'Rolls Royce benches': New brand takes gardening world by storm

Annabel Payne, inset, with one of her benches

Annabel Payne of Norfolk Garden Furniture with one of her high-quality Norfolk-made benches - Credit: Norfolk Garden Furniture

A new garden furniture brand is set to make its debut at the Chelsea Flower Show less than a year after launching. 

Stylist Annabel Payne founded Norfolk Garden Furniture during lockdown, producing 19th century-inspired pieces with an eye to expand from benches. 

Ms Payne, who lives in Salthouse, said: "During lockdown I couldn't really do my job as a stylist - I couldn't go to people's homes or visit trade shows. So I had a think about the antique pieces I really liked and started working with benches. 

Norfolk Garden Furniture

Norfolk Garden Furniture will be featured at the Chelsea Flower Show - Credit: Norfolk Garden Furniture

"I come from an engineering family so had some support adapting designs so that they were manufacturable by modern-day standards. 

"I'm now having my pieces produced right here in Norfolk, in 8mm galvanised steel." 

The pieces are built for durability, Ms Payne said: "I wanted to build something that would stand the test of time. They needed to be able to withstand British downpours and damp days on the coast. 

Norfolk Garden Furniture

Norfolk Garden Furniture is built for "wet British weather" - Credit: Norfolk Garden Furniture

"We went through so many tests to find the right quality of paint which also felt lovely and looked great. We now have 20 colours available - from your more muted Farrow and Ball-style shades to buttercup yellows and bright reds."

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And Ms Payne's work is already a hit with the gardening community, having already received a commission for a bench for the Chelsea Flower Show in September. 

She said: "I think the professional garden design world could be a real niche audience for me because the pieces are so classic and well-made. 

"In time I would like to expand from benches to coffee tables - and I can also do bespoke larger benches and tree seats

"The issue with launching lots of new products is that the tools it takes to create them are so specialised, so it could take months to get them right."

Norfolk Garden Furniture bench

Annabel Payne founded Norfolk Garden Furniture during lockdown - Credit: Norfolk Garden Furniture

Currently Ms Payne's benches are being sold in three sites in Norfolk: Norfolk Living in Burnham Market, Bayfield Hall Antiques in Holt and The Romantic Garden Nursery in Swannington. 

The pieces, which come as two and half, three and four-seater, also retail online at the norfolkgardenfurniture.com website. 

Ms Payne added: "These pieces actually retail in a couple of different streams - high end garden furniture but also antiques, which is a sector that has gone absolutely wild at the moment." 

Norfolk Garden Furniture comes in 20 shades

Norfolk Garden Furniture comes in 20 shades - Credit: Norfolk Garden Furniture

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