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Find Lawn and Garden Furniture to Fit Your Lifestyle

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Relaxing at home can be as easy as stepping outside. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, one of the nation's hottest home improvement trends is using lawn and garden furniture combined with decorative elements to create an "outdoor room."

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Today there are more lawn furniture options than ever, making it easy to find lawn chairs, dining tables, chaises, hammocks, umbrellas, and other furnishings that are stylish as well as comfortable, durable, and affordable.

Buy Outdoor Lawn Furniture that Fits Your Lifestyle

When shopping outdoor lawn furniture, consider the following:

  • Is your lawn or patio covered?
  • Do you have a place to store lawn chairs and other furnishings when it rains or is cold outside?
  • How many people, including children, will be using the outdoor space at any given time?
  • How do you see yourself using the space? Do you anticipate sitting in a lawn chair reading most of the time? Will you be hosting family dinners and/or entertaining large groups of friends?
  • How much money do you want to spend on outfitting your outdoor space?
  • Are you willing to take the time to paint or stain lawn furniture that requires annual maintenance?

Weigh Durability and Cost of Outdoor Furniture

Durability and weather resistance are  crucial if your lawn and garden furniture will endure rain, snow, or lots of sunshine. Cheaper furniture is easy to come by and can be found in many stores. Molded plastic offers a durable, practical, and inexpensive option, and stackable plastic lawn chairs are a snap to store.

Aluminum lawn furniture is similarly inexpensive, lightweight, and easily folded for storage. You can find plastic and aluminum outdoor lawn furniture just about anywhere. Covers can also be purchased for lawn chairs, tables, chaises, and other furnishings to help protect them. These less expensive options are painless to purchase but come with their own additional costs. First, not everyone likes the look of plastic or aluminum. Additionally, exposure and time causes vinyl straps on chairs and chaises crack and break, and canvas slings to fade and rip.

At the other end of the cost spectrum are wrought iron and wood. High-quality wrought iron and wood outdoor lawn furniture is an investment similar to buying furnishings for inside the house. You typically find these higher quality pieces at stores specializing in lawn and garden furniture, furniture retailers, and major department stores.

Outdoor Furniture Requires Maintenance

Wrought iron requires regular painting to ensure its weather resistance. But it lasts forever and is sturdy enough to accommodate people of any size and withstand the antics of children, who may want to stand or jump on the furniture. Likewise, high-quality wood lawn furniture, such as teak, is long-lasting and virtually indestructible, but it requires regular oiling and staining to protect the wood from drying and cracking.

Lawn Furniture: Comfort and Style at Any Price

Tubular metal is popular mid-range option which requires little maintenance beyond regular cleaning. Like plastic lawn furniture, it can be purchased at just about any supermarket in the late spring as well as other home goods retailers.

Lawn furniture can be made of wicker, rattan, or bamboo, which are less weather-resistant and meant more for sun rooms or for use on covered patios. Synthetic versions of these materials better handle the elements but are still meant for lighter use.

All of these options can be accessorized with colorful, comfortable cushions. They come in a variety of fabrics designed to resist fading and stand up to the weather.


About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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