Choosing Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture has to withstand heat, cold, ultra-violet, wet and dirt with minimal maintenance and still look good. The materials used to produce the best outdoor dining furniture are generally metal (steel or aluminium), wood (hard or soft), cane or rattan, glass, or resin and plastics (molded, woven etc). Each has its merits and disadvantages, depending on your budget, daily schedule, and outdoor requirements.

Making a good choice of outdoor furniture starts with knowing clearly how it’s usually going to be used. Do you have a large, busy family and a small garden in constant use, or are you a solitary type with a few hectares in which to wander at weekends? Is your weather mild and wet or ferociously hot and dry? Will the furniture stay outdoors all the time, or be taken out of storage for special occasions?

When you have a clear idea of the purpose your outdoor furniture will serve, you can more easily make a list of ideal characteristics. Perhaps you need something which is lightweight, foldable, waterproof, easy-to-clean and seats six close to the kitchen door; or, by contrast, something quite weighty and decorative which will act as an ornamental feature on your largest lawn as well as offering shade to guests while they chat.

Wood furniture, especially hardwood, should be responsibly sourced; remember that wooden furniture needs maintenance and suffers from hard weather, as do cane and rattan. Glass and properly finished metals can be left out in all weather and are quite easy to clean, though some extra care should be taken with steel. Plastics become faded and damaged by sunlight more than by water.

Whatever choice you make, check the quality and guarantees of your outdoor dining furniture. Materials should be appropriately weatherproofed and the furniture should come with clear guidelines for use and an indication of the environments it’s suited to.

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