We produce garden swing seats, pure and simple, nothing else. No folding tables, no scented candles or garden statuary, just swing seats, no gimmicks, and not even a ‘buy one get one free’! We are very good at what we do because we concentrate on producing just one high quality product which you will buy with confidence for its longevity and practicality.
My favourite place in Great Aunt Edith’s garden was on her swing seat. There I would sit reading and dreaming until it was time to go home. One day, I promised myself, I too would have a swing seat. The years rolled by and still no swing seat, so I decided to produce one to my design. There were however, certain criteria that had to be included so, building on the original idea of those made in the early 1900s the research began.
- We resolved that they should be produced in Yorkshire. Our County has a great tradition of manufacturing, and for the last 20 years much of this has been sent abroad, mainly to the Far East and yes, we have lost many skilled craftsmen but if you search, skilled craftsmen are still around, it just takes a little internet digging and talking to local people.
- Our swing seats had to be maintenance free. They would have to stand up to rigorous use year on year by all members of family and their friends, young and old plus the odd snoozing cat and lazy dog. They would be sat upon, jumped on, swung gently and sometimes perhaps furiously, and yet in the blink of an eye, would return to looking as serene and beautiful as ever.
- The swing seats would have to withstand the vagaries of our British weather; wet and blustery or relentless hot scorchers. The frames would be sturdy enough not to blow over and the fabrics would have to be rot, fade and weatherproof. Each swing seat would need an overall cover that would envelop the entire seat giving absolute protection from the elements. Books, magazines, precious cushions and rugs could then be left outside under its protection without fear of being damaged or blown away. . The Yorkshire Dales is a great place for testing these needs, so if the structure stood up to the temperamental weather fronts that hit our garden, we reckoned the design would then be fairly immovable wherever they were situated.
- Our garden furniture would be required to last many years and be handed down through generations. Refuse tips are bulging with cheap, badly made furniture these days that soon after it is bought has out lived its usefulness, becomes quickly forgotten and clogs up huge areas of landfill on refuse tips. That we definitely did not want for our garden swing seats. We have designed and made them to age gracefully and become much loved family heirlooms so that over the years they would gather their own history. Inevitably they would acquire a few knocks and bumps along the way but still continue to give endless hours of fun and pleasure to their owners. They would become part of family histories with memories of family get togethers, the times they became problem solving retreats, be used as places for romantic trysts, and for the younger generations they would be hidey holes and secret dens. Our swing seats or hammocks, call them what you will, must be useful and much loved well into the future.
- We thought about what we ourselves would want from our garden furniture. Our house is busy with family and friends popping in and out, extra meals suddenly needed, last minute arrangements altered and animals continually under our feet. We certainly didn’t want to worry about whether we would have to rush outside when black clouds loomed overhead with a threat of rain to rescue our cushions and other bits and pieces on our garden furniture. Any product that looks after itself is OK with me!
THE SPEC WAS HIGH …..
- The metal frame is made of tubular steel with a diameter of 3.75mm. so the swing seat is weighty and therefore stable. We designed holes in the flexible feet so that the seats could be fastened to the ground.
- We looked at weatherproof fabrics for the awnings, side panels and overall cover and Sunbrella and Sauleda came out tops on quality, reliability and price. They are guaranteed not to rot or fade and Verdigris from trees and any ‘left overs’ from passing birds can be cleaned off by scrubbing with a hose pipe and cold water.
- The upholstery fabric for the cushions (also Sunbrella and Sauleda) had the texture of cotton, it was comfortable to sit on, tough enough to withstand years of use and yet easily cleaned. Machine washing at low temperatures removed any marks and the fabric drip dried efficiently.
The cushions themselves had to be soft and comfortable. Cushions with foam interiors can become hard and lumpy after a time; that material does not fare very well outside and, as the swing seats are in gardens from March to November in all weathers, we decided that interior springs with hemp padding would be the answer.
The fabric colours for covering the frame and upholstering the cushions had to be kind on the eye so that wherever it sat in the garden it blended in with the landscape. In the early 1900s when swing seats became fashionable, brightly patterned fabrics were used, big bold stripes and large floral designs however, todays colour choices lean towards more muted and soft tones, so that is what we chose.
We wanted customers to have an easy trouble free ordering system to look at. There are just a couple of choices re ‘extras’ regarding cushion cover quality, plus the option of delivery and whether a customer would like their swing seat erected professionally for them.
We have achieved our aim of keeping production local. Our suppliers are interested in producing their components for the swing seats and often make suggestions for improvements which is really helpful. Also just think, being local we are not bedevilled by language problems, shipping traumas or long air flights to meet our suppliers. When needed, we just hop into the car and visit them.
I like to think that Aunt Edith would be pleased that her swing seat became the foundation of a small British business. Our seats are modern and efficient yet valued and loved just as much as those originals in the 1900s many of which were sent all over the world to grace verandas, gardens and estates of the British Empire.