I loved my teak dining set with sling back chairs and a circular teak table. Plenty of room to seat 6-8 people when we invited over friends or the family for a barbecue.

But it has gone now, or more precisely it has been recycled to a very good neighbour. In its place has come Barlow Tyrie's Aura deep seating range, consisting of an armchair, two 2-seater settees along and a matching ottoman. Meanwhile, to keep with the matching teak on the seats, I matched my Aura lounge set up with the teak, 1-metre square Haven conversational table. The old table and chairs were for dining, without question the Aura deep seating pieces are for lounging, so the two sets are fundamentally different... so why make the change you may ask? 

What is deep seating or low dining garden furniture?

When you analyse the scenario the deep seating is far more practical and comfortable for every aspect of a BBQ afternoon/evening including the pre-dinner nibbles and after-dinner coffee, with the notable exception of the actual eating of a meal. Well, you can balance your plate on your knee with any low dining set (as they are now referred to) but it's not really acceptable and we were lucky enough to have a dining table in our extension which is pretty damned near the BBQ and patio, and feels that way with the double doors open. So the deal was done and the switch was made. The new set was on its way.

Barlow Tyrie packaging

As usual and as expected the packaging is first class. The cardboard is very strong and where necessary individual parts may have additional protection and a small amount of plastic is used. The cardboard can be easily recycled but be warned there is quite a lot so you may have to cut it up or take it to your local recycling depot. It is far better to have to do this than have the furniture arrive with some damage which is very unlikely with any Barlow Tyrie product.

How to build your Aura deep seating furniture

Most Barlow Tyrie products don't need a lot of DIY construction except putting the legs onto tables but the Aura Deep Seating does need you to carry out some handy work. Thankfully the pieces you have to put together are fairly large and go together quite simply.

The short metal legs have to be attached to the metal frame. No problem there. The back and side box sections then have to be attached to the metal frame. The attaching bolts are unusual and maybe purpose made and, of course, there is a purpose-made tool for the job supplied. I found it easier to work on my lawn and pop the box sections into the metal base and then, gently, roll over the whole unit until it was upside down on the lawn and then it is far easier to tighten the bolts. It is helpful to have some assistance the first time but I take my Aura seating set down every winter so I have got quite used to doing it myself.

A view of the internal metal frame of the Barlow Tyrie Aura range.
A view of the internal metal frame of the Barlow Tyrie Aura range.

One practical point to make: make sure you put the seam of the black woven mesh along the back or the inside edge and not across the face where it can be seen. The frame is complete and the cushions are the finishing touch and they couldn't be easier.

The cushions are pretty bulky so take up more room than you might imagine when they arrive and do present a storage issue for the winter months. Once the frame is stored in my shed the cushions go into my loft for their winter rest.

The base cushions simply sit snugly onto the frames and the back cushion drops in and again is self holding. I chose the shower-proof cushions which are not quite as soft to the touch as the ordinary cushions but they prevent panic setting in if you get a short sharp shower or leave the cushions out overnight and they get covered in dew by the morning. The sun will dry them but it can take a little while so be mindful of that if you are planning an early morning cup of coffee outside. It's common sense but fundamentally the cushions are pretty easy going.

How comfortable is the Aura range?

Now it's time to sit on the completed article and it doesn't disappoint. The solid metal frames and box section surrounds give massive support and stability whilst the cushions allow you to sink in but not sink down. We also went for the Ottoman which we mostly use as a leg rest but, of course, I rarely get to try it out but my wife and daughters, as well as Grandma all assure me it's the best seat in the house.

You would struggle to reach the Colchester Coffee table from such a relaxed position but Barlow Tyrie has thought of that as well and supplied very decorative flat and wide teak arms all around the Aura seats and you can easily balance a glass or two and a small plate within easy reach. Perfect.

Aftercare of your Aura low dining set

With the exception of hosing off any bird droppings from the frame, there is very little aftercare required except for the teak elements. I have used our Aura deep seating as my test product when I reviewed the Barlow Tyrie care range, consisting of; a teak cleaner, a colour guard solution, teak oil and an anti-wasp solution, all of which you can read about in an earlier blog found here, so please take a more detailed look there.

Does the Barlow Tyrie Aura range have style?

Well, they are boxy, aren’t they? There is no disguising the fact, especially the Aura deep seating chair. However, it is a modern style and when you look at garden furniture from 10 years ago the Aura's styling today looks right on the money.

But it is the function rather than the form that is the real winning element. I have already mentioned the wide arms with the glorious teak tops that are very practical but the quality and strength of the welding make the furniture feel fit for a King…… or a Queen! You could pile three, four, or even squeeze five little ‘un’s onto the 3 Seater Settee without any fear of stressing the dark green metal frame which compliments the black woven sides and backs. The choice of colours for the cushions is impressive and this can make a massive difference to the overall look of the set. We decided to go practical and conservative here.

A birds eye view of the Barlow Tyrie Aura deep seating range.
A birds eye view of the Barlow Tyrie Aura deep seating range.

In conclusion: Is it worth the money?

The Aura deep seating range is not cheap, but you pay for the best quality so if you are looking for a range to invest in that will last a very long time, is practical, and has a distinctive style and you can create your own personalised set I would highly recommend the range. It is also one for the generations as the kids will love the space it creates whilst the older generation will appreciate the comfort.

The complete Aura seating set as pictured above is available to purchase right here on GardenSite. You can view the full specifications and buy online here.