Tips and Guides

3 Materials for Your Outdoor Furniture

Design and durability are factors in choosing outdoor furniture. Learn which type of material is fit for your garden area


Choosing furniture for the garden is similar to choosing furnishings for your house. There are several factors that can influence your choice—one of first to come into mind is comfort and use. Keep in mind that the most important factor that you should consider when choosing furniture for your garden is durability.

Exposure to sun and rain can take its toll on all kinds of furniture materials. Wind can also have bad effects on lightweight materials. Even insects can be detrimental to furnishings made of wood. Let this list guide you before you purchase your garden furniture.

Styling by Issa Villar. Photos by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("For the Great Outdoors") in the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Plastic (Resin)

The use of plastic as an inexpensive material has allowed it to be used as a cheap alternative. With plastic being lightweight, it tends to easily topple over in strong wind, especially during storms. On the other hand, plastic has the advantage of being highly transportable, with most of them designed to be stackable.

RL Tip: Purchase woven plastic furnishings that mimic the look of rattan for a well-styled tropical garden.

Metal (wrough iron, aluminum)

Wrought iron and aluminum are probably the most durable and inexpensive materials used in garden furnishings. Wrought iron is heavy and this contributes to its stability especially in the garden where there is a lot of uneven ground.

Aluminum on the contrary is very light and could be knocked over easily, sometimes even by strong winds. But this lightweight quality is occasionally preferred because it makes the furniture easily relocated from one area to another. 


Wood is the most commonly used material for garden furniture, and has a natural patina that blends well with the garden environment. However, not all types of wood are ideal for outdoor use. Yakal, mahogany, molave, cedar, and teak are the best types of wood to choose from. These offer superior resistance to the elements with cedar in particular, containing naturally occurring pesticides to ward off hungry termites.

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