Whether as a casual side table or dining table for all the family, our list has a range of options to help make the most of time spent outdoors.
Whatever the purpose, an outdoor table should be weatherproof (that’s UV and water resistant) from the surface material to the bolts and screws.
Powder-coated metal and oiled hardwood are the traditional choices outdoors, but modern materials are also popular for being low maintenance.
Synthetic wicker or rattan, and fibre cement tables are easy to clean and are inherently durable.
Just because a table is designed for use outdoors, it doesn’t mean you should leave it outside all year round.
Most should be moved into an unheated space (shed or garage) for winter, or at least covered, if you want to enjoy maximum use year on year.
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West Elm mosaic coffee table: £449, West Elm
This coffee table, handmade by artisans in India, is inlaid with white marble mosaic tiles, giving it a stunning sparkling effect when the sun hits it. At 82.5cm in diameter, it has a good amount of surface area for holding plates and decorative candles, as well as drinks and snacks. It can be used indoors as well as out, meaning value for money all year round. It is supported on a contemporary black metal base.
Habitat Parc 2-4 seater folding garden table: £60, Habitat
For small balconies or terraces, this affordable folding table is a perfect match. It comes in a range of bright summery colours (cobalt blue, saffron yellow, sage green or dusty pink) that make it an eye-catching feature among plants and flowers. It seats two comfortably for dining or four for drinks. It’s made in powder-coated steel, making the set lightweight and durable (although it should be covered when out of use). A matching pair of chairs are £60.
Garden Trading Chilson table: from £900, Garden Trading
If you’re serious about investing in a durable dining table for al fresco entertaining, this table is a good all-rounder. The dark grey cement fibre top can withstand regular use, and the acacia wood base is thick and robust, keeping with the rustic style. It’s weatherproof so you can leave it out during summer, but it’s a good idea to cover or move inside over winter to keep it looking its best. It’s sized to seat 6-8, but also makes a great buffet table for larger parties.
AM.PM Jakta round table: £255.20, La Redoute
This striking garden table has thick crisscrossed legs that connect through a square support. The top has a sunburst pattern of acacia wood pieces and a central hole for holding a parasol. Oiled acacia wood is suited to outdoor use because it resists water and UV damage. It’s also cheaper than teak or oak. It should be treated regularly to keep it in good shape. This table requires some straightforward self-assembly and comes with either matte black or natural legs.
Skagerak Picnic table: £639, Skagerak
The quality of this powder-coated aluminium table from specialist Danish manufacturer Skagerak is far superior to ones you can buy on the high street. Both or one half of the tabletop can be folded down for easy storage and portability. The built-in carry handle makes it easy to take to the park or beach for parties. Its size means it can be stored out the way in small gardens or balconies. It comes in dark green, black or grey and has matching stools (£249 each).
Made Lyra 4-seater round garden table: £199, Made
Made.com’s Lyra table mixes traditional design with the contemporary. The top is a woven poly rattan (a weatherproof version of rattan) with a retro look, and the paired legs are metal coated in a bright blue. It has a glass top for protection that’s easy to clean any food or drink spills from too. There’s a hole for a parasol, and it sits four for dinner comfortably. It also comes in a 6-seater version (£299) and matching armchairs (two for £179).
Woud Ray 220cm long dining table: £1,030, Houseology
This extra-long table is great if you have a large patio in need of a focal point. It has two pairs of slim legs, which means plenty of uninterrupted legroom for guests sitting either side. It’s made of strong but light aluminium, which comes powder coated in black, white, pink or blue. The slots in the table top mean that rain can drip away rather than sit on the surface after a shower. It’s been well designed for outdoor use and great for big parties and dinners.
John Lewis & Partners Dante 6-seat round dining table: £499, John Lewis & Partners
The Dante round table is reasonably priced considering size and quality. It easily seats six around a large wood-effect top that is easy to keep clean and can withstand a rain shower. It’s made in handwoven synthetic wicker and has a rust-free aluminium frame that is designed to last well outdoors but could equally be used as conservatory furniture too. It comes with a 1-year guarantee and is available in a grey or natural colour.
AM.PM Tatum cylindrical side table: £108, La Redoute
These handy tables are useful to have around the garden for parties, by the side of the lounger, or even as additional seating. They are made of fibre cement which is strong, as well as water and UV resistant. The matte surface, solid shape and bright colour all look great on grass and among softer planting. The built-in handles help you move these tables around easily as you need. It’s easy to keep clean with soap and water but should stay indoors over winter.
George Home Aylesbury 3-piece garden set: £199, Asda
This bargain of a set includes two benches as well as a dining table that can seat six. The design is basic but practical enough to meet most needs. The table is made of oiled eucalyptus with galvanised fittings that won’t rust. The table and benches are slatted to dry out quickly after a rain shower, there’s also a hole for a parasol if you want to add one. It’s easy to put together and maintain – treating with oil regularly will keep it working well.
The verdict: outdoor tables
West Elm’s table is stylish, with a mosaic inlay that gives your garden a Mediterranean feel. It’s a coffee table, but large enough for casual eating, drinking and creating a focus for a seated area in the garden. It’s among the more expensive on the list, but it can be used indoors too.