The 12 questions I'm asked most often about Armadillo Sun's waterproof fabric furniture…
When you’re deciding upon garden furniture, there is an array of materials to choose from: rattan, wood, concrete, metal, plastic… and many variations of each.
An option that may not jump to mind is soft fabric outdoor furniture, filled with comfortable, body-supporting polystyrene beads.
I certainly never considered it until a trip to the USA in 2012: I was introduced to stylish fabric furniture that I’d be happy to have in my living room, but could be left outside all year in the sunshine and rain.
This fabric is a game-changer for garden furniture.
It's extraordinary to see a soft cudshioned sofa sat outdoors here in the UK. So it's not surprising that I'm asked lots of questions about it!
Here are the ten questions I hear the most, but if there’s something else you want to know don't hesitate to get in touch.
Armadillo Sun are specialists in garden bean bags and outdoor fabric furniture, handcrafting our designs in a converted barn in Kent for sale online. If you’d like to try out our outdoor furniture, we take up a stand at several RHS Flower Shows.
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I look forward to seeing you for a nice sit-down!
Outdoor Fabric Furniture & Garden Bean Bags - Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can outdoor fabric furniture be left outside all year?
Yes, it can if we've made it!
We design it to be left outdoors in sun, rain, snow - whatever the weather chooses to throw at us.
The fabric we use is marine-grade and made to withstand high levels of UV, as well as seawater, chlorinated water, and rain.
It does not need treating or any special maintenance - just a wipe-down (or jet-wash) to remove any surface dirt and debris after winter.
2. Can outdoor furniture made from fabric get wet?
Yes, all Armadillo Sun soft garden furniture can be left out in the rain. In fact, it can be left outside all year.
The fabric we use is solution-dyed acrylic that is known for its durability, fade-resistance, and colourfastness. Water bounces off it and, if the heavens open in a downpour, it’ll run straight through the woven fabric without leaving any damage.
The filling for outdoor furniture is important too. With some garden sofa cushions the outer fabric feels dry, but when you sit down, you soon discover that the interior foam is still wet.
We fill our soft garden furniture with premium polysterene beads which do not absorb water.
Instead water bounces off, or runs straight through, our furniture. So it dries quickly and removes the squelchy breeding ground for mould and other nasties.
Plus no-one will leave your garden party with a soggy bottom!
3. How quickly do garden bean bags take to dry when they have been out in the rain?
Our outdoor bean bags dry very quickly. On a sunny spring day, if you've been caught in a seasonal rainshower, you can expect to be back outside sitting comfortably within five minutes. On a wintery day, or if humidity is very high, then it might take a little longer for surface water to evaporate - a quick wipe with a cloth will speed up the drying process.
We can confidently say that our fabric garden furniture will dry rapidly because of two key elements of the premium materials we use:
(i) marine-grade fabric that repels water - rainwater will bead and run off the surface of the fabric. If it pools in the seat of the bean bag, a quick shake and the water runs off.
(ii) premium bead filling that does not absorb water - if any water does penetrate the weave of the fabric it runs straight through the bean bag and is not absorbed by the filling. This means there is no risk of a soggy bottom when you sit down after a rainshower!
4. Is bean bag garden furniture comfortable?
Our bestselling product is the Armadillo Sun outdoor bean bag because it is so comfortable.
We use the same premium bean bag filling for the Armadillo Sun Outdoor Fabric Sofas and the Luxury Sun Lounger. This makes our garden furniture suitable for all-weathers, but also incredibly comfortable.
The lounging experience is so different from hard metal garden chairs, or the foam-filled cushions on a standard sectional sofa. With beans that mould around your body, this outdoor furniture is lovely to sit on, and would be a respectable addition to any living room too.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our materials and the beans we use hold their shape and stay supportive.
We don’t use interior bags within the furniture because, in our experience, they encourage uncomfortable clumps and lumps. Instead we allow the beans to flow freely around inside the furniture so that it moulds around you.
5. How easy is it to get up out of bean bag furniture?
To address the question that I suspect some will be asking:
If I sit down into a garden bean bag, will I ever get back up again?!
Let me dispel concerns that these are like the bean bags of the 70s – saggy, flappy things with as much support as a blancmange – these are not the bean bags we are making!
As a customer said herself:
Armadillo Sun garden furniture is filled generously and provides full and proper support.
It won’t be that you can’t get up, it’ll simply be that you won’t want to get up!
If you’d like to give any of our furniture the “sit-test” then please sign-up to our newsletter. We take up a stand at the major RHS Flower Shows, including Chelsea, and our subscribers are first to know where we are off to next. We sometimes have tickets to give away too...
6. Can I put the cover of my fabric garden sofa or outdoor bean bag in the washing machine to clean it?
No - but you don’t need to! The fabric is stain and mould resistant, so you just need a cloth, water and mild detergent to wipe it clean.
Or, if your cushioned sun lounger has been out all winter and, like me, you’re a little on the lazy side (I like to consider it carefully prioritising my time!), just jet wash it clean from the mud and seasonal debris. It’ll come up a dream. I do mine at the same time as my patio paving to get ready for garden-party season!
7. Will fabric garden furniture go mouldy?
The outdoor fabric we use is resistant to mould, but it sometimes still grows on any old unwiped stains. The easiest thing to do is give it a jet wash, and it’ll look like new.
Take a look at the video below to see how we quickly spruce up our outdoor sofa cushions after a winter left outdoors...
8. How long will fabric garden furniture last?
Armadillo Sun fabric furniture is made from woven acrylic or polyolefin yarn that is solution-dyed, rather than piece-dyed. This means that the yarn is coloured all the way through – like the orange of a carrot – and doesn't just sit in a thin layer on the surface – like the green skin of a cucumber.
The result is resort-level UV resistance, and colour and pattern that will not fade or rub off.
The fabric comes with a 5-year manufacturer guarantee against fade and rot too, for greater peace of mind.
This fabric also has a high abrasion resistance so won’t scratch, even when used on a gravel patio. Plus, we handmake all our products with high attention to detail and secure overlocked seams. We do offer a 2-year guarantee for any issues on stitching, but you’ll see from our reviews that this is not something we rely on.
9. How heavy is bean bag garden furniture?
One of the benefits of soft garden furniture with a bead filling is that it is lightweight – for example, the Armadillo Sun Luxury Sun Lounger is 7kg and about half the weight of a traditional sun lounger. It can be moved and rearranged easily - without compromising your back.
Whether you want to be able to follow the sun around your garden, or change-up your patio to host different events, bean bag furniture is flexible and versatile.
All our garden bean bags, cushioned loungers and fabric garden sofas come with handles at the back so they are easy to move.
This is garden furniture that can even be moved indoors when needed without worrying about scratching the paint off living room walls or damaging a doorframe.
10. Can I customise my garden furniture order?
We want you to love your garden furniture and for it to fit your outdoor space perfectly. We will always do whatever we can to tailor your furniture for you.
Please get in touch if you have something in mind or you’d like to tweak the details on the pieces we have available.
11. How and when will my garden sofa, cushioned sun lounger, or garden bean bag be delivered?
All our soft garden furniture comes filled with beans and ready to relax on.
Put your screwdriver away, there won’t be any need for it.
Bean bag furniture is light, but it is large, so your order will come on one or more pallets. We use a courier and will always email you when your order is ready for delivery.
For garden bean bags, you can expect delivery within 5-7 working days. Garden Sofas and Luxury Sun Loungers are made-to-order so take between 4-6 weeks.
If you have specific requirements in terms of timing or location of delivery, please let us know.
12. How often do the beads in bean bag furniture need replacing?
This depends on how much the furniture is used but we’d suggest a top-up evey 2-3 years. You don’t need to replace the beans just add more to keep the filling to the level of support you prefer.
If you have any questions about Armadillo Sun's outdoor fabric furniture please contact me by email or on the phone.