In the past the only really affordable outdoor furnishing options were folding lawn chairs and splintering wood picnic tables. More recently, plastic or metal chairs and glass-topped tables, with umbrellas in them, took over the market. Now you can get almost any type of outdoor furniture you would want for indoors, for outdoors including: console tables, loungers, chaise, sofas sectionals, coffee tables, side tables, dining chairs and tables, hanging chairs, and arm chairs all in weather resistant and often sustainable materials.
There are generally two looks in modern outdoor furnishing, smooth free flowing and rounded, organically shaped, pieces that reflect their surroundings. Or more rigid rectilinear shapes that mirror indoor furnishings and modern cubistic styles. If you do decide to go with some furniture from each style try to keep them separated in groups, such as a rectilinear dining area and a separate organically shaped lounging area.
No matter which style you choose for your back yard design there are many different materials that you can choose from. Natural materials such as rattan, jute, liana, water hyacinth and teak, and man-made materials such as stainless steel, aluminum and UV resistant plastics. Whichever materials you use make sure that any metal comes with a rustproof finish and that plastic materials especially are UV resistant and recyclable at the end of their life cycle. Non-recyclable plastics may be cheaper in some areas but they are also usually thinner grade and therefore easier to break and impossible to repair.
Nowadays most outdoor furnishing options come with something that their predecessors did not, comfy cushions. Outdoor fabric technology has progressed to the point that you can now find fabrics that have the UV and water resistant elements woven right into the fabric. These types of fabrics are still quite expensive however, and most suitable outdoor fabrics are merely sprayed with a UV and water repellent finish.
Most outdoor furniture can be cleaned with a hose only, but ask your furniture provider for any special care instructions. If and when the fabric component of your furnishings wears out make sure that you replace it with an appropriately UV and water resistant fabric. If you have a covered deck or patio, and/or live in an area without much rain it can be tempting to buy a fabric that simply “looks nice”. The truth is that even indirect sunlight can damage fabric fibers, weakening and bleaching them, very quickly, which is why almost all new windows currently sold have some UV protection built-in.
When arranging outdoor furnishing, especially in a big yard, try to arrange different groupings for different activities just as you would inside the home. A dining area, a lounging area, perhaps around a fire pit, a conversational area in a shaded spot and even a nap area created by placing a covered daybed in a secluded corner. Day beds are also great for getting out of the sun after an afternoon of swimming or for curling up with a good book even on a autumn or spring day.
Boardwalk bench from Forms Surfaces is made from FSC Recycled reclaimed Cumaru hardwood slats repurposed from the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
This Atlantic Garden Bench from Gaiam can be used in front of a flower garden or on either side of a fire pit table in a lounge area.
The Garden Bench from Gaiam is more of an outdoor bar with a recessed tub for holding all of your cool beverages.
The Cole Henley Barbecue Table comes in 8 and 6-seater versions made from iroko wood and brushed steel and it runs on clean burning gas.
Greenfield Luxury Outdoor Furniture from Roberti Rattan is made from wicker, rattan, polyethylene cables and aluminum and is suitable for indoor or outdoor areas. The collection includes loungers, stools, sofas, and tables.
Pebble from Creative Living is an organically shaped “seating sculpture” made from fiberglass that is UV and water proof.
Outdoor furnishing made from recycled materials from LOLL.
The Queen of Love Armchair seats two, is made from ecofriendly recyclable UV resistant plastic and it comes in 14 colors.
Outdoor Convertible Furniture by Ego Paris – Kube Collection unfolds to be a chair, lounger stool or table with cushion on each side.
The Dedon Swingrest Hanging lounger has cushion options in acrylic, polyester and leather, in a variety of colors and patterns.
Recycled Material Dala Armchairs and stools by Dedon are made from non-toxic and sustainably produced from 100% recyclable fabric.
Sparan Day bed from Skyline Design features overlapping shaded arches.
The Hedges chaise lounger from Thos Baker looks like cast iron but is actually much lighter, as it is made from cast aluminum, and also has wheels to help move it around the yard.
Spirit Song lounge chair from Reforest Teak by Tiffany and Tiffany is a molded FEQ heartwood teak chair.
This Ripple outdoor sofa from Evidence is made from fast growing Rattan fused into this amazing design.