You’ve landscaped your backyard to create the perfect, peaceful retreat – from decorative exterior stone wall panels that add dimension to the space to charming outdoor plant hangers and baskets overflowing with lush greenery. Now, with your oasis complete, you’re ready to host a backyard barbecue and invite over the guests. But where are your friends and family going to sit?
Choosing outdoor furniture is challenging, especially with the variety of styles and materials available these days. However, one critical factor to choosing anything you place in the outdoors is durability. And when it comes to selecting outdoor furniture, your home’s location and climate should play a significant role.
Need to know how to choose the best outdoor furniture for your climate? Whether it’s gorgeous, natural red-hued teak or acacia wood or a lightweight yet durable polyresin plastic, here are some of the standard material features for outdoor furniture and how each stands up to weather conditions, climates and more.
Outdoor Furniture Materials and Their Durable Features
To choose the best outdoor furniture for your climate, it’s essential to understand the features of each and how they stand up to each kind of weather. Let’s break it all down by common outdoor furniture materials:
Aluminum is one of the most popular outdoor furniture materials you can find – and for good reason! It is exceptionally durable, resisting moisture and rust far better than other metals. You might even find an aluminum frame beneath a resin wicker-wrapped furniture piece. If the aluminum has a powder-coated finish, it can last even longer against the elements. One of the best features of aluminum is that it’s lightweight in comparison, especially to something like steel or wrought iron, making it substantial enough to not fly off a porch in heavy winds yet able to rearrange or carry to a shed and store.
Wrought iron is built sturdy, even more so than aluminum. While wrought iron can rust in its natural state, calling to mind old patinated garden benches, today’s modern wrought iron can be treated and sealed with a weather-resistant finish like powder-coating that prevents moisture from penetrating and creating rust. Since wrought iron is so heavy, it’s perfect for windy regions and mountainous areas. Being coated in a powder finish also allows it to withstand sunlight.
Steel is an excellent medium ground between aluminum and wrought iron. In essence, this durable metal is lighter than wrought iron. It offers a bit more flexibility when it comes to rearranging or even your guests’ desire to cluster shift them closer together. Unlike aluminum, steel will not dent as quickly should you accidentally drop something heavy on a tabletop or arm. Overall, steel outdoor furniture is a wonderful option for rainy regions like the Pacific Northwest and even humid areas like the southern beaches of Florida.
Besides your metals are wood outdoor furniture pieces. Timeless with a natural aesthetic, wood outdoor furniture is offered in various woods – from pine to cedar to teak. However, not all woods are created equal and some species are more suitable than others to the climate you live in. Where pine and cedar are softer woods, shorea and teak are incredibly durable and can stand up to just about anything. Acacia wood and cedar are naturally weather-resistant and, if maintained, can last many years.
Wicker has made a comeback in recent years, especially for interior design and boho styles. However, wicker outdoors? Yes, it’s entirely possible. Unlike natural rattan wicker that is susceptible to mold, resin wicker (also made from PVC, nylon or polyethylene) is extremely durable and perfect for placing on a patio. As mentioned earlier, oftentimes, resin wicker outdoor furniture will have a powder-coated aluminum foundation that makes it relatively solid and sturdy, too. Resin is also very UV-resistant, resisting fades and cracks in hotter climates. Plus, the resin slicker, non-porous material sheds moisture and water clean off. So if you like the bohemian style look of wicker but need something more durable for your veranda or outdoor space, this might be the material for you!
Plastic furniture is quite durable and resistant to moisture. It will never rot or crack due to extreme temperatures and holds up well to salt water and the sun’s UV rays. This is why you see plastic patio furniture on sunny beachside hotel balconies and the like. And if you’re concerned with the aesthetic quality of plastic outdoor furniture, don’t be! Today, you can find many varieties of recycled plastics that resemble both wood or metal.
Mosaic outdoor furniture can lend a Mediterranean feel to a backyard or patio space. Whether it’s a spacious dining table or small accent table, hand-laid mosaic tiles can be anything from slate to marble to terra cotta and are beautiful yet somewhat delicate. That’s just something to keep in mind. However, mosaic tiles can be inlaid and applied to a variety of materials listed above. Sometimes, it’s merely the underlying framework that you need to consider, so stick with something heavy-duty like aluminum, steel or iron. Consider a high-quality mosaic table that features a sealant, protecting the porous grout between each tile from cracking. Otherwise, rain is a major cause for concern.
What’s Your Home’s Climate Like?
Now that you understand how each common material of outdoor furniture holds up, you should be able to make the perfect choice for your backyard or patio space. Live in the Pacific Northwest where there’s lots of rain? Consider something more durable and sturdy like aluminum. For cold climates like the Northeast, go for powder-coated wrought iron outdoor furniture that can withstand snow. Live in sunny Florida? Consider a set of recycled plastic chairs or tiki bars for your beachside bungalow.
Whatever you choose, proper maintenance is key – especially when it comes to natural woods. Make sure to take excellent care of your outdoor furniture and it will last a lifetime.