Can garden furniture be left outside?

We touched on this subject in our recent Garden Furniture 101 post, however, in that article we took a bit of a broad brush approach. So I wanted to focus in on our collection and answer the question of can garden furniture be left outside?

Of course, anything that calls itself garden or outdoor furniture, by its very nature, should be OK to be left outside. However, that should be accompanied with a caveat, regardless of the material said furniture is constructed from…

Can garden furniture be left outside?
Can garden furniture be left outside?

Cast aluminium was chosen as the core material for the Lazy Susan collection, and for good reason. We weighed up the pros and cons.

We wanted our outdoor dining collection to stand up to the elements. To be weighty enough to stand up the wind but not so heavy that you can’t pick it up and move it into the garage or shed during the winter months. And of course, it had to stand up to the rain and sun, but probably more rain if we’re being honest here.

I guess you could say we wanted an all-rounder, a best of the best. That’s what we feel we’ve created, and we stand by that decision to make it our principal material for the Lazy Susan collection.

Why cast aluminium garden furniture can be left outside

The advantage of cast aluminium over other metals used in our industry, is it is not prone to rust or corrosion.

Uncoated aluminium when exposed to the elements will ‘pitt’ but that in itself is a moot point as our furniture is coated with a protective painted finish to protect the aluminium. It is specifically designed to stand up to the elements, and can be left outside all your round, whatever the weather.

However, and back to the caveat, that should come with a little ‘but’!

If you choose to leave your furniture outside in all weather, than you have to expect a little fair wear and tear. Everything from wind and birds will take a toll on anything that is exposed to them for a long period. Take your car, leave it outside without moving or cleaning for a few months, and it’ll be filthy.

A Lazy Susan Garden Bench in the snow
A Lazy Susan Garden Bench in the snow.

I suppose it depends on what you want. Some people like the lived in and weathered look. Me, I like to keep it clean. That said, while I’ll store my own Lazy Susan outdoor furniture in the shed for the bulk of winter, it is outside from pretty much March to the end of September. I like it setup and ready to use. And even in that period it’ll see plenty of rain and possibly even a covering of snow.

How to clean and maintain garden furniture that has been left outside

I’ve used covers in the past when not in use but after a recent house move our garden is a little more secluded, so I just leave it out for the bulk of spring/summer. The key to keeping it looking like new is the occasional wash.

Bucket of warm soapy water, sponge and a good wipe down. Leave it to dry in the sun, and then I apply a light coat of baby oil. Car wax is also great but I’m less likely to have that and it’s a little more expensive. Baby oil is also great on any stainless steel appliances inside the home. Brings my extractor and oven up a treat.

Anyway, I digress. On a more serious note, the above will give your furniture a basic clean, keep the grime off that the wind and rain kicks up, get rid of bird droppings if they’ve not been left too long. The baby oil/car wax really gives the painted finish on our furniture a deep lustre, it looks great, however, it also gives a little added protection from the elements.

This is best illustrated in the photo below. This was sent to us by a customer a year or so back. Their furniture had been left outside for a number of years without any cleaning. Quick wash, dry and a light coat of baby oil and this is the before and after…

A customer before and after a little wipe down with baby oil
A customer before and after a little wipe down with baby oil

Can Lazy Susan garden furniture be left outside?

Whilst there’s no question our garden furniture can be left outside, there’s a few instances where you need to be a little careful.

Tree sap and bird droppings are probably the biggest guilty party here. Don’t leave them on the surface for too long, it might not damage the metal, or even the painted finish for that matter, but it can be very difficult to clean off. Especially if it has been left in the sun for any length of time.

One trick to get rid of sap or bird droppings is a little WD-40.

Just spray a small amount on to the sap/dropping, leave it to sit for a few minutes, and then wash with warm soapy water. After a few minutes have passed it should be soft enough to simply wipe away.

Do not be tempted to scrub with a brush or scouring pad. Avoid those magic sponges too, they are abrasive. Just a little spray of the regular WD-40, no special version, will do the trick.

Again, back to treating your Lazy Susan furniture like a car… I can also recommend using Turtle Wax’s Bug and Tar Remover, this will do a similar job to the WD-40. Costs a little more but can also be used on your car in the summer. Just follow the instruction on the spray bottle.

You may also need to apply a little car wax or baby oil to brighten the painted finish as the WD-40 will remove any that you’ve previously applied.

If in any doubt though, please test before you do it. In fact, please test anyway, just to be on the safe side. What’s worked for me, may not for you. Just flip a chair over and apply to the underside before you tackle any visible parts of your furniture.

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