Outdoor furniture isn’t what it used to be. The trend is no longer towards an outdoor dinette set but more of a living room type of space, and it can get elaborate.
During this edition of GLT’s gardening program Grow, Mike McCurdy talks with ISU’s Patrick Murphy about how outdoor furniture can be best used.
Waterproof and Durable
Spending a lot of time working outside to improve your landscaping can be exhausting. However, it can be a wonderful place to relax and enjoy your hard work.
Murph’s first tip is to have waterproof décor. You never know when the weather will suddenly change (especially in Illinois), and it is best to be prepared. Everything should be able to withstand a variety of weather conditions, including a rug. Choose one made with nylon. This makes it easier to clean and will leave it smelling fresh.
Rugs can define the space and make it more barefoot friendly. Outdoor rugs do not cause any damage to wood decks. Air can move through them and will not attract any unwanted creatures. They can also help reduce sound on the deck.
An outdoor space consists of more than a rug. Murph suggests waterproof pillows and cushions. They will have some water in them after it rains, but if you smack two pillows together, the water should shake off.
Make sure you test out the furniture before you buy. Just like a car, you want to give it a test drive. Your outdoor furniture should be dependent on who you think will be using it. Do you have kids or like to socialize with friends on the weekend? You should probably get furniture with arms, so you can avoid any unwanted falls (or spilled drinks).
You get what you pay for with outdoor furniture. If you get the cheaper stuff, you will be replacing it within a couple of years. Make sure you measure your outdoor area before you buy to avoid any mistakes. Murph also suggests placing mirrors on the outside of your house. Point it at the sky or the tree line. This makes it feel more lived in and acts more like a window.
If you can see the source of the light, it needs to be less than 40 watts. Generally, you want to be able to see the effect of the light but not the source. This gives it a great accent but isn’t overpowering.
During the winter you would need to either cover it or put it away in storage. Even if the furniture is waterproof, going from wet to freezing is hard on anything. You can leave it out all year if it's covered but the tarps may be an eyesore. If you can see your patio from your living room, you may want to invest in some attractive covers.
On next week’s GLT’s Grow we will talk about outdoor weather stations and garden cameras.
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