Comfortable and practical four season patio living depends upon making smart choices for your outdoor furniture. The beauty and diversity of each unique season of the year can be enjoyed and highlighted with a comfortable and well-chosen outdoor living space. There are essentially five primary materials from which patio furniture is usually constructed. Choosing among these materials is easy if you know what to look for. Before you begin, decide on how much time you will spend outdoors during the year and select the budget you have to work with.
The sturdiest and most durable choice is furniture constructed from
steel. The upside of this furniture is that it will last year after year
and looks fabulous. However, unless specially treated, this material
may be inclined to rust when left out during the winter. Easy to clean
with warm soapy water, steel furniture is an excellent choice if your
budget permits. In the other extreme, plastic furniture is the least
expensive. It is also lightweight and very easy to keep clean. The
trade-off here, of course, is that plastic furniture may tend to look
less elegant than its pricier counterparts. Nevertheless, if you are on
very tight budget plastic furniture can be a practical and attractive
Perhaps the most beautiful choice of all is natural wood. Both Teak and
Cedar look gorgeous, wear well and are very comfortable. However, even
these beautiful woods have their drawbacks. Over time their rich colors
will fade from weathering. Ideally wood furniture should be stored
during the wet and cold winter months. Your lovely furniture should be
specially treated with sealants to keep water damage and rot at bay. Do
consider the surface upon which you place your furniture as well, since
damp ground can facilitate wood rot. Wood furniture is best when set on
concrete or tile patio surfaces.
Another lovely choice in the light weight category is weather resistant
wicker. Wicker is both attractive and portable but can be pricey. Easy
to clean wicker can be quickly renewed with warm soapy water and careful
drying. Wicker also lends itself well to gaily colored pillows and
cushions to match any decor you wish. Wicker also comes in colors as
well as natural hues making it easy to mix and match.
Last but not least is the reliable standby of aluminum. Powder coat
finish aluminum is low maintenance, light weight, and usually quite
inexpensive. It is a great alternative to steel furniture when your
budget is limited. Although top quality aluminum can also be pricey, it
is durable, cleans up easily and is comfortable and attractive.
The majority of the year is best spent enjoying the beautiful outdoor
seasons. You might even want to have more than one set of outdoor
furniture such as wicker for spring and summer and perhaps steel or
aluminum for fall and winter. Whatever your preferences or budget you
are sure to find the perfect outdoor furniture for your patio or deck,
given today's diverse choices. Add a few personal items such as
charming candles, a birdfeeder or two and some decorative touches and
you have your very own outdoor Shangri-La any time of the year!