CHOOSING A PATIO SET
I had owned my last patio set for several years and knew it was becoming a little worn. I really wanted to replace it last year but unfortunately never got around to it and so made do. We didn't have great weather (again) in the United Kingdom last summer and my patio set wasn't used that much in truth but this year when we had our beautiful and premature warm weather in March, my husband prepared to bring out our existing garden furniture from our garage where it lives. The car sleeps on the drive!
When hubby went to retrieve our table he proclaimed that it wasn't worth setting up as the edges where the metal rim meets the glass were too rusty and he felt it wouldn't be long until the glass table top became too loose to use. The six chairs looked okay but he insisted that really they weren't, as the colour came off if they were rubbed. Well, it's usually me who likes to spend money rather than hubby and so I had no reason to doubt his words.
This set consisted of a large rectangular table with six folding chairs and a parasol. I decided that as we don't eat outside very often I would rather my new set be a four place one which would then free up more space on the patio; when we eat outside I have other chairs and a table that can be used. As I was also on the lookout for a new garden bench I thought that a four seater patio set would be ideal as most often garden time is enjoyed by only four members of my family. Also, we are more often sitting in the garden having a chat as we enjoy a cup of tea or a drink rather than a meal and so a small table is adequate. So what would I look for in my next patio set?
*Something made of a material that could be left outside in the garden until the autumn.
*Not too pricey as I feel most of these garden sets don't remain looking as pristine even if they are left outside only for a season. Wasteful perhaps, but I would rather not pay too much and then not worry if the set becomes weathered; I can buy a new set without guilt if I haven't spent too much money on it.
*A set that blends in reasonably well with my other garden furniture, or at least doesn't clash.
*Folding chairs preferably with arm rests.
*A table that either folds or the legs can be removed so that it can be easily stored, without taking up too much garage space, at the end of the summer.
As usual I looked on-line to get an idea of what was available but I still wanted to look at the patio sets set up rather than just on a screen, before purchasing.
I went out on two or three occasions to look for a set before finally deciding. I looked in:
B & Q
Several local non-chain stores
I saw some nice sets and some not so nice. I liked the wooden sets and did consider one of these but those that I saw within my budget didn't have arm rests on the chairs. This wasn't a necessity but a preference; I do like a comfortable chair when I'm sitting in the garden and the sun is shining.
Most of the sets we saw were six or even eight seaters. Those which were smaller didn't have very solid looking chairs to accompany the table.
Our last place to look was Asda. We were actually surprised at the choice here and thought the garden furniture all seemed to be reasonably priced. Here there were several sets that I felt could have been suitable for us making our decision not so easy. I am not decisive, I'm afraid.
We (hubby and I) considered that the Miami four piece patio set was the best for us. This was displayed in black and red (black table, red chairs and parasol) and all black. I thought the red looked very attractive and cheerful but finally we both decided that the all black set would be a better purchase as if we later bought more garden furniture it would be easier to match with all black.
PURCHASING/GETTING IT HOME
As the weather was nice this part of the Asda superstore which sold the garden furniture had been busy but when we had finally made our choice there didn't seem to be anyone around to help. My husband went off to look for a sales assistant while I went to the nearby aisles to choose a bottle of wine which we could drink once the patio set was set up. I'm very forward thinking and can prioritise.
The patios sets were packed in long flat cardboard boxes and the pies were stacked rather high. A helpful assistant was found who then went off to look for an elusive trolley (bigger than those meant for groceries) while I dithered again wondering if I were making the right decision in choosing the black over the red and black!
Once t sales assistant had located a trolley, he and my husband managed to get a box down from the high pile. This was a little awkward but didn't take too long.
The patio set and wine were paid for at the check-out and the assistant pushed the trolley to the nearby car park then helped my husband to manoeuvre it into the back of our car. Although we have a people carrier car it was still an awkward task to try to fit this long and rather heavy box into the car, also bearing in mind that the table top was glass. If we hadn't been intending to collect two more passengers en-route for home then all five rear passenger seats could have been folded to make ample space but, this wasn't the case. We managed to fit the box into our car but if your car is small it might be better to have the garden furniture delivered.
It didn't take hubby long to assemble the patio set. The chairs were folded and already assembled so really it was just a case of fitting the table together and assembling the two parts of the parasol.
Instructions were supplied, although it was pretty straightforward anyway. But I do always think it is better to have a look at the instructions rather than guess as sometimes a pack of screws seems to appear from nowhere and one realises (or hubby does) that the wrong screws were used in the wrong place. But in this case he must have looked at the instructions as he said they were clear and easy to follow and no problems were encountered. He didn't even lose the screwdriver, which is unusual!
This table doesn't fold but can be taken apart with the use of a screwdriver when we wish to store it for the winter.
To assemble it's a case of fitting four shaped metal legs to the underside of the table top and to a square stabilising frame.
All was going very well until my husband began to fix the parasol together but then he, unfortunately, discovered one piece was missing from the (until we opened it) sealed box. The parasol should have consisted of two pieces-the umbrella part and the extension tube. With this part missing we couldn't use the parasol as it wasn't long enough to reach the ground. The missing part was collected soon after, as I will explain later.
We already had a parasol base but if you don't have one then please bear in mind that a base will have to be purchased separately if using the set on a hard surface.
A hexagonal key (allen key) is provided. Other tools needed are a spanner and a screwdriver.
WHAT THE MIAMI SET CONSISTS OF
This patio set consists of a black glass reflective topped table with a cut out circle in its centre for the parasol to be fitted through. It has four wide folding chairs. It might be worth mentioning that the parasol which is included doesn't have a tilt operation.
With the Miami set I particularly like the chairs which are far more comfortable than the seats which accompanied my last set. These chairs are wide and taking into account that they all have arm rests they do make for a comfortable sit down. Everyone thus far who has rested their rears on these seats has commented that they are far more comfortable than expected. Really, I am more impressed with the chairs than the rest of the set, although as whole the set is nice.
HOW DOES IT LOOK?
I am pleased with how it looks generally. When set up either with or without the parasol the Miami set does, in my opinion, look modern and inviting. It fits unobtrusively into our garden without taking up as much room as our previous table and chairs did.
200cm square design
Weight:Total product weight 36kgs.
Material:Steel, Textoline and Glass
Assembly Required- Yes
Weight Restriction-Seats maximum weight 110kg
AFTER SALES SERVICE
We bought this set on a Sunday. When we arrived home my husband began to assemble the set and the store was closed by the time we realised that part of the parasol was missing. I rang the store of purchase on the following day to explain and was told that if I could come into the store to collect then they would give the part from display all I needed was to show my receipt. I accepted this as, although I feel the onus of getting the part to me should have been on the store, I was happy just to get the missing piece quickly. My husband went on the following day to collect the part on his way home from work but there weren't any on display and so a sales assistant removed one from an existing set. I do hope they remembered to remove this box or to sell it as an incomplete set.
I chose the Miami six piece (four seater) set from Asda and paid £75.00 for it.
For some reason the website only shows the four seat set in red and black but the all black set is definitely still available in the Romford superstore; I believe not showing it is purely because the website isn't as good as it should be.
The same sized set is also available in both red/black. An all-black and a red/black eight seater sets are priced at £125.00.
A matching black relaxer is also sold in this range for the price of £25.00.
My next garden purchase may well be the black Miami double garden swing seat sold for the price of £50.00.
Asda, I understand, will deliver this patio set within 5-10 working days at the standard delivery charge of £8.95.
I prefer to collect my own purchases if possible as I'm impatient, but the sets are on the heavy side as well as being awkward so delivery is a good option for many.
I think it was a good buy for us but do feel that because of the materials used it won't look great for very many years. However, I thought this before purchasing but felt considering the cheap price I wouldn't let this put me off. The reason I think its longevity could be called into question is because as with most of these glass topped sets currently on sale, is the fact that the edging which goes around the rim of the table is usually metal; and rusts meaning that the glass of the table top then doesn't fit securely. It doesn't look so good either. We found that nearly all tables on sale were of the same type of design even those costing much more than the one I am reviewing, therefore wood may be a better option, if hoping for longevity, or plastic. Plastic I suppose must be the best material for standing up to the weather but often doesn't look quite so good (we do have a plastic set though which comes out at party times).
Because the table is made of black reflective glass and therefore shiny it really does show the dust. I was surprised at how dusty an outside table looked in such a short space of time. I have cleaned it much more frequently than my first one where the table top was of frosted glass. This isn't really a bad thing as it's very quick and easy to wipe over with a damp cloth with a little detergent on it. Once wiped over I know it is clean rather than just appearing so.
I think the Miami Patio Set is a good buy for a small garden or to use alongside other furniture.
Now I just hope we have a decent summer and I can get lots of use from my Miami Patio Set.