Home & Garden

Buying guide: Patio furniture

Buying guide: Patio furniture

© iStockphoto.com/Elena Elisseeva Image by: © iStockphoto.com/Elena Elisseeva Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Buying guide: Patio furniture

Before you buy, ask yourself these important questions:
• How much space do I have for patio furniture?
• How do I plan to use my patio – for lounging, for barbecuing and entertaining?
• How much time do I spend on the patio?
• What times of day do I use the patio most?
• What style of furniture would be best for the patio?
• How much sun exposure does the patio receive?
• What materials offer both low maintenance and high durability?

Patio picks
Purchase seating, tables and accent pieces based on the amount of outdoor space you have, how you plan to use the space and how much time you’ll spend in the space. If you plan to entertain frequently and spend a considerable amount of time on your patio, purchase the best-quality furnishings that you can afford for years of comfort and durability.

Patio furniture frames can be made of aluminum, plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), stainless steel, resin rattan and wicker, wrought iron, solid wood and eco-friendly polywood. If portability and storage are important to you, choose lightweight plastic and aluminum pieces, and consider space-saving stackable or folding styles of furniture. Go with heavier materials, such as wood, polywood or wrought iron if you’re looking for stability.

Look for pieces with seats and backs made with durable poly-mesh fabrics (common in sling styles) or cushions made of UV-, mould- and water-resistant outdoor fabrics filled with quick-drying, breathable polyester fibres.

Protect your investment

Prevent fading and water damage of outdoor canvas, nylon, polyester and cotton awnings, cushions and umbrellas with a quick protective spray of Thompson's WaterSeal ($12 per 326 g can, available at all major home improvement centres across Canada). It’s great for indoor fabrics, too!

Dining, coffee and side tables can feature tabletops made of glass, wood, polywood, metal or tile. New modern looks incorporate a stylish combination of wood and glass or metal. Multi-functional, adjustable tables are great solutions for small patios where entertaining is a regular pastime.

Patio accents
• Ottomans add comfort and bonus seating.
• Storage chests, coffee tables and bar carts add style and function.
• Recliners and chaise longues add luxurious comfort.
• Folding chairs and tables can be stored easily when not in use.
• Large, adjustable market umbrellas will protect furniture and family from the elements.


Most of today’s high-tech, durable materials are dead ringers for the real thing, but require less maintenance. Most materials, including resin wicker, polywood, stainless steel, aluminum, poly mesh, glass and plastic, require no seasonal refinishing and can be cleaned up quickly with a mild solution of soap and water, and rinsed with clean water.

Painted or stained wood, wrought iron and natural rattan wicker may require seasonal repairs due to mould, cracking, peeling and rust. Use exterior-grade paint or stain with UV protection and apply rust protection on metal pieces. Clean furniture with mild soap and water, and rinse with clean water.

Patio furniture covers are a good investment to help maintain the beauty and long life of your patio furniture.

Trending now: Resin wicker and polywood
Natural rattan is best used indoors, as UV rays can damage its colour. Get the look without the maintenance with hand-woven resin or PVC rattan, which you can simply hose off when dirty. For spills or tree sap, wash with a mild soap and water solution, and rinse with clean water.

Have you considered polywood outdoor furniture? Polywood is an eco-friendly product made with over 90 per cent recycled material that looks like wood and is permeated with vibrant colour throughout. It won’t splinter, crack, chip, peel or rot, and it’s resistant to corrosive substances, insects, fungi and other environmental stresses. Simply wipe it clean with soap and water.

Click here for great patio furniture options for every living space.


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Buying guide: Patio furniture