Our outdoor space is like a sanctuary and we tend to love spending as much time as possible in it. However, it is much nicer to be able to do this in a way that feels and looks comfortable as well. Sure, you can sit on a lawn using nothing but the clothes you're wearing, but isn't it much nicer to have some good looking patio furniture, that allows you to sit back, read your book and perhaps enjoy a few cheeky drinks as well? It has been hard, however, to have patio furniture defined. This is because there are so many differences between the types of furniture, their look and material. Hence, it may be useful to look at the following guide to have an idea of what is available and what will and won't work for you. To have patio furniture defined to some degree, most would say it is either wood, metal, wicker or plastic/resin. Each of these have a number of specific advantages and disadvantages and it is important to be aware of these if you are trying to find really comfortable outdoor furniture. Let's take a closer look.
Wooden Patio Furniture
Wood is generally the most popular type of patio furniture, particularly amongst those who do not have to think about their budget too much. The reality is that wood fits with any style, although perhaps best with the natural ones. It is very important to find wood furniture that is of high quality, since it will not last long if it hasn't been properly constructed. You must make sure the lumber is centercut hardwood. Check for grain consistency as well, and ask about the screw, which should all be stainless steel (they don't rust and you will be able to tighten them as and when needed).
In terms of types of wood, most people would go for natural cedar or pine. This is because it is soft in consistency and generally quite light colored. Both of them are incredibly durable a well. However, cedar is often very expensive. Another popular type is the tropical teak wood, which is even more durable than pine or cedar. However, it is also one of the most expensive wood types and, most would say, the most beautiful. It is one of the est maintenance free outdoor furniture options if you insist on wood, since these have been known to last for half a century, even in adverse weather conditions. However, they do like to be treated with teak oil every so often so that the color remains fresh and vibrant (which adds to the cost). Then, there is natural wood, which comes from a range of different types of trees, usually random branches. This is a cheap option, but not a durable one unfortunately. Lastly, there is Australian Jarrah, which is a new popular type of tropical hardwood. It is about as durable as teak, and has a gorgeous red tone. It is a really warm option, which means it will only fit with certain types of garden styles.
Metal Patio Furniture
One of the most popular types of patio furniture are the metal ones. This is perhaps not really comfortable outdoor furniture, unless you add some really good cushions, but it is versatile and beautiful. Generally, metal furniture is made out of aluminum or wrought iron. Wrought iron is Victorian in origin, which is where it gets all the beautiful swirls and curves from. It is very heavy, which means it is great for gardens that are susceptible to a lot of wind. The finish is generally black, green or white, which means you may want to add some cushions, not just for comfort but also to make it look nicer. This type of furniture comes in a huge range of price brackets, meaning that it will suit most budgets. Recently, there has been a range of metal furniture that would be classed as "retro metal". Retro metal comes in slightly more modern shapes and moves away from the Victorian style. Besides that, it is also available in a wider range of colors. However, it is still not really comfortable outdoor furniture, so will require cushions to sit on.
In terms of aluminum, most furniture is made out of extruded aluminum. This means it has tubular frames and they come with either sling or strap seats. One of the great things about this type of furniture is that it is really lightweight, so you can easily change the look and feel of your garden by simply placing your furniture elsewhere. Not just that, they can often be stacked for easy storage. Also, most would agree that these seats are comfortable, although perhaps not on bare skin. Best of all, extruded aluminum is reasonably cheap. The downside is that it is seriously mass produced and that it is not particularly durable. The alternative is cast aluminum, which is a lot more intricate and a lot heavier. However, it is still not as heavy as wrought iron. Naturally, this type is more expensive. The thing about any type of aluminum is that it is probably the best maintenance free outdoor furniture. Some would even let the rain take care of cleaning it every once in a while.
Wicker Patio Furniture
Wicker can either be woven wicker or all-weather wicker. They look very similar but have very different care instructions that you must be aware of. Woven wicker can only be used in covered areas, as it cannot get wet. All-weather wicker, as the name would suggest, can be kept outdoors. Traditionally, wicker was made of cane, rattan or bamboo. These can withstand being outside, but only if they are in a covered area. They require quite a lot of care and maintenance, however, and if they do get wet, you cannot sit on them until they dry. All-weather options are better, because they can be kept anywhere and can be exposed to sun and rain for longer periods of time.
Resin or Plastic Patio Furniture
Lastly, there is resin or plastic. Again, this is a great and popular option for outdoor furniture, mainly because it is incredibly cheap and very durable. It requires little maintenance other than wiping it down with a damp cloth every once in a while. The downside is that it is flimsy and not overly original.