Selecting Outdoor Furniture

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the creation of outdoor living spaces. This is partly fueled by the number of home and garden television shows that address design and style for both indoor and outdoor areas.

Improved materials and technology have also made it possible to have beautiful outdoor furniture at reasonable prices.

Of course many people simply enjoy being outside and are looking to create a pleasant place to spend time, cook, eat, and entertain.

When looking for garden furniture, you will quickly discover a wide array of choices. There are a number of factors to consider in deciding what furniture is best.

Material options generally fall into three choices: wood, metal and fabric.

Wood Furniture

Wood is a classic material for the garden, but depending upon the design, may not be the most comfortable for extended periods of sitting. Teak is the best overall wood in terms of appearance, maintenance and longevity.

Less expensive woods may need an annual coat of preservative or varnish. Look for wood furniture that is certified as sustainably grown and harvested.

Synthetic wicker is another great option for a classic style. It looks just like real wicker but can stay outdoors year round and is much more sturdy. It has the added advantage of being lightweight and will often have a more contoured shape than regular wood.

Metal Furniture

The most prevalent metal in today’s outdoor furniture is lightweight aluminum. It allows for variation in color and finish texture, while remaining durable and weather resistant.

Though it may be designed to look like traditional cast iron, it is most often seen in more contemporary styles for a variety of uses. It is lightweight, portable and virtually maintenance-free.

Like wood, metal furnishings may be designed for use on their own or with fabric-covered cushions as seats and backrests.

Fabric and Color

The use of fabric gives you the opportunity to add comfort, style and color to your outdoor space. The choices are almost unlimited. Consider how the color you select will contrast or complement the exterior colors of your house.

You could also match the color of a flower from your ornamental garden. If you have animals or live in a wooded area, remember that white or off-white shades might not be the best choice.

Fabrics for seat cushions and backrests for outdoor use are designed to withstand the effects of rain and sunlight. They are typically lightweight and fast-drying.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Fabric covered components may last longer if they are brought inside for the winter.

A Functional Furniture for Outdoor Space

When selecting and arranging your garden furniture, be realistic about the use of your space: Will the area be used primarily for eating, relaxing or both?

If you plan to eat outdoors, think about connections to cooking areas. Will you be conveniently close to the kitchen or an outdoor grill? If not, your outdoor table may not be used as much as you had hoped.

For a multi-purpose outdoor space, be sure there is enough room for tables, chairs and lounging furniture. It is best to err on the side of leaving extra room for circulation. Outdoor parties and gatherings need lots of space to mingle and stroll.

Whether your outdoor space is limited or expansive, thoughtful selection of the best outdoor furniture will do much to enhance the enjoyment of your yard and garden.

Plan carefully, but then be sure to celebrate your new outside living space with a special meal or family gathering.