The first thing to consider when you are looking for outdoor furniture is the style of your garden. You want to match the furniture to the theme – much as you would with the interior of your home. It is also important to be realistic about what you can afford. Research the different materials that are available to ensure that they will suit the garden as well as your personal needs. Resin is excellent if you need something waterproof, while wrought iron looks very traditional and is low maintenance is treated properly.
If you are using outdoor cushions, make sure that they are intended for outdoor use. They should resist mould, fading, and tearing, and should dry quickly if exposed to water. Ensure that the furniture is comfortable. Think about your needs so that you buy a setting that is large enough for your requirements. A small table that seats four is no good if you plan to entertain friends regularly.
The choice of materials for outdoor furniture is varied but here are some of your options:
• Wood – there is a huge range of wood available and the wood you choose can be stained, oiled, or painted, depending on what type of wood it is and where it is intended to be used. If you are buying wood furniture, look for solid construction, brass or stainless steel hardware, and a rich, even finish.
• Aluminium – is a popular material for outdoor furniture as it is durable, lightweight, and rust-resistant. When choosing your furniture, look for smooth welds, stainless steel hardware, and a powder-coated or baked-on finish. Aluminium outdoor furniture may be tubular, cast aluminium, or wrought aluminium.
• Wicker – made well, wicker is beautiful and durable. Wicker is actually a technique, with the material itself being reed which is cut from the rattan pole and woven together over a frame. Natural wicker can be damaged by exposure to the elements so it is best used in sheltered areas. You can opt to use all weather wicker, which is synthetic resin wrapped around aluminium frames or natural wicker coated in a weather resistant finish.
• Rattan – is a member of the palm family and grows like bamboo, but it has a solid core. Rattan is harvested to make furniture, with the core being extruded to make wicker. As with wicker, rattan is best used in sheltered areas.
• Iron – is versatile, looks classic, and is made to last. Iron may be wrought or cast. Wrought iron furniture is made from round bars that are forged by hand into simple or complex designs. Cast iron furniture is heavy and generally ornate.
• Resin – is best used near water, and it is durable, lightweight, and requires little maintenance. Weight and size is a good indicator of the quality of resin furniture.
Following are some questions that you should ask when you are buying outdoor furniture, in order to avoid an unpleasant surprise later down the track:• What maintenance is required?
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