What is the best wood for outdoor furniture?

We are looking at the main things to look for when choosing wooden furniture and exploring what is the best wood for the UK climate...

Outdoor wooden furniture gives your garden a natural touch. It’s rustic, classic, and a solid investment — but are there specific types of wooden garden furniture that are better than others?

In terms of aesthetics, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. 

But in terms of durability and quality, there are types of wooden furniture that are superior to others by being able to hold up against different weather conditions.

Join Lazy Susan as we run through the different types of wooden outdoor furniture to see which is best for your garden

Things to look for when choosing wooden furniture 

Things to look for when choosing wooden furniture

Before we get into the different types of wood that can be used for outdoor furniture, let’s have a quick look at the characteristics you need to look out for:

  • Durability
    Wooden furniture must be durable. However, when we speak about durability, we’re referring more to how able it is to stand up to the weather that Britain can throw at it, including rain, sleet, snow, ice, and even sunshine without much maintenance. Ultimately, if you purchase wood that isn’t durable, it may require a lot of upkeep.

  • Stability
    If the wood lacks stability, it can contract, warp, and expand due to things like humidity. You might also need to inquire about things like scratch resistance when purchasing your furniture.

  • Budget
    The saying “you get what you pay for” is generally true when it comes to shopping for wooden outdoor furniture. We recommend creating a budget and allocating the most cash to the pieces you and your guests will use the most.

  • Size
    The size of your outdoor furniture should look proportional to the rest of your garden and home. This includes the number of pieces you buy along with considering your patio’s dimensions. 

Types of wood for outdoor furniture 

Types of wood for outdoor furniture

There are different types of wood for outdoor furniture, which we’ll take a look at soon. These include teak and European oak. 

But first, let’s discuss the two main categories that all wood falls into:

  • Hardwood

  • Softwood


Hardwood is more popular among UK homeowners looking for patio furniture due to the fact that it’s more durable. This means it’s better able to withstand the elements and it has a longer lifespan.

It comes from certain deciduous tree trees such as teak and oak. However, it must also be said that, despite its name, hardwood isn’t always “harder” than softwood, as there are some exceptions — like balsa.

Ultimately, hardwood is more expensive and in terms of aesthetics, you’ll find that hardwood furniture is darker. 


Softwood comes from the likes of evergreen spruce and pine trees and is less durable than hardwood outdoor furniture.

That doesn’t mean this type of outdoor furniture isn’t popular, though. While softwood might not be the best option if you want your garden furniture to be largely maintenance-free and weather-resistant, softwood is a budget-friendly option that can still last a good while — provided you look after it properly. 

Not just that, softwood furniture can also look very easy on the eye. It’s paler and it’s also lighter, which means it’s easier to put together and move around your garden. 

So… What Wood is best for outdoor furniture? 

​​What Wood is best for outdoor furniture?

It all depends on your priorities. Hardwood is more durable and expensive than softwood. But softwood can still enjoy a good lifespan provided you spend the time it needs to maintain it on a regular basis. 

Let’s take a look at a few different types of wood for outdoor furniture that are popular in the UK:


Teak is the most popular wood in the UK when it comes to outdoor furniture. It’s known for its durability and stability — and it’s also weather resistant. The only significant downside is that it’s one of the most expensive types of garden furniture money can buy.

Western Red Cedar

Western red cedar is softwood. It’s not as durable as a high-quality hardwood but, thanks to its high resin content, it’s one of the longest-lasting softwoods available.

It gives off a reddish-brown finish, it’s insect-resistant, and it can last a good few years without requiring too much maintenance. 


Eucalyptus is another popular hardwood outdoor furniture. It comes with a gorgeous red hue, it’s not as expensive as teak and yet it can still last over twenty-five years if properly maintained. 

This is because eucalyptus is pleasingly durable and won’t rot and decay that easily, due largely to its high natural oil content. 

Final Thoughts

The best wood for outdoor furniture is subjective and will depend on your needs. Hardwood is undoubtedly more durable than softwood but it comes with a bigger price tag and it’s heavier, which can make it awkward to lug around your garden. 

Softwood, by contrast, is less expensive but can be pretty damn durable depending on the exact wood, and it’s also more sustainable and less expensive. 

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