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Garden Furniture Materials: Pros & Cons

When it comes to creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor living space, choosing the right garden furniture materials is key. Whether you prefer a traditional or contemporary style, the selection of materials plays a significant role in the durability, aesthetics, and maintenance requirements of your outdoor furniture. In this article, we will delve into the world of garden furniture materials, exploring the qualities, advantages, and drawbacks of wood, metal, plastic, and rattan.


Metal garden furniture is favoured for its strength, sleek appearance, and low-maintenance qualities. Let’s explore its features:


  • Durability: Metal furniture, particularly aluminium and wrought iron, is known for its sturdiness and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Versatility: Metal furniture comes in various designs and finishes, from ornate Victorian styles to minimalist contemporary pieces, offering a wide range of options to suit different garden aesthetics.
  • Low Maintenance: Metal furniture requires minimal upkeep, generally only needing occasional cleaning and rust treatment.


  • Heat Retention: Metal furniture can become uncomfortably hot under direct sunlight, necessitating the use of cushions or umbrellas for heat protection.
  • Susceptibility to Rust: If not properly treated or coated, certain metals like iron can rust over time. Regular maintenance and protective coatings are necessary to prevent corrosion.


Rattan furniture, typically made from natural materials like bamboo, or synthetic wicker, offers a charming and rustic look for outdoor spaces. Let’s explore its characteristics:


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Rattan furniture brings a sense of natural beauty and a relaxed atmosphere to gardens, patios, or porches.
  • Lightweight and Versatile: Rattan furniture is lightweight, making it easy to move around and rearrange according to your needs or preferences. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, providing flexibility in its placement.


  • Vulnerability to Weather: Natural wicker furniture is susceptible to damage from moisture and prolonged exposure to the elements. To mitigate this, it is essential to use it in covered outdoor areas or apply protective coatings. Synthetic wicker is more weather-resistant.
  • Maintenance: Rattan furniture requires regular cleaning to remove dirt and debris that can accumulate in the woven patterns. Additionally, natural wicker may need occasional reapplication of varnish or protective finishes to prevent cracking or unravelling.


Wood has been a popular choice for garden furniture for centuries, known for its timeless appeal and natural beauty. Here are some key points to consider:


  • Aesthetics: Wood imparts warmth, elegance, and a classic charm to any garden setting. It blends seamlessly with nature, creating a harmonious outdoor ambience.
  • Durability: High-quality woods like teak, cedar, and eucalyptus are naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. Proper maintenance can extend their lifespan significantly.
  • Customisability: Wood can be shaped and carved into intricate designs, allowing for unique and personalised furniture pieces.


  • Maintenance: Wood furniture requires regular maintenance, including sealing, staining, or painting to protect it from the elements. Neglecting maintenance can lead to weathering, discolouration, and structural damage.
  • Cost: Compared to other materials, wood furniture can be more expensive, especially when using hardwoods known for their durability.


Plastic garden furniture has gained popularity due to its affordability, versatility, and ease of maintenance. Consider the following aspects:


  • Affordability: Plastic furniture is often the most budget-friendly option, making it accessible to a wider audience.
  • Lightweight: Plastic furniture is lightweight and easy to move around, allowing for flexible arrangements based on your garden layout or seasonal needs.
  • Weather Resistance: Unlike wood or metal, plastic is resistant to moisture, rot, and insect damage, making it ideal for humid climates or areas close to water bodies.


  • Durability: While plastic furniture can withstand various weather conditions, it may not be as durable as wood or metal options. Continuous exposure to UV rays can cause fading, cracking, or brittleness over time.
  • Aesthetics: Although advancements have been made in plastic furniture design, it may not possess the same visual appeal as wood or metal alternatives.


Choosing the right material for your garden furniture is crucial for creating a comfortable and inviting outdoor space. Each material offers unique advantages and considerations to keep in mind. Wood exudes timeless elegance but requires regular maintenance, while metal provides durability and a sleek appearance. Plastic offers affordability and low maintenance, while wicker brings a rustic charm to outdoor settings. Consider your personal style, climate conditions, and desired level of maintenance when making your selection.

Remember to assess the quality of materials and craftsmanship when purchasing garden furniture to ensure longevity and enjoyment. With proper care and attention, your chosen garden furniture will become a cherished element in your outdoor oasis, allowing you to relax, entertain, and appreciate the beauty of nature for years to come.

Updated on May 17, 2023

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