Types Of Outdoor Furniture

Transforming your outdoor space into a comfortable and inviting retreat is now easier than ever, thanks to the diverse array of garden furniture options on the market.

With materials ranging from durable aluminum to elegant natural wicker, there’s something for every taste and budget. In this blog post, we’ll explore various types of outdoor furniture materialsfunctional categories, and essential factors you should consider when selecting the perfect pieces for your patio or backyard oasis.

Key Takeaways


  • When selecting outdoor furniture, it’s important to consider factors such as climate and weather conditions, durability, maintenance and cleaning requirements, comfort, and functionality, as well as budget and cost.
  • Outdoor furniture materials include aluminum, steel or wrought iron, plastic or resin, synthetic rattan, wood, and natural wicker. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, maintenance needs, aesthetic appeal, and functionality.
  • Investing in durable materials upfront can save you money on repairs or replacements down the line while keeping your outdoor space looking its best season after season.
  • With proper care and storage during colder climates or harsh weather conditions, synthetic rattan garden furniture can last for years in your outdoor space as if new.


Factors To Consider For Outdoor Furniture

When choosing outdoor furniture, it’s important to consider factors such as climate and weather conditions, durability, maintenance and cleaning requirements, comfort, and functionality, as well as budget and cost.

Climate And Weather Conditions

Climate and weather conditions are crucial factors to consider when selecting the ideal outdoor furniture for your patio, garden, or deck. The durability and longevity of outdoor furniture will largely depend on its ability to withstand varying temperatureshumidity levels, rainfall, and exposure to direct sunlight.

In sunny locations where UV rays can cause fading or damage to certain materials like plastic or resin furnishings over time—a factor that also affects the fabric types used in cushions—it’s essential to choose pieces made with fade-resistant coatings.

Meanwhile, windy environments might require heavier options, such as wood pieces that won’t easily topple during gusts.


Durability is a crucial factor to consider when investing in outdoor furniture, as certain materials are more resistant to various environmental challenges than others.

High-quality, durable materials can withstand harsh weather conditions, moisture exposure, and temperature fluctuations – all of which are vital for the longevity of your patio or garden furnishings.

In contrast, low-cost or poorly constructed furniture may not stand up well to the elements over time. Materials like untreated wood or metals containing iron can be susceptible to rotting or rusting if proper maintenance is neglected.

Consequently, it’s essential to strike a balance between quality and budget when selecting outdoor furniture pieces that will remain attractive and functional for years to come.

Maintenance And Cleaning

Proper maintenance and cleaning are essential factors to consider when selecting outdoor furniture, as this ensures your investment stays in excellent condition for years to come.

Different materials have varying requirements; for instance, aluminum furnishings are low-maintenance and only need occasional washing with mild soap and water to retain their appearance.

Wooden furniture, such as teak or cedar pieces, often need regular treatments with preservatives to protect against rot and insect damage. Synthetic rattan is easy to clean with just a gentle wipe-down using soapy water but should be examined periodically for signs of wear or unraveling strands.

Natural wicker might demand more attention since it isn’t very hardy – requiring indoor storage during harsh weather conditions and annual protective waterproofing treatments.

Comfort And Functionality

Choosing outdoor furniture that offers both comfort and functionality is crucial in creating a relaxing and inviting outdoor space. Comfort is determined by factors such as the design of the furniture, quality of cushions or seating material, and the ease of adjusting seating positions.

For instance, patio sofas with plush cushions provide elevated levels of comfort while also being versatile enough to work as suitable spare beds for guests who may be stopping by.

Outdoor benches can add charm to your garden while also providing comfortable sitting options whenever you need them.

Budget And Cost

Considering budget and cost is an essential factor when it comes to buying outdoor furniture. The initial purchase price is just one aspect of the total cost, as ongoing maintenance costs should also be taken into account.

Investing in high-quality garden furniture may cost more initially, but it will last longer and require less maintenance over time. In contrast, cheaper options often do not withstand harsh weather conditions or regular use for extended periods, costing you more in replacement or repair expenses down the line.

For example, synthetic resin wicker typically lasts longer than natural materials like rattan but comes at a higher price point.

Types Of Outdoor Furniture Materials

Outdoor furniture materials include aluminum, steel or wrought iron, plastic or resin, synthetic rattan, wood, and natural wicker.


Aluminum is a popular material used in outdoor furniture due to its lightweightrust resistance, and low maintenance requirements.

It is particularly useful for patio sets that can be moved around frequently or stored away during the offseason. Unlike steel or wrought iron furniture, aluminum does not require regular painting maintenance.

Instead, it can be cleaned easily with soap and water. Plus, many manufacturers offer powder-coated finishes that make aluminum pieces even more durable and weather-resistant.

Steel Or Wrought Iron

Steel or wrought iron are popular materials for outdoor furniture due to their durability and strength. These materials can withstand harsh weather conditions without being damaged easily, making them ideal for use in garden benches or dining sets.

Additionally, steel or wrought iron furniture adds a classic and elegant touch to outdoor decor, enhancing the aesthetics of any outdoor space. Regular maintenance is required with these materials, including occasional painting to maintain their appearance since they may rust over time if not well-maintained.

Plastic Or Resin

Plastic or resin garden furniture is a popular choice for many people due to its affordability, light-weight, weather-resistant properties, and long-lasting durability.

This type of furniture is easy to clean and does not require any special treatments or maintenance, making it an ideal option for those who prefer low-maintenance outdoor furniture.

However, plastic or resin garden furniture can lose its shine and color when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods.

When selecting outdoor furniture made from plastic or resin materials, consider choosing high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), both of which are durable options that resist fading and cracking over time.

Synthetic Rattan

One of the most popular materials used for outdoor furniture is synthetic rattan. Made from woven and coated plastic strands, this material is highly weather-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor use in any climate.

In terms of durability, synthetic resin wicker, including synthetic rattan, is stronger and more durable than natural wicker. It can withstand high temperatures without cracking or peeling while being UV-resistant to prevent fading.

Although low-maintenance and highly durable, regular upkeep will improve its longevity and appearance over time.


Wooden outdoor furniture is a popular choice due to its natural and timeless appeal. However, different wood types have various characteristics that affect their durability and maintenance needs.

Teak, cedar, cypress, redwood, and white oak are some of the best wood choices for garden furniture. Teak is known for being highly durable and resistant to decay, rotting, and insects with minimal oiling needed to maintain it.

Shorea wood is another excellent option because it’s stronger than teak but has high oil content that makes it insect-resistant. Eucalyptus is a cost-effective alternative to teak with a washed appearance perfect for rustic settings.

One crucial thing to remember when considering wooden garden furniture is proper care and treatment as they require regular coating with preservatives like varnish or oil.

Natural Wicker

Natural wicker furniture has been a popular choice for outdoor spaces, but it’s not the most durable option out there. While it can add a charming touch to your garden, natural wicker requires indoor storage when not in use and needs waterproofing every year to prevent damage from moisture.

It’s also prone to fading and cracking under extreme temperatures, making it less than ideal for long-term outdoor use. If you’re looking for something that is stronger and more durable, synthetic resin is an excellent alternative.

Types Of Outdoor Furniture Based On Function

Different types of outdoor furniture serve specific functions, such as benches for seating, tables for dining, sofas for lounging, and bistro sets for intimate gatherings.


Garden benches are a popular and intimate addition to any outdoor space. They can be made from a variety of materials such as wood or metal and come in different sizes, styles, colors, and shapes that can match any garden decor.

Benches also provide an excellent seating option for limited spaces as they can accommodate more people than individual chairs.

One great example is the Adirondack bench, which combines comfort with functionality. Made out of wood or plastic, it has wide armrests where drinks or books can be placed while enjoying the view.

For those who prefer a more traditional look, wrought iron benches have intricate details that give off an authentic vintage feel.

Garden Chairs

Garden chairs are a popular type of outdoor furniture used for relaxing and enjoying the beauty of nature. They come in various materials, such as wood, metal, and plastic or resin.

Metal garden chairs made of aluminum, steel, or wrought iron are more durable than wooden ones and require less upkeep. Plastic or resin garden chairs are lightweight and affordable while still being sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather conditions.


Tables come in many different shapes and sizes, serving various functions in outdoor furniture. They are perfect for outdoor dining, playing board games with friends or family, painting, or studying while enjoying the outdoors.

Outdoor dining sets typically include tables and chairs made of wicker, resin weave, or metal to provide a comfortable and stylish environment for dining al fresco.

Fire pit tables that function as both a table and a fire pit have become increasingly popular among homeowners who want to create an inviting ambiance on their patio or deck.

Patio bars are another great option for outdoor entertaining; they offer not only additional seating but also storage space for drinks, snacks, and other items needed during gatherings.


Sofas are a popular type of outdoor furniture that provides comfortable and stylish seating for outdoor spaces. These large format seats come in many different designs, from modern to traditional, and can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, or wicker.

Some luxury brands offer outdoor sofas with eco-friendly materials like recycled plastic or sustainably sourced wood. Sofas are great for larger families or social groups as they provide ample seating for everyone to gather around and relax by the pool or fire pit.

Bistro Sets

Bistro sets are a perfect addition to any outdoor space, especially for those who enjoy intimate outdoor dining. These sets usually consist of small café tables and pub stools, making it easy to create an intimate ambiance that fosters conversation among guests.

Originating in 19th-century France, bistro sets have evolved over the years and are now available in various styles, colors, and designs. They can be made of different materials, such as iron or synthetic rattan, which make them weather-resistant and perfect for outdoor use.

Outdoor Dining Sets

Outdoor dining sets are perfect for hosting outdoor dinners with family and friends. They usually consist of a table and chairs designed to withstand the harsh weather conditions associated with outdoor dining.

These sets come in various materials such as wood, metal, plastic or resin, synthetic rattan, and more.

It’s important to consider factors such as comfort, style, cost, and durability when choosing an outdoor dining set that suits your needs. It’s also essential to measure the space available before buying one, and check the textile used in the cushions for quality and waterproofing features while being mindful of storage capacity during off-seasons.

Gazebo And Pergola Furniture

Gazebo and pergola furniture are perfect for outdoor spaces with a touch of luxury and added functionality. Gazebos are freestanding outdoor structures that provide shade, shelter, and a comfortable gathering spot on the patio or deck.

Pergolas, on the other hand, features an open-top design to create partial shade using slats or beams. Adding furniture such as cushioned seating sets or dining tables can make these features more practical while still being stylish.

Some examples of gazebo and pergola furniture include loungers, dining sets with built-in benches or chairs, cozy sofas with coffee tables, hammocks, and even chandeliers.

Patio And Deck Bars

Patio and deck bars are a great addition to outdoor spaces, providing both seating and storage for beverages during backyard parties or intimate gatherings. These types of outdoor furniture are typically made of durable materials such as aluminum or steel, ensuring they can withstand the elements without rusting or corroding.

Some patio bars even come with built-in coolers to keep drinks perfectly chilled on hot summer days.

For example, Home Depot offers numerous options for patio and deck bars that suit various preferences in style, from classic metal frame designs topped with elegant granite slabs to rustic wood-style models complete with storage shelves, bottle racks, towel hooks, footrests, and more.

Fabric Types For Outdoor Furniture

Different types of fabric can be used for outdoor furniture, including Sunbrella fabric, polyester, olefin, and canvas.

Sunbrella Fabric

Sunbrella fabric is a popular choice for outdoor furniture cushions and upholstery due to its durability and resistance to fading. Made from solution-dyed acrylic fibers, this fabric maintains its vibrant colors in even the harshest climates.

Sunbrella fabric is also UV-protective, mold-resistant, and stain-resistant.

Investing in Sunbrella fabric for your outdoor furniture may come at a higher cost compared to other fabrics, but the benefits make it worth it in the long run. It not only adds comfort and style but also extends the life of your outdoor furniture by resisting weather damage that can weaken or deteriorate materials over time.


Another popular fabric option for outdoor furniture is polyester. This material offers excellent durability and resistance to water and mildew, making it a great choice for outdoor cushions and pillows.

Polyester fabrics are also treated to resist UV rays and fading from sunlight, ensuring they can withstand extended exposure to the elements. In addition, polyester fabrics come in a variety of styles and colors to match any outdoor decor.

Some types of outdoor furniture may have removable polyester covers for easy cleaning and maintenance as well. Despite its resilience, regular upkeep is necessary to maintain the durability and appearance of outdoor furniture made with polyester fabrics.


Olefin is a popular fabric used in outdoor furniture. This synthetic fiber, made from polyolefin, which is a type of plastic, exhibits exceptional weather resistance, durability, and fade resistance.

Its resistant properties make it perfect for use outdoors, as it doesn’t deteriorate quickly when exposed to moisture or chemicals. Olefin fabric can be easily cleaned with just soap and water, making maintenance easy.

It’s also UV-resistant, ensuring that its color won’t fade even when directly under the sun’s exposure. Besides being lightweight and versatile, this type of fabric comes in different colors and patterns while remaining affordable compared to other options for outdoor furniture fabrics.


Canvas is a popular fabric option for outdoor furniture due to its durability and resistance against weather elements. Made from heavy-duty cotton or polyester, canvas is often treated with solutions that make it resistant to mildew, rot, and UV rays.

Additionally, the tight weave of the material makes it highly water-resistant and sturdy enough to withstand harsh winds. Canvas is often used as an upholstery material for outdoor seating like patio chairs and lounges, as well as for canopies on pergolas or gazebos.

For example, Sunbrella canvas delivers excellent performance in any weather condition – rain or shine – without losing its color vibrancy or structural integrity over time.

Outdoor Furniture Accessories

In addition to the furniture itself, outdoor accessories like patio umbrellas, outdoor cushions and pillows, outdoor rugs, and patio heaters can enhance your backyard experience.

Patio Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas are an essential accessory for outdoor furniture. They provide shade and protection from the sun’s harmful rays, making them a must-have for any outdoor space.

Patio umbrellas come in various designs, shapes, sizes, and colors to match any decor style. For instance, you can choose a freestanding umbrella or one that attaches to your outdoor dining table.

One benefit of incorporating patio umbrellas into your outdoor space is that they help extend your living area beyond four walls while providing comfort and convenience.

Outdoor Cushions And Pillows

Outdoor cushions and pillows are essential accessories that add both comfort and style to outdoor furniture sets. These cushions and pillows come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes to fit different types of outdoor chairs, sofas, and chaise lounges.

Not only do they provide a comfortable seating experience for outdoor relaxation and entertaining but they also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your patio set by adding pops of color or pattern.

Outdoor cushions and pillows should be checked for durability and easy maintenance before purchasing them. It’s important to store them in dry shaded areas when not in use to prevent damage from weather elements.

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a versatile and practical accessory for outdoor furniture. They add color and texture to patios, decks, and gardens while providing a soft surface underfoot.

Outdoor rugs come in various sizes, shapes, patterns, and materials, such as polypropylene or synthetic fibers that resist fading from the sun’s UV rays. Not only do they create an inviting atmosphere for guests, but also protect deck surfaces from scratches caused by sliding chairs or tables.

Patio Heaters

In addition to outdoor furniture, patio heaters have become a popular accessory for those who want to extend their time outside. These heaters are designed to provide warmth and comfort during colder months, making it easier to enjoy the outdoors year-round.

Patio heaters come in various styles and sizes, ranging from tabletop versions that can be placed on an outdoor dining table to freestanding models that can heat large open spaces.

When choosing a patio heater, it’s important to consider factors such as fuel type (propane or natural gas), the size of the space being heated, and safety features like automatic shut-off switches.

How To Choose The Best Material For Outdoor Furniture

Assess your needs based on the purpose and location of the furniture, measure the available space, check for fabric quality and durability, consider maintenance and storage requirements, evaluate the overall quality of the material, and choose a budget-friendly option that meets all necessary criteria.

Assess The Need

Before purchasing outdoor furniture, it is important to assess the need based on your lifestyle and intended use. Do you plan on hosting large barbecues or intimate gatherings? Will the furniture be used for lounging or dining? These questions will help determine the necessary size and type of furniture needed.

Additionally, consider the climate and weather conditions in your area as well as available space for storage during inclement weather.

For example, if you enjoy hosting dinner parties outdoors throughout the summer months, investing in a quality dining set that comfortably seats all guests would be a practical choice.

On the other hand, if you prefer to lounge with a book by yourself or spend time outside watching birds from your deck, a comfortable chaise lounge or loveseat might be more suitable for your needs.

Measure The Space

Before buying any outdoor furniture, it is crucial to measure the available space. This will help ensure that the furniture fits properly and provides ample room for movement.

To avoid this disappointment, take measurements of your outdoor area before you go shopping. Consider how you want to use the space and what kind of furniture will work best in terms of size and shape.

Keep in mind that some pieces may need more room than others, such as a dining table compared to a lounge chair.

Check The Textile

When choosing outdoor furniture, it’s important to take a closer look at the textiles used on the upholstery and cushions. The fabric should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as rain or extreme heat, without losing its quality or color.

Popular fabric options for outdoor furniture include acrylic, olefin, CushionGuard, cotton blend, and Sunbrella. Each material has unique qualities that make them suitable for different environments or preferences.

Remember that everything from seat pads down to throw pillows will require washing at some point so durability is key when selecting textile type– ideally with resistant-staining features incorporated into the fibers themselves!

Consider Maintenance And Storage

When it comes to outdoor furniture, maintenance, and storage are crucial factors that can affect the longevity of your investment. Different types of materials require unique care instructions to keep them in great condition.

For example, wooden furniture needs regular polishing or waterproofing to prevent rotting or warping from exposure to moisture. On the other hand, synthetic resin wicker doesn’t need much upkeep but requires covering when not in use to avoid fading or discoloration.

It’s important to consider the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into maintaining your outdoor furniture before making a purchase. Additionally, if you have limited space for storage during colder months or extreme weather conditions, lightweight and foldable options might be more practical choices for easy storing without taking up too much space inside your home.

Evaluate Quality And Durability

Choosing outdoor furniture with good quality and durability is important for making your investment last longer. High-quality materials like teak, resin wicker, and cast aluminum can withstand the harsh weather conditions that outdoor furniture is exposed to.

It’s also important to consider factors like construction qualityfinish details, and weight capacity when evaluating the overall durability of a piece of outdoor furniture.

Regular upkeep, such as cleaning and maintaining protective finishes, should also be taken into account to keep your outdoor furniture in top condition.

Author Profile

Steve Page
.....With a love of the great outdoors be it in the backyard, hiking or fishing
Steve loves to share his tips on how to get the best from your patio, yard or
garden, rain or shine. Researching the best products from garden furniture to smokers and Generators. Steve will keep you up to date with the latest gear to make your outdoor space the best it can be.