Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Choose the patio furniture that works for you

It’s officially spring, and patio furniture ads are in full force. Here are some things to consider to help you choose patio furniture that works for you and your budget.

Outdoor rooms are an extension of your home’s living space. Comfortable furniture and beautiful  accessories are the necessities that make any patio space usable and welcoming. The challenge of finding the right furniture seems small until you encounter the sheer amount of choices. Patio furniture comes in almost as many styles and materials as interior furniture does.  It seems hard to know what will work in your outdoor space and fit your budget, but with a little research, you can find the perfect set.

Consider your existing or planned hardscape design, set a budget, and then look for furniture that works within the space.

Built-ins

Hardscapes like outdoor kitchens, bars and pool areas often integrate built-in sitting walls and dining surfaces. These areas are permanent structures that are meant to be used. Movable and built-in furniture can work together to create a multi-use outdoor space. Barstools for the outdoor bar top can be recruited to provide seating for a movie. Outdoor fireplaces or kitchens that have televisions incorporated into their structure will need moveable seating nearby. For multi-purposing, poolside loungers may need to be light enough to move to other areas of your outdoor space. Note how you use any existing hardscape elements to determine what additional  kinds of seating and table options you’ll need.

Budgeting

Determining an upper limit to the budget is important. Because so many options exist, it is very tempting to overbuy and overspend on patio furniture and accessories. Patio furniture seems like an incidental expense but it’s best to view the project like you would view furnishing an indoor room. Time and planning, plus a little bit of creativity, can go a long way. Buying a foundation set of chairs and a table from an established product line can be a good beginning; adding pieces to expand your collection will be simple to do as the years go by. If eclectic is your thing, scouring online sales and brick-and-mortar thrift shops can uncover a budget-friendly treasure or two. Mix-and-match is a homey aesthetic that makes any guest feel immediately comfortable. Rehabbing mixed pieces also can work, e.g., painting all the pieces in the same color. Saving money on this project is possible and can lead to some real fun.

Materials

Storage space is your first consi

deration. Will your furniture be stowed in a garage or shed over the winter months, or will it be left covered or uncovered during those months? The answer will help narrow down the choices in patio furniture. Ideally, all patio furniture should be protected from the elements, but some materials are hardier than others. Each of these materials come with or without cushions. Any cushions or pillows should be stowed when the weather isn’t dry. Here are some different choices in patio furniture materials:

  • Aluminum furniture with UV-coating (which helps cut down on the heat it absorbs from the hot sun) doesn’t rustand is light in weight.
  • Teak furniture can crack in the winter if moisture gets into the grain but is heavier
    and more substantial. Many other wood varieties exist for outdoor furniture, like pressure-treated
  • pine, cedar or budget-friendly eucalyptus but keep in mind that wood furniture will need a re-application of a protective coating every few years.
  • Synthetic resin wicker is very hardy against the elements and is lighter than its wood counterpart. PVC is synthetic resin. PVC is fashioned into many different imitations of wood and natural materials, and it also provides a variety of choices in color.
  • Steel furniture is light and doesn’t rust but can become seriously hot in the summer.
  • Wrought iron is the choice for homeowners who don’t plan on stowing patio furniture, but ensure a powder coatinghas been applied to the iron to help protect it from the elements.  adding will be necessary for any steel or wrought iron furniture if it will be sitting out in the sun. All of these materials vary widely in price.

If your patio set pieces match and complement each other, almost any style can work with your outdoor stone. Try to stay within the the large style range that goes with the home’s design, but don’t constrain yourself to a small set of choices. Many homeowners do their best to extend the home’s design into the hardscape (for example, using wrought iron to match a brick country French home or heavy wood pieces to go with a Shaker house), but you don’t have to do that. Find a collection or set that you’ll use. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is the main point. Pieces that bring you joy and will lure you outside is the furniture for you.

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