Three Questions to Ask Before You Buy a New Patio Set

It’s time to start enjoying the patio or deck … finally! If you’re thinking of updating your outdoor furniture this year, there are several things to consider besides style. Before you start shopping, answer these three questions:

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How do you use your patio or deck?

Do you use your outdoor space to read and relax? Dine and entertain? Or a little of both?

If it’s mostly R&R, you’ll want to look for comfortable seating. Our plush-cushioned groupings are perfect for lingering outside. Also consider a fire pit, which will let you enjoy the area when it gets chilly at night. For the occasional party, you can purchase some less expensive, folding or stackable chairs that can be easily stored and pulled out when needed.

If you entertain quite a bit, look for seating sets made of lighter materials, such as aluminum, that can be moved into different configurations. Just because it’s light, doesn’t mean it’s fragile; today’s outdoor furnishings are built to be durable and withstand the weather.

For outdoor dinner parties, consider how many guests you regularly have. Rectangular and circular tables will seat six to eight, while a square table is perfect for two to four.

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How much space do you have?

Whether you have a two-tier deck or an apartment balcony, you’ll want to consider how much square footage you need to fill.

For larger yards, break the space into two areas, one for dining and another for conversation. For a mid-sized space, consider chairs with a cocktail table that can serve as a socializing and dining area. For small spaces, consider a bistro table for dining, or two chairs with a shared end table. Outdoor storage chests, made to hold cushions, can also double as seating if your tight on room.

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What kind of exposure to the elements will your patio furniture face?

Think about the direction in which your outdoor area faces. If you get several hours of sun, you’ll need an umbrella to provide shade. Choose umbrellas that can be used in the center of your dining table, or select a freestanding umbrella that can be adjusted when needed. Be sure to use it with a base; strong winds can take your umbrella sailing. And always keep it closed when not in use.

Outdoor furniture manufacturers make their products to last several years. Lightweight and durable, aluminum is powder-coated to be rustproof. It’s also easy to move inside if you’re worried about strong winds. Steel is heavier than aluminum. It’s also powder-coated to withstand rain. Once a fragile choice, today’s wicker is made of resin and it’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Wood is another good choice. Made from tropical hardwoods, it’s naturally resistant to the elements.

Finally, consider using covers to protect your investment. Even though outdoor furniture is made for the outdoors, furniture covers can extend the life of your pieces.

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