When you’re picking your outdoor furniture (or, any furniture!) you should be looking for something that lasts. Our furniture is going to be with us through the highs and lows of Australian weather, so it needs to be sturdy, durable and resistant to all the forces of nature. Of course, durability often comes with a high price tag, so you want to make sure you pick exactly what suits your needs. For your best guide on durable outdoor furniture, check out our list of the strongest materials to look out for!
Wood is one of the most popular materials for outdoor use, but you want hardwood specifically to deck out your deck. Teak is the best for this, as it contains oils and natural resin that makes it water and insect resistant, as well as protected from dry rot. Properly cared for, teak will outlast every other piece of furniture, but the upkeep might be a little much for those of us without the time or budget. Eucalyptus is another great choice that is also sustainable, but it may not survive extreme cold without care and is susceptible to native insects like pinhole borers (but, thanks to its natural insect repelling oils, not much else!). Fir, oak and shorea are other popular hardwoods, but oak has little of the defensive oils the other woods do, and shorea is highly regulated.
All wood will fade under the sun, but you can absolutely protect it with sealants, regular cleaning, and other treatments.
Once just a plain building material, concrete has been trending as a design material thanks to it’s incredible durability and strength. Unfortunately, natural concrete is incredibly porous, so there will be no saving that red wine stain with bicarb and vinegar. Especially not with vinegar, or lemon juice, or anything acidic that could dissolve the surface. No cocktails outside! Finally, once it’s in it’s IN; you’re not going to be moving it any time soon unless you have a dedicated crew. Thankfully, we can now choose from composite concrete that is mixed with fibreglass or resin to make it stronger, lighter and less porous.
Stainless-steel is exactly what it says it is: strong, sturdy and stainless, aka no rust! It’s easy to clean, weather resistant, can’t rot or fade like organic materials, and can be made from recycled materials. Plus, who doesn’t love the shine of silver? It’s timeless! What you won’t love is the dent it will make on your wallet. It also holds heat, which is less than ideal on a 40° Australian summer day.
We think of glass as a very fragile material, but tempered glass is far from frail. Tempered glass is thick, solid, and specially treated to be weather and smudge resistant. The smooth, shiny surface gives the perfect elegant touch to your outdoor setting. Like concrete, it is very hard to move, but it might be worth the weight.
How. Gorgeous. Is. That. Wrought iron furniture gives you the look of an English manor, or maybe just reminds you of fun days drinking tea on the porch at grandma’s house. Wrought iron is sturdy, comes in all sorts of gorgeous ornate designs, and looks perfectly in place in any backyard. Unfortunately, the aesthetics come at a cost: wrought iron is prone to rust, very heavy to move, and not always very comfortable. Like stainless-steel, it can also get very hot on a summer’s day, especially if it comes in black.
High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Why is HDPE one of the most popular of plastics? Let’s see:
- It’s lightweight, so you can carry it anywhere.
- It’s strong and impact resistant: drop it and find out!
- It’s weather resistant, mould resistant and rot resistant, so it’s great for pipes.
- It’s easy to mould into any shape. And we mean any shape.
- It is recyclable, more important than ever!
Those features are great for everything else – what about the benefits for my patio? Well, HDPE is fade-resistant, easy to clean, lightweight and strong. If you are looking for wicker without the drawbacks of natural materials, HDPE wicker can look identical. You can buy pieces made from recycled HDPE and recycle it yourself when it reaches the end of its life. Of course plastic won’t have the elegance of other materials, but it’s the perfect solution for the average family who wants pieces that stand up to time.
High pressure laminate (HPL)
HPL is made of six to eight layers of resin-impregnated kraft paper, decorative paper and a clear overlay. It is incredibly hard, flame retardant and has antibacterial properties. It is also water and stain resistant. It has similar features to tempered glass: beautiful, easy to clean, and expensive.
Our last two materials focus on fabric, one of the hardest materials to keep outside. Good news: acrylic fabric is a good way to go. Water resistant, breathable and fade resistant, this material also dries quickly and is easily cleaned, either by spot cleaning or throwing in the washing machine (according to instructions!).
Olefin does everything acrylic does, with the bonus that it is recyclable and has an environmentally friendly production process. It is heat sensitive, but that won’t be a problem for daily use unless you set it near the firepit. It is stain-resistant except against oil-based stains, so be careful with the tanning oil!
Don’t just choose the right materials for your backyard, choose the right supplier. Gardeon’s pieces are durable with sturdy construction and quality materials, so you can rest assured our pieces will stand the test of time.