How to select and care for your outdoor cushions

Garden and patio furniture is much more than a spot for your family and friends to congregate. The right furniture transforms your garden and patio into havens of pleasure and relaxation.


Why do we have cushions on our garden furniture?

It sounds like a silly question because obviously, we want to make the seating for our backs and posteriors more comfortable, but cushions have become more than just simple padding for chairs.

Investing in the right cushions for patio and garden furniture is an important part of making your entertainment area an oasis for comfortable outdoor living. An obvious benchmark for outdoor cushions is the fact that they should be able to withstand exposure to the weather, but when you choose cushions for outdoor living, you should also consider posture support, pressure relief, stress on the coccyx hips and spine, and allowing good blood circulation. For people with high levels of allergies, it is also important to choose a hypoallergenic foam and cushion cover.

Carefully select the type of foam you prefer, and the size and shape of cushions, because a long companionable evening should not leave you feeling like you have spent the night on horseback.

Select the type of fabric and colours that will brighten up your garden and patio.

Next, select the right covers to protect your investment and make the cushions last as long as the furniture.

ClearSpell garden and patio furniture and cushion covers tick all the boxes. They:

Are 100% waterproof to protect the furniture, cushions and upholstery from rain and moisture.

Have an amazing 50+ UV rating to keep out 98% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Are soft and easily manageable. They will not scuff or scratch the furniture or cushions and one person can quickly fit or remove them.

Can be securely tied down with zip locks and ripstop ties.

You have the choice of exactly the right size and shape of cover for any piece of furniture and for cushions stored together or protected as part of the furniture.


What is the best material from which to make outdoor cushions?

Most outdoor cushions are made from foam or some other padding and enveloped in a pretty upholstery covering.

Thanks to modern technology, we now also have an incredibly wide choice of memory foam, open- or closed-cell polyurethane foam, flotation foam, and compressed polyester batting or polyester fibre fill. Modern choices of foam remain by far the most comfortable and versatile material for outdoor cushions.


What is the best foam for outdoor cushions?

The first foam recorded in history was made from rubber tree sap by the Aztecs and Mayans about 2500 years ago. 21st – Century foam is very different from that of the ancients, and in fact, even from the foam we grew up with.

The type of foam used for outdoor cushions has pockets of gas trapped inside the pores or cells, making it soft and springy. It is best to use a high-density foam, which is firmer and lasts much longer than the low-density types.

Outdoor cushions can be made from different layers of foam or from moulded foam, shaped to the curves of the body.

Modern foam is made from polyurethane, neoprene, PVC, or EPDM rubber and is classified as either open cell or closed cell.

  • High-density Open-cell foam:

Open cell foam is more expensive, but it is more flexible, springy and soft.

It is not like a sponge but is designed to let water travel through at least half its cells connected like tiny highways carrying the water right through and out the bottom, drying out quickly.

Most of these cushions are treated against mildew and mould.

These cushions can be used all year round and are very comfortable.

They can be used in all climates, but last longer in dryer conditions.

  • High-density Closed-cell foam:

Closed cell foam is sturdier and firmer because it has more solid cells and the spaces are not connected to each other.

These cushions do not absorb water.

These cushions generally last longer than open cell cushions in wet climates but are not as comfortable as open cell cushions.


What is Memory foam and can it be used for outdoor cushions?

Memory foam was developed by NASA so the astronauts could spend the many hours in a seated position comfortably and to cushion them from the high-G forces and possible crash landings.

If an astronaut can spend days and weeks sitting on memory foam cushions, imagine what memory foam will do for your back and posterior while lounging in your garden or patio! They are much more expensive, but you get what you are paying for: ultimate luxury and comfort in outdoor living.

Memory foam is a polyurethane material which uses your body heat to soften and mould to your body shape. Once you get up, the heat and pressure are removed and the foam returns to its usual shape.


What is Flotation foam and can it be used for outdoor cushions?

Flotation foam is a dense, firm and waterproof foam normally used in marine vessels for better buoyancy, but covered with a layer of high-density open- or closed-cell foam, it is a fantastic choice for outdoor cushions.

Made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) and 98% air, they are extremely lightweight,  buoyant, durable and almost maintenance-free. It is a more expensive foam, but the long-term advantages make it a worthwhile investment.


Protecting your outdoor cushions

Outdoor living demands comfortable seating and furniture and cushions that will still look bright and attractive after many years of service.

Choosing the right type of outdoor cushions and upholstery fabrics is the first part of this investment. Protecting them is the second, and often most neglected, but equally important part.

By protecting them with Duraspell garden and patio furniture covers, you can keep the cushions in pristine condition for decades.


Cushion Care

The fabrics for outdoor cushions available today are extremely durable, but the sun’s ultraviolet rays, moisture, dirt and grime can dull and break down even the toughest weaves.

Keep them covered when not in use and clean them regularly if you want them to live at least as long as your furniture.

To keep them immaculate, start by regularly dusting off surface dirt, then use a sponge or soft bristle brush to apply a solution of ¼ cup mild detergent diluted 5 litres of water. Rinse the cushions thoroughly to remove all the soap and allow the fabric to air dry, and your cushions should be as bright and cheery as the day you bought them.


Please check our buyer’s guide if you need help working out what size garden corner set covers you require. Click here