Today the use of the backyard as an extension of your living space for outdoor living is growing. The fresh air is wonderful and not having to clean the floors is the best! You can get comfortable and elegant seating for budget prices. And with the addition of outdoor kitchens, who needs to go inside?
While there are many budget options available to the buyers today, you need to pay attention to how less expensive and, for that matter, even more expensive outdoor seating will weather, how much upkeep it will require, how durable the material is and if it needs to be treated or protected during the off-season.
- Wicker or rattan. This is the most “romantic” of the outdoor styles and ranges in price from inexpensive foreign-made pieces to costly vintage Victorian. It is usually the most ornate style and works well in a formal English or French Country garden. Furniture made with wicker will deteriorate with long exposure to sun and rain. A marine varnish can be used to add protection if your furniture is exposed to weather for long periods. You can get a wicker look in molded plastic or cast iron if you don't like the care that wicker or rattan requires. But these alternatives have their own problems. Plastic can crack when exposed to the weather and cast iron can rust (for more care tips, check cast iron below). The pieces from all materials should be brought indoors in the winter and in the summer, used on porches or patios protected from rain and direct sun.
- Teak. Teak furniture has a modern look and looks well in any garden. It can be expensive, but its strength is second to none. Teak is a tropical hardwood and is the most durable wood available for outdoor furniture. It will hold up for years without warping and cracking and actually looks better over time, gaining unique character and silver color. But after 5-6 years outdoors, you should oil the teak to keep it from drying out.
- Redwood. Redwood is very traditional and durable and is available in all price ranges. Just be sure to check that it is indeed redwood and not just redwood colored. Redwood looks wonderful in a casual garden and should be sanded about once a year, then varnished with one or more coats, depending on how weathered it has looks. If you are looking for more of a flat or matte finish, use a redwood stain with an oil base every year./p]
- Cast Iron or cast aluminum. Ornate and curved cast iron furniture is perfect for a formal Victorian garden. It comes in a variety of styles, price ranges, and is traditionally covered with a white or black enamel paint. Cast iron requires lots of care. Clean it on a regular basis with warm water and soap. Make sure you dry the furniture completely to avoid rust. Cheaper versions can be less durable and even harder to clean.
- Cement. Cement benches can be used in any garden. They can be as elaborate or simple as the owner wishes and budget allows. Concrete benches can handle a large range of temperatures. Sealers can be applied for water and stain resistance. Plus you can clean it with just a garden hose.
- Plastic. Plastic furniture is available in so many options today that it will be at home in any garden style. It can be used to create the look of wicker, cement or cast iron. Most plastic furniture today is made of a sturdy recycled plastic polymer and is moisture, chlorine, insect, and sea water resistant. But exposing the furniture to the weather year round will drastically reduce its durability.
- Found. Some of the best and most inexpensive backyard furniture pieces are simply thrift shop or yard sale finds. An old wooden dining room table or chairs that need a little loving care can make a great outdoor set. Old tables, benches, cabinets, and chairs repurposed for the backyard with a little paint can be the answer to your budget dreams.
Outdoor living in the garden can be perfect for today’s family for both relaxation and entertaining. Pick the perfect pieces at the right price in the perfect style with the right construction and you will have a wonderful space for years to come. And even if you choose the wrong furniture, who cares? All you really need is a couple of folding chairs, a card table, and friends to have a good time!