The Yard Fairy’s Guide to Outdoor Furniture Buying
The point of having a plant-filled, luscious backyard is to be able to enjoy all that it has to offer. The best way to do this is to sit comfortably on a bench or around a table in quiet contemplation or with friends. So at some point in your landscaping project, you’ll want to begin the process for selecting and adding furniture to your patio and to various “R and R areas” of your yard.
When choosing outdoor furniture, carefully consider the different types and styles that are available. What you decide on largely has to do with your personal taste, your budget and whatever fits in with your garden’s theme.
While aesthetics factor in to a certain extent, what it all comes down to in the end is simplicity, practicality and comfort. A sturdy, durable chair is much more likely than a flimsy, pretty one, to survive the elements and endure whatever abuse (however unintentional) may take place during family barbecues.
Patio furniture is typically available in wood, plastic and metal varieties. The right type for you will depend largely on your preference and needs.
Wood patio furniture.
Wooden outdoor furniture creates a more cottage or natural garden feel. It is generally the most expensive type of furniture to buy new, as it comes from cut trees of all types such as Cedar, Oak, or Pine. The benefits of buying wooden patio furniture are that it is sturdy, can last a long time if protected properly, and comes in a wide variety of pieces.
If price isn’t an issue for you (or if you’ve found a great source for good quality secondhand wood furniture), then you’ll love the luxurious yet earthy look and feel that wood furniture brings to your yard and garden area. Wood furniture belongs in any garden and fits any theme, whether it is contemporary or more modern in style.
Check the type of wood before buying your outdoor furniture, as some are more durable and sustaining than others. Good wood types are Teak, Eucalyptus, Cedar, or Cypress . There are also lesser varieties that may not stand the test of time in the garden as well as a good quality variety will. The Yard Fairy encourages you to ask as many questions as possible before purchasing your wood outdoor furniture, as you can end up saving substantial dollars as a result.
Wooden patio furniture is available in many different styles. There are more formal dining chairs, such as those you’d find in a dining room, and there are chairs that feature a slanted back, allowing for greater comfort and relaxation. Wooden tree swings make a wonderful addition to any outdoor scene and attach to your trees with minimal . One of the more beautiful uses of wooden furniture is in a wooden bridge over a small pond or creek that might run through the garden.
Take precautions to ensure that your wood furniture will be preserved for as long as possible. Use a water-proof sealant for protection against the elements. Certain types of sealants such as matte, gloss, or shine can also improve the look of the furniture.
Metal patio furniture.
Metal patio furniture costs slightly less than wooden furniture and can last much longer on your patio. It can also be more durable, depending on the type of metal it’s made of. Generally, any metal furniture will last much longer than a plastic or wooden set would.
The two most popular types of metal furniture are aluminum and wrought iron. Both types hold up well against the elements, and are crafted into all sorts of decorative styles. Aluminum furniture is the lighter of the two and thus makes it easier to move about when suddenly one has the need to rearrange the garden patio a bit. Aluminum furniture can also be customized and sealed with certain colors. This is a handy feature for what you want to match the freshly painted fence or pick a prevailing color scheme in the garden.
Aluminum outdoor furniture comes highly recommended for gardens with a formal or modern feel. This type of furniture is typically more boxy than it is curvy, and also includes less embellishments. This goes well with the “minimalistic” modern garden style. Umbrella stands, rocking benches, and entire table sets can be found made out of aluminum.
Wrought iron furniture is the other popular type of metal furniture. Iron furniture tends to be slightly heavier and less easy to move about. If you do decide to relocate your outdoor furniture, take care not to drag it since this will leave scratches and marks on the finished patio. Iron furniture sets can withstand greater weights and break less easily than aluminum would.
Iron outdoor furniture coordinates well in the cottage or natural style of garden. The typical wrought-iron style will feature swirls at the end of the chair arms. Curves, swirled patterns and other graceful shapes give wrought iron furniture a softer and more romantic look. Just like its aluminum counterpart, iron furniture includes umbrella stands, lounge chairs, tables, and much more.
One of the biggest drawbacks to metal patio furniture is that it will rust if left out to battle the sun, wind and rain. As soon as the paint chips off the furniture, make sure to immediately repaint it. Beyond that, this furniture will stay in good condition with just a few swipes of a damp cloth before being used.
Plastic patio furniture.
There are a lot of stigmas attached to plastic patio furniture — that it is not as stable, durable, or sturdy as its metal and wooden counterparts. Each of those claims are true, however, that does mean in anyway that buying plastic should not be an option. This fact is meant more as a reminder rather than a detracting from being able to buy a perfectly suitable plastic set for your garden.
Plastic patio furniture can be found in hundreds of thousands of styles at many major stores. A specific set that’s perfect for your garden is certain to turn up. While a plastic umbrella stand may not be the best idea, plastic chairs, benches, and tables serve their purpose nicely. When buying plastic outdoor furniture, make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand being sat on. Many times, a plastic chair will fall apart suddenly and without warning. While it is easy to recycle this type of furniture and buy a new piece, frequent replacements can be costly – so make sure the original furniture you choose is as sturdy and strong as possible.
The biggest benefit to buying plastic patio furniture is that it is cheap enough to buy a few pieces at once. If you decide to host a big family barbeque one July afternoon and suddenly realize there aren’t enough seats for Aunt and Uncle, simply venture down to the store and pick up a few chairs. Plastic furniture can help in a bind and can be easily stored for other social events.
Plastic furniture does not rust or need to be specially sealed; at most you’ll want to clean it with a damp cloth if left outside for an extended period of time. It won’t change shape if left in the rain, but it might slightly fade after a few years. Plastic furniture does become brittle if left out in the sun.
Ultimately, one of these furniture options will provide you with what you are looking for. To find the best set for your garden, really look at the style of landscape you’re cultivating. From there, decide what colors and styles might look best. A lightly colored wood or white colored set might look nice in a cottage garden, while black iron or a mahogany might better serve a formal garden. Whatever you choose, there is no limit to what one can put on the patio.
All pictures are property of The Yard Fairy.