There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing your patio furniture.
As with anything that will spend all of its time outdoors, durability tends to be the biggest concern, as well as style, comfort and price to contend with.
While no patio furniture will ever be 100% weatherproof, the choice of material can make a huge difference into how many years you will get out of it.
So before you choose your patio furniture, it’s important to know the pros and cons of the different types of material. Here are some of the most popular.
This fine-grained hardwood is the most popular wood used for patio furniture. Naturally a shade of warm honey brown, it can be either oiled to maintain its color or left to develop a silver-grey patina over time.
One of the reasons teak is so commonly used for patio furniture is that it is inherently extremely durable and weather-resistant. Unlike many other woods, it doesn’t warp or crack when exposed to the elements. Its high oil content also means that it is highly resistant to damage from decay or insects, and can last for decades if properly looked after.
High demand of teak for the manufacture of patio furniture has driven the price point up considerably, making it one of the most costly options. However, considering how long-lasting it is, you can consider it to be a solid investment.
With that being said, due to the high demand, teak is at risk of becoming an endangered tree species in several parts of the world.
If sustainability is important to you, you might prefer to choose a different material for your patio furniture.
Much of the wicker furniture available today is actually made from synthetic polyethylene resin.
Traditional wicker is crafted from a mix of organic sources including rattan and bamboo, which don’t do well when exposed to rain, moisture and humidity - not a great choice for outdoor furniture.
Aesthetically, synthetic wicker can look just as good as the real thing, with the added bonus of being extremely weather-resistant.
It won’t lose its color from being out in the sun, even if it is exposed to UV rays for years.
Resin is very easy to clean and can be simply wiped down from time to time, making it a very low-maintenance option.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is also 100% recyclable, making it a good patio furniture choice for the eco-minded.
When buying wicker furniture you need to be wary of lower quality PVC chairs, which do not have the same hardwearing nature as high-density polyethylene.
This type of furniture can crack and become brittle over time, and is also not recyclable.
If you live in a windy area, wicker may not be the best choice for you. As it is fairly lightweight, it can be moved across your patio or even blown over.
Metal is a versatile material for outdoor furniture, and can be crafted into both classic and contemporary designs.
While there are many different kinds of metal that can be used, we will take a look at the pros and cons of the material as a whole.
Metal is perhaps the most robust material for outdoor furniture, usually requiring just an infrequent, quick wipe down to keep it looking its best. Because of the flexibility of the material, it is also possible to find metal furniture in a wide array of styles and can also be finished in any colour.
Metal is inherently heavy, and can sometimes result in pieces that are overly bulky and hard to move around.
This might not seem like a problem at first, but you may find yourself wanting to move your furniture for cleaning or simply to relocate it.
An even bigger problem is metal’s ability to absorb the heat from the sun.
Naturally, you will be more likely to sit outside when the weather is good.
But the surface of metal furniture can become so hot that it has even been known to cause burns.
Similarly, on cool evenings metal can feel especially cold to sit on.
As with metal, there are several different types of plastics that can be used for outdoor furniture, including high-pressure laminate and polyethylene.
However, they share the same general characteristics which we will take a look at here.
Plastic is another highly resistant and easily maintained material, with the added bonus of coming at an excellent price point.
If sustainability is a concern, you can also find recycled plastic furniture, usually made from plastic bottles or manufacturing waste.
Plastic can be manipulated into almost any form, meaning that you can find a great range of modern and even abstract styles. As colour is part of the furniture’s chemical makeup, it does not require sealants to keep the colour fresh.
As it’s very lightweight, plastic furniture may not be suitable for very windy environments (but does make it very portable and easy to move around the garden).
Arguably, plastic patio furniture may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other materials on this list.
Choosing the best material for your outdoor furniture ultimately comes down to your specific needs.
Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages of your options, you will be better equipped to make an informed decision about what kind of furniture will suit you and your garden best.
Whatever you choose, bear in mind that the life of your patio furniture can be greatly extended by keeping it clean and well-cared for, particularly during the summer months.
Each material will have specific instructions for how best to protect it from spills, rain and sun.
Spend a little time on its upkeep and you should be able to enjoy your new patio furniture for many summers to come.