Spring is just around the corner and it is time to start thinking about warm-weather alfresco entertaining or perhaps enjoying your morning cup of coffee in the garden. In order to truly enjoy and experience your garden you need proper patio furniture. Outfitting your outdoor space with the ideal patio furniture is key in making the space both functional and stylish. There are several important items to keep in mind when acquiring your patio furniture, such as your garden’s sun/shade patterns, how you plan on using the space, and your style preference. Storing and maintaining patio furniture are also equally important and should be considered.
Be sure to place the patio furniture in a location that is physically comfortable. The space should have plenty of sunlight to lift your spirits yet not be uncomfortably warm. You can mitigate extremely hot, sunny areas with umbrellas, arbors or awnings. Dappled shade is great but avoid extremely shady areas, as they tend to be cold and drafty. Keep in mind both the view you get while sitting in your favorite outdoor chair as well as how the furniture looks when viewed from the house. The right patio furniture makes a wonderful focal point.
When choosing what type of patio furniture you need, be sure to consider how often you will use it. You may also want to keep your budget in mind. If you are planning on using the patio furniture daily, comfort and durability are essential. Look for cushions with springs and soft fabrics. You can choose from chairs, dining tables, sofas, end tables and ottomans and create an outdoor living room. If your budget is small ,or you only plan on using the space occasionally, invest in only a few basic items.
Once you have made a list of what patio furniture you will need, consider what material it should be made of. Patio furniture should be able to stand up to the harsh outdoor environment. In windy locations, be sure the furniture is constructed of heavy materials such as wood or wrought iron. If wind is not a factor, and you want to be able to move the furniture around the garden, you can choose aluminum, wicker or rattan. Seek out cushions covered with outdoor fabric and filled with polyester fibers that filter air through them and dry out quickly. With our morning fog, this is important as synthetic outdoor fabrics won’t mildew or stain as quickly as natural fabrics. Outdoor fabrics are also made to withstand sunlight, preventing them from wearing or fading over time.
The style of patio furniture you choose depends on your aesthetic preference but be sure to keep the style of your home and garden in mind. Several popular patio furniture styles are as follows.
Casual – Nothing says laid-back like a pair of Adirondack chairs or an oversized hammock.
Modern – Contemporary patio furniture styles tend to be clean lined and oversized.
Retro – Iconic furniture form the ‘50’s, 60’s and ’70,s has become popular in today’s garden.
Metal – It’s a lightweight, long-lasting and hard wearing material.
Eclectic – This is a great “one-of-a-kind” look.
Country – Weathered wood is a great option for rustic style gardens.
Built-in – Permanent seating is both a space and money saver.
Keep in mind that each material requires different cleaning and maintenance methods. Regardless of what material you choose, remember that monthly cleaning and maintenance will keep your patio furniture looking its best and make your investment last longer. Most outdoor furniture can be cleaned with soap and water. If you choose to use a pressure washer, keep it at a low setting. In addition to cleaning, check with the manufacture about additional maintenance steps you can take to help your furniture last longer.
As the last rains of the season keep us indoors, spend sometime going through design magazines or go on-line and get ideas on what type of patio furniture suits you best. Get out of the house and take a “window shopping” trip to the retail outlets and check out what is new. If classic or retro furniture is your style, a trip to a flea market, garage sale or salvage yard may be the best way to find that perfect piece. Once you have created the ideal outdoor room take time to slow down and enjoy your new space.