its benefits, aluminium can get pretty hot when exposed to sunlight, but it does cool quickly when moved into the shade. It’s not the most comfortable of options, but that’s where cushions and padding will save you.

Fabrics, foams, cushions and covers

If you’re really serious about relaxing, you might want to invest in some soft furnishings. While the construction of some sun loungers may deliver a perfectly comfortable experience as is, some of the harder choices will benefit from padding and cushions.

Look for fabrics and foams designed specifically for outdoor use – for foams, that means quick-dry, while fabrics should be fade and UV resistant, mould and mildew resistant, as well as being water resistant (or water proof) and breathable. It’s a lot to ask from fabric, so be prepared to pay a little extra for choices that fit the bill. Even with all those protective features, you should store cushions and padding out of the elements when they’re not in use.

Check your local pool or outdoor store for furniture covers designed specifically for sun loungers. Covering furniture when not in use helps protect it from the elements and prolongs the lifespan.

Hammocks and swings

Nothing says ‘do not disturb’ quite like a hammock. The ultimate symbol of leisure, hammocks offer the perfect spot to unwind and beat the heat. Widely available in single and double sizes, they are a cost-effective way to enjoy a little time outdoors, but they’re not for everyone. They aren’t a great choice for little ones, who can find it hard master the art of getting in and out, leaving them open to injury if you aren’t around to help. The same goes for anyone with limited mobility or balance issues, so it’s probably not the seat of choice for the oldies either.

You need to consider a few things before setup. Hammocks require two sturdy anchor points – trees, poles, fences or walls are all viable options, provided they are secure and can support the weight required. While this limits placement options, a dedicated hammock stand immediately solves that problem. Made of metal or wood, hammock stands provide a stable and secure base and are available in various sizes and designs. They offer the advantage of portability and versatility, letting you set up anywhere – poolside, in the garden, on the patio or even indoors.

Fabric hammocks

Fabric hammocks are generally made of cotton, polyester or a blend, and provide a comfy and cozy retreat from the world. The limitless range of available colours and patterns means you can add a vibrant touch to any outdoor space. They should be stored away when not in use, or during inclement weather to prolong their lifespan.

Rope hammocks

Rope hammocks offer a classic take and traditional appearance but are often made from durable materials like recycled polyester. They should be treated to be fast drying and resistant to UV, mould and mildew. The woven design of rope hammocks allows for better air circulation, making them ideal in hot climates. On the downside, they are prone to branding users with ‘waffle’ imprints, but that’s the price you pay for a little bit of paradise.

Garden & porch swings

Garden and porch swings hark back to another era, delivering all the pleasure of swaying in the breeze, minus the awkward process of getting in and out of a hammock. Many styles come with a roof canopy, letting you enjoy the outdoors while protected from the harsh sun – it’s a win-win.

Swings are available in a range of construction materials. Look for solid, well-constructed designs made from wood or stainless steel, as cheaper alternatives and lightweight materials may not offer the strength needed to accommodate two or three people safely and securely.

Placement and practicalities

There’s no doubt that choosing the right outdoor seating will elevate your al fresco experience. Before making a decision, think about your overall aesthetics and how best to blend in – or stand out, if that’s your aim. If it’s all about entertaining, think about guest numbers and the areas they are most likely to circulate.

Don’t forget to factor in maintenance – it can be a harsh environment out there and some choices may last longer than others but will also tie you to a routine of repairs and upkeep. Make sure you’re up to the task before you commit.

Whatever your requirements, there’s are choices out there that are perfect for you, designed to fit with your lifestyle and show you home in it’s best light. Get going now and you’ll be ready to entertain all summer long.

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