Choosing The Perfect Outdoor Furniture

choosing-the-perfect-outdoor-furniture

Outdoor furniture adds another dimension to gardens and patios, and it’s great fun choosing the best pieces for your space. Keeping in mind what you want to do in your outdoor area and how much space you have helps you pick the materials that best suit your needs.

Prime Purpose

Are you going to use your garden space for relaxing or entertaining? For example, if you’re going to eat meals outside, then you’ll need a dining table and chairs, but if you want a tranquil spot for reading or enjoying the fresh air, you’ll do best with comfy chairs, sofas and loungers. Barbecues are often the center of an outdoor entertainment area, so you’ll need chairs for your guests plus side tables for snacks and drinks.

Another factor to consider is space. For instance, large outdoor patios that flow over into pool areas look great with bulky furniture, but smaller areas such as enclosed decks or even apartment balconies need compact chairs and tables. Remember, you need space for people to move around and socialize as well as for the furniture.

Materials

Outdoor furniture is available in a multitude of materials, all of which have pros and cons:

  • Steel or iron. A wide range of styles and sizes, and it’s hardwearing. May need protection against rust.
  • Aluminum. Lightweight, often powder coated in bold colors. May be expensive.
  • Wood. Strong and durable, but it’s heavy. Needs annual treatment against water damage.
  • Plastic. Lightweight and inexpensive. Long exposure to sun and weather may cause it to discolor or crack.
  • Rattan. Synthetic rattan is durable and weather-resistant during summer.
  • Bamboo. Environmentally friendly, but must be kept under shelter away from rain and sun.

Try it Out

Would you buy a jacket without trying it on? Outdoor furniture is the same — you need to sit in it to make sure it’s the right height and the seats are the correct depth. Dining tables must be designed so that chairs fit underneath with plenty of space for diners. If you’re buying online, try to get to a brick-and-mortar store beforehand to physically check out the items you’re purchasing.

Floor Coverings and Accessories

Modern outdoor rugs are hardy and stand up to most weather conditions. Floor coverings add a touch of luxury to an outdoor space and are a fantastic way to introduce a color or pattern theme. They also help to protect the floor from scratches and marks when furniture is moved around.

Other accessories to add depth to your outdoor decor include:

  • Sun umbrellas, either set in a table or freestanding.
  • Cushions add color and comfort.
  • Awnings or shade gazebos, constructed of canvas or other weatherproof material.
  • Lights for nighttime entertaining; choose solar-powered, energy-efficient lights.

Maintenance

You want to be able to enjoy your outdoor furniture without spending hours every month maintaining it. All-weather, good quality furniture is usually hard-wearing, needing minimal looking after.

If you don’t use the furniture during winter, storing it indoors will lengthen its life considerably. Fold up or stackable furniture is ideal if your store room is small, or go for pieces that dismantle easily. Invest in waterproof and weatherproof covers for big tables and other large pieces of furniture that can’t be easily moved.

Shop Around

Search online, peruse magazines and visit stores when you’re choosing outdoor furniture. Buy the best quality you can afford, and you’ll have many years of relaxing fun using the pieces you’ve picked.

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Choosing the Perfect Patio Furniture

choosing-the-perfect-patio-furniture

Adding furniture to your patio adds a touch of your personal style to your home’s exterior, as well as creates a functional space that your family can use for spending time together and entertaining. These tips will help you choose the perfect patio furniture.

Decide What Furniture You Need

Before shopping for patio furniture, create a list to determine what items you want to on your patio. You need plenty of seating for your family, as well as those you will be entertaining. Benches and loveseats provide seating for several people. Rockers, hammocks, swings, and lounge chairs are very comfortable and provide more seating options. Place several small tables nearby to hold drinks and food. Ottomans are versatile and can provide additional seating or table space, depending on your current needs.

Select the Materials

Patio furniture is made in a wide variety of materials, each coming with its own advantages and drawbacks. Common materials include aluminum, plastic, PVC, steel, wicker, rattan, wood, and wrought iron.

To select the best material for your patio furniture, it is important to consider your specific needs.  For example, if you plan to move your furniture around frequently, you will want to select a lightweight material, such as plastic or aluminum. On the other hand, if you live in an area that is windy, you will want to select heavier materials, such as wrought iron or wood, so that your furniture won’t end up in your neighbor’s lawn.

  • Plastic and PVC furniture is affordable, easy to clean, and available in tons of fun colors. However, it will likely be less durable and more prone to fading than other options.
  • Wicker, rattan, and wood are classic options that are durable and sturdy, however they require a bit more upkeep work and may need repainting from time to time.
  • Wrought iron and steel furniture is sturdy and will last for many years, provided it has extra care and protection against rust.

It is also important to consider materials when selecting cushions. Choose products that are specifically designed for the outdoors, as they will be able to withstand the elements better than interior fabrics. Cushions with polyester fibers are the best at repelling water, mildew, and dirt. Look for reversible cushions that can be flipped to help preserve their appearance and shape.

Choose Your Color Scheme

You need to select a color scheme for your patio furniture, so you can find pieces that are complementary to one another without being too “matchy matchy”. Since your furniture will be sitting near your house, you will want to take the color of your siding into consideration so that it does not clash visually. For the most versatility, select furniture in classic, neutral colors, such as wood tones, black, white, and beige. Insert splashes of color through accent pieces, accessories, and colorful cushions.

Sample the Furniture Before Purchase

Whenever possible, view the patio furniture in person before you commit to purchasing it. Sometimes a chair looks stunning, but ends up being incredibly uncomfortable to actually sit in. If you plan on using your patio furniture regularly, select pieces that are comfortable and inviting.

Consider Storage Options

Spending all day, every day exposed to the sunlight and weather is hard on even the most well made and durable patio furniture. You can significantly expand the life of your patio furniture by storing it in a protected space, such as your garage or basement, during the off season. If you’re short on storage space, select patio furniture that folds or can be easily taken apart and reassembled when the weather is warm again.

Creating the Perfect Patio Oasis

creating-the-perfect-patio-oasis

How fortunate we are to live in a place where outdoor living is a possibility nearly year-round. As we head into the summer, it’s time to take stock or your outdoor living spaces, noting what could be improved. Invest in your outdoor living spaces, is almost like adding an addition to your home because, with the right furniture, accents and landscaping, you can considerably increase the square footage of your living space.

The following tips will help you create the perfect patio and outdoor oasis.

Add one of your fantasy hardscape features.

In a culture that can’t get enough of the HGTV home improvement shows, it can feel like every dream remodel or landscaping plan should be able to happen overnight. In the real world, it doesn’t work like that. Time and budget are always a consideration. Rather than having an all-or-nothing approach, have the vision and foresight to see that one change at a time will lead to your dreamscape within a handful of years.

This year, make it a point to add one of your dream landscape features. If you can’t afford a built-in fireplace or fire pit, create a cozy seating area around an attractive chiminea. If you aren’t able to create the large pond and babbling brook, use a wine barrel or huge ceramic pot, a small water pump, and a faux-creek bed with river stones. One feature at a time is a smart approach to the outdoor environment you want.

Create an outdoor lighting design.

Your flood lights and porch lights are not enough to create a patio or outdoor oasis. Just as your interior lighting plan utilizes a variety of light sources, so should your exterior lighting plan. Safety is the first priority, so make sure that walkways, pathways, stairways and unexpected obstructions are illuminated. Then add dimmable lights, hanging lanterns, landscape lighting and/or twinkle lights for ambiance.

Invest in high-quality furniture.

Yes, high-quality outdoor furniture can be a significant investment, but it is so worth it if you and your family plan on spending any amount of time outside. Many companies offer 0% financing options, which can help you get the furniture you want with minimal payments over the course of the next year. It’s the difference between creating a temporary resting spot or a bona-fide outdoor living room, dining room, etc., where you can comfortably hang out for hours.

Focus on native perennials.

One of the great things about being outside is enjoying the flora and fauna. The more flora you plant, the more fauna will visit. I always recommend meeting with a landscape expert or visiting a local nursery and taking notes. This will help you plan a landscape that provides year-round interest, rather than one that blooms all at once and then goes barren for the rest of the year.

The best landscape is one that uses native plants, which are adapted to the climate and require less water and maintenance than their non-native counterparts. By making the majority of your landscaping perennial, you won’t have to invest a lot of time or money planting new annuals every year. You can save your annual planting for the few flowers you want to have in your containers, hanging baskets and the borders of your plant beds. Another bonus of native plants, they are the most attractive food sources for pollinators, butterflies and birds.