A Guide to Garden Furniture

As the warm summer months roll by, we are naturally drawn to our outdoor areas including the patio, deck, and others.  When properly planned and designed, they help bring your home’s living space outdoors and set the stage for fun and relaxation. With this in mind, there are some important factors that you need to consider when shopping for your outdoor furniture including functionality, materials, comfort, size, and cost. Purchasing outdoor furniture isn’t much different from purchasing indoor furniture only that the outdoor setting requires some special considerations. Take a look at these tips from The Garden Furniture Shop.

Think About the Weather

Exposure to the outdoor elements is often harsh on all furniture. There are some important questions that you need to ask yourself before choosing the outdoor furniture to install. Does your area constantly experience hot and dry weather? How often does it rain? Does the sun shine brightly on your outdoor space? Different weather elements will have a different effect on your furniture. For instance, high humidity levels can cause wood to rot while hot and dry conditions often cause wood to splinter and crack. On the other hand, strong winds can blow away aluminum furniture. And while iron is much heavier and won’t be sent flying, salty air can cause it to corrode and deteriorate. But perhaps the biggest threat to outdoor furniture is the sun. The harsh UV rays from the sun bleach wood and fabric, dull and discolor paint, and also degrade plastic and other synthetic materials.

You need to be realistic about the inherent properties of the materials when choosing outdoor furniture that will last. Regardless of what the product manufacturer claims, rubber and plastic are highly susceptible to sun damage while metals are almost entirely unaffected by UV rays. The damage to your plastic and rubber gets worse at higher elevations. And while you may find wood furniture with quality, factory-applied, and weather-resistant finish, with time, this finish will eventually wear and break down and you will have to refinish the wood or replace the furniture. You need to carefully consider how the furniture will look in 5, 10, and 20 years.

Consider Your Available Outdoor Space

You need to make measurements and consider how it is shaped. Is your balcony long and narrow or do you have a broad and wide deck? Same as with furnishing your living room, the area and shape of your outdoor space will help you determine the appropriate size of your outdoor furniture and what potential groupings can be accommodated. Also, be sure to leave ample space around your furniture to move around comfortably. Utilize the same traffic flow principles that you would apply for your indoor space.

If your outdoor area is small, consider a bar table set instead of a regular dining set. This is because bar tables are narrow and stools don’t require as much space as chairs. Cafe and bistro tables and chairs are also a good choice as they have a smaller profile.

Before heading out shopping, you need to create a sketch of the space, make measurements of its dimensions, and indicate them on the drawing. When heading to the store, take the drawing and a tape measure with you. This helps to avoid choosing furniture that’s either too small or too big for your space as it’s very easy to get the dimensions wrong in your head unless you are spatially gifted.

Figure Out Where to Place the Furniture

Determining where you will place your outdoor furniture will help you choose the most appropriate materials for that environment and surroundings. Does your patio or outdoor space have an overhead covering or is it exposed to the elements? Will the furniture be placed on soft ground and grass or on a solid surface such as a paved patio or a wooden deck?

For instance, it isn’t recommended to place softwoods like pine on a grassy surface in an exposed area. The moisture from the ground can lead to wood rot and cause the corrosion of certain metals.

Pay Attention to Comfort

The ideal outdoor living space should be fun and relaxing. Thus, you need to ensure that your outdoor furniture is as comfortable as possible. Consider chairs and lounges that come with cushions or add your own cushions and pillows. Consider choosing or using high-quality fade and mildew-resistant outdoor fabric.

When using cushions, remember that the furniture itself will last much longer than the upholstery. It is highly likely that you will replace the pillows more than one time throughout the life of your furniture. The best way to preserve the appearance and quality of your upholstery and fabrics is to put them away when they aren’t being used. If possible, store them after every use. However, you should always keep them out of the elements for the off-season.

Besides comfortable chairs, pieces such as recliners, rockers, and chaise lounges contribute to a relaxing outdoor living area. Be sure to test out the furniture before purchasing it. Hammocks and daybeds are ideal for stretching out.

Consider Storage

Ensure that you have somewhere safe to store your outdoor furniture during the winter months – or at the very least enough room to store your pillows and other fabric items. Furniture covers don’t always offer sufficient protection, especially when it comes to materials such as wicker. Your best option is either to allocate space to store your furniture or invest in furniture that you can use indoors in the winter season. In case you have limited storage space, opt for furniture that folds flat.

Consider Your Budget

Regardless of your preferences and the other factors listed above, at the end of the day, you can only purchase what you can afford. However, this doesn’t mean choosing the cheapest furniture you find. The rule of thumb is to go for the best quality furniture that fits your budget. Remember, the cheaper the product the more likely it is of low quality. Quality material will provide more value and will last longer.

A great way to find the best quality for your money is to look for discounts. Consider doing your shopping around the end of July and August as that’s when you are most likely to find discounts on outdoor furniture.

Also, consider going for more affordable but durable materials such as aluminum or heavy-duty resin. You can also find less costly woods.

You can find high-quality outdoor furniture at a significantly reduced price in yard sales and thrift stores. Many people don’t move house with their outdoor furniture, thus choose to sell it. Remember, used furniture can always be repainted or refinished, and easily dressed up with new pillows and cushions.

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