5 Key Things to Consider When Buying Outdoor Furniture

Consider your options before imagining your welcoming retreat in your backyard.

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Anyone who has purchased outdoor furniture knows it can be a confusing business. First, there is a wide variety of styles to choose from. And depending on the material, store, or brand you choose, your items can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Fret not, as this guide outlines the main topics to explore before you buy. As a result, you will be able to create the perfect backyard retreat for your lifestyle.

Consider your available space

Before you consider buying outdoor furniture, measure the space you plan to place it in. This is true whether you intend to put together a single chair or a set of pieces. This way, you can rest assured that the products you choose will fit well.

Also note if the location you have chosen is exposed to direct sunlight. A parasol or shade sail could help cool things down in the hot summer months. Over time, the sun also tends to fade the colors of plastics, fabrics and other surfaces. In this situation, you may want to cover the items with a tarp or other covering when not in use. Another option is to store them indoors, provided you have room, out of season.

And keep in mind that some materials are warmer than others. Not planning to cover your furniture or bring it inside? Then, opt for more resistant items in teak or metal, and not in wicker which is less solid.

Define your main objective

Another critical factor to consider is how you plan to use your outdoor oasis. If you just want to add seating around a foyera some chairs or a couch will probably do the trick. Those with a bigger goal – for example, creating an outdoor dining area – will have a heavier lift. You will need a table large enough to entertain you and your guests, as well as adequate seating.

To be thrifty or not

It’s true that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a outdoor patio furniture set. Online retailers are full of many low-cost options. That said, doing so is a bit of a gamble. Because you don’t see and smell these products in person, it’ll be hard to gauge how well-made (or not) they really are.

And if you opt for more established furniture brands, expect to pay many times more for each element. One of the positives of looking at a traditional furniture store, however, is that it will likely have brick-and-mortar locations to visit. This means you’ll be able to touch, push, and examine their furniture up close before committing.

The Abaco collection of outdoor furniture from Crate and Barrel.

Crate and barrel

Choose your style

Some of the most design-oriented furniture stores bundle their outdoor offerings into fancy named collections. Others allow you to sort items simply by their material construction. The main types you typically find are basic woods, wicker, and metals such as steel and aluminum.

Teak is a strong and durable wood, ideal for outdoor use.

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There is also teak, which is technically a subset of wood. Due to teak’s high oil content, it is particularly adept at withstanding the elements. But since the majority of teak is grown on plantations in Southeast Asia, imported wood is much more expensive than local varieties.

Ultimately, the style of furniture you settle on will be a very individual choice. Personally, I prefer as few ornaments or embellishments as possible. You, on the other hand, might like rattan lookwhich apparently is all the rage.

When to ask for help

Your outdoor furniture deployment plans may clash with the reality on the ground. For example, you might dream of a sprawling dining room with a large table and several matching chairs. But although your garden has plenty of space, it is mostly a grassy lawn.

In this case, the best way to go is to build a paved terrace that will serve as a solid base for your new furniture. It’s a big job though, as it will require digging grass and turf and laying a bed of gravel. The area should also be properly leveled to allow for proper water drainage. And that’s all before laying the paving stones.

If you’re not comfortable with any of these tasks, I don’t blame you. At this point, there is no shame in hiring a professional landscaper.

Now that you’ve carefully considered all of these factors, you should be well on your way to choosing the perfect outdoor furniture that best suits your needs. And just in time too, since spring and summer are fast approaching.

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