Comparing garden furniture materials

Today, you can chose from such a wide variety of garden furniture materials, from wood to cast aluminium. You want your garden furniture to be durable and at the same time stylish, whilst requiring the minimal amount of maintenance. Garden furniture must be constructed to stand up to the elements, but to do this, some materials require a little more TLC than others.

In terms of the process of finding and choosing new garden furniture, once you are clear on how you currently use or plan to use the space you have, the next step is to decide on the type of the material.

And the popular types of material used for garden furniture in the UK are as follows:

Wrought Iron

Iron Glider Bench Seat

Iron Glider Bench Seat from Overstock.com

Wrought iron furniture is virtually indestructible and can be found in many styles ranging from the classic Victorian style to sleek contemporary furniture. It will heat up during the summer if exposed to direct sunlight and be colder to the touch in the evenings.

It’s heavy, so it’s best used on a patio or deck, rather than on grass where it can cause damage. Maintenance includes regular cleaning with mild soap and rinse with a soft spray from the garden hose. Cracks in the finish etc must be touched up with paint or it will rust. If taken care of, it will last for 10 – 20 years.

Cast Aluminum

June 6 Seater Oval Garden Table

June 6 Seater Oval Cast Aluminium Garden Table by Lazy Susan

Much lighter than wrought iron and doesn’t rust. If unpainted, then protect it with car wax or mineral oil, depending on what the manufacturer’s tag recommends as this will prevent it from ‘pitting’. Clean with soapy water and hose down to rinse it off. If looked after, it will last 10 years plus

Rattan & Wicker

Again it is lightweight and can easily be moved around the garden. It also comes in many colourways for so can be coordinated with existing colour schemes. You should purchase the all weather synthetic wicker rather than natural as it will stand up to the elements better. Resin wicker is wrapped around a steel or aluminium frame, making it more durable and easier to clean.

Cleaning includes vacuuming it over to remove debris from the weave, then simply washing with a mild detergent in water, rinsing it off with a hose and then leaving it to air dry.

Timber

The Palau 7-piece Polywood Dining Set

The Palau 7-piece Polywood Dining Set from Very.co.uk

Wooden outdoor furniture makes for a nice natural look and it goes well with a variety of garden styles. When exposed to the elements it will generally change from warmer hues of new wood to a more faded natural tone. A honey style timber for example will turn to a greyish hue over time if not protected. Some people prefer this, but if you want to keep it the original colour then you will need to apply a sealant.

Timber garden furniture is built solid and sturdy and will not blow over easily during storms. Timber is an investment in terms of maintenance but if looked after with a regular application of a preservative it will last for many years. Cleaning for all timber can again just done with mild soap and water.

Plastic Resin

Plastic Outdoor Furniture by MyYour

Plastic Outdoor Furniture by MyYour

Plastic furniture is affordable and a great choice if you have a limited budget. Often stackable it is a great practical choice and makes ideal spare seating. It comes is a wide variety of styles, but for me the contemporary styles tend to work the best.

You can now get some fan environmentally friendly poly furniture which is made of recycled plastic bottles etc. Cleaning is again easy and simply involves spraying it down with the same mildew busting product you use in your shower and hosing it off. Generally, it has a pretty short lifespan of around 5 years or so and it does not weather well if left outside all year.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Garden Furniture

Some Stainless Steel Garden Furniture Yesterday

Whilst not as popular as wrought iron or cast aluminium, we are definitely seeing increased demand for stainless steel garden furniture across the industry, especially when its paired with other materials such as timber or rattan. As a material it tends to lend itself to the more contemporary pieces.

The appeal for use within the construction of contemporary pieces is its bright high shine lustre, which gives it that clean, modern and kinda industrial appearance, especially with the brushed finish. Like cast aluminium, it is not vulnerable to moisture, however, where it does differ to other metals is the fact that it requires no protective coating (such as powder-coating for example) to be made suitable for use outdoors. It is highly resistant to corrosion, and while it can rust and discolour, this is much less likely to occur than with iron.

Stainless steel garden furniture is designed to be fully moisture and mold resistant, hence why it has proven so popular in the kitchen over the last decade. It will not fade, peel, or crack if exposed to direct sunlight, it will not need to be repainted after a couple of summers, and its highly resistant to staining as the name suggests.

Decide on the overall ‘theme’ and the design you want to achieve in your garden

It is important that you know what direction you want to take from this off as this will help you to determine the design/style of furniture that’s best fit for your finished garden or patio that will be used. It will also help you coordinate all the other elements of garden decor you want to include.

Identify all the outdoor fixtures you will need in decorating your garden

The best thing to do is to make a sketch of your ideal garden and list all the furniture and accessories that you’d like to include in it. It is also important that you must evaluate each of the fixtures and decide if it is appropriate or not. In addition, make a clear decision on the colour, size, and function of each item of garden furniture. Consider both its form and function, but most importantly the purpose.

Consider the design and style of the fixture

The design of the furniture must be relevant to the theme of both your house and the garden. I ca’t stress how important it is to ensure that the furniture blends with the colour design of your home and garden, especially if you’re making a significant investment. Everything should perfectly match.

Always keep these Lazy Susan tips in mind when trying to choose the right patio furniture for your garden and I promise it will lead you to achieve the dream garden no matter what your choice is. With the incredible variety of different styles of garden furniture and materials available, there is definitely something for everyone and something to fit in your garden.

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