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Choosing your outdoor furniture

This summer, transform the deck, patio and garden into an open dining and lounging area. This buying guide will help you choose the garden furniture that best suits your needs.

Components of an outdoor patio set

Here are a few tips to familiarize yourself with the different components that make up outdoor furniture sets offered in store.

Lounging area

  1. Sofa
  2. Coffee table
  3. Back cushion
  4. Seat cushion
  5. Ottoman

Dining Table

  1. Table
  2. Tabletop
  3. Chair

Chairs and armchairs

Chairs included in a dining set are often straight-back chairs that replicate the chairs used for indoor dining sets. Armchairs usually have deeper seats.

Features to consider:

  • With or without armrests;
  • Seat height;
  • Reclining positions and adjustments;
  • Seat depth, either standard or extra deep;
  • Pivoting, rocking or straight base;
  • Storage options with chairs you can stack or fold away;
  • Hardware, either copper or stainless steel.

Lounge Chairs

The lounge chair has been integral to traditional garden decor for a very long time. Still a buyer’s favourite, lounge chairs have evolved over time and are now made of a larger range of materials.

Features to consider:

  • Number of seats, single or double;
  • With or without arm support;
  • Slide out or fold out tray;
  • Adjustable reclining positions;
  • Adjustable footrest;
  • Wheels on legs to facilitate moving.

Sofas and loveseats

Sofas are just as popular as outdoor chairs and armchairs.

Features to consider:

  • Number of seats, usually two or three;
  • With or without a swing mechanism;
  • With or without armrests;
  • Seat depth, regular or extra deep;
  • Seat height.

Tables, coffee tables and side tables

Tables are both practical and decorative, from the traditional rectangular table with tempered glass top to the charming bistro table.

Features to consider:

  • Shape of the tabletop: round, square or rectangular;
  • Space for guests;
  • With or without a leaf;
  • Location of the legs, either in the corners or in the centre;
  • Composition of the tabletop, which can be tempered glass, tiles, or the same material as the frame;
  • Possibility of inserting a table umbrella.

Pro tip

When choosing outdoor furniture, keep in mind your available space, the furniture’s resistance to the sun and severe weather conditions, maintenance requirements and storage needs.

Materials

The materials used to make outdoor furniture can generally be divided into three main categories:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Synthetic resin.

New natural-looking composite materials like wood composite have been developed to be more resistant to difficult weather conditions. Combining materials, such as wood and metal or metal and ceramic tile, can also be very alluring in outdoor furniture.

Wood and Composite Furniture

Wood furniture

Whatever wood species is used, wood furniture is a perennial favourite.

  • The harder the wood, the longer it will last.
  • Teak, one of the most popular species for garden furniture, is a fine-grained hardwood;
  • Teak doesn’t rot, and it’s very resistant to changes in temperature.

Composite furniture

A combination of wood and resin goes into furniture made of composite materials.

  • Lightweight and durable, this type of material is used more and more for building decks, fences, and outdoor furniture.
  • No need for new tools; you can use your traditional building tools when working with composite.
  • Composite materials are mould and mildew-resistant and won’t crack or splinter.
  • Is a good alternative to wood.

Consult the table below for benefits, drawbacks and maintenance advice.

Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Wood
  • Warm appearance that works with all types of decor
  • Durable if well-maintained
  • Available using local wood species (pine, white or red cedar)
  • Exotic species also available (teak and mahogany)
  • Requires maintenance
  • Should be stored during the winter; if left outdoors, snow should not be left to accumulate
  • Expensive, initially
  • Wash with soapy water
  • Stain, paint, or apply oil recommended by the manufacturer, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Composite Material
  • Available in many colours
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Mould and mildew-resistant
  • Colours don’t fade
  • Expensive, initially
  • Wash with soapy water
Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Wood
  • Warm appearance that works with all types of decor
  • Durable if well-maintained
  • Available using local wood species (pine, white or red cedar)
  • Exotic species also available (teak and mahogany)
  • Requires maintenance
  • Should be stored during the winter; if left outdoors, snow should not be left to accumulate
  • Expensive, initially
  • Wash with soapy water
  • Stain, paint, or apply oil recommended by the manufacturer, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Composite Material
  • Available in many colours
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Mould and mildew-resistant
  • Colours don’t fade
  • Expensive, initially
  • Wash with soapy water

Metal Furniture

Metal furniture is incredibly sturdy, long-lasting and can stand up to all kinds of weather.

  • Metal harmonizes with all decor styles, from a traditional English-style garden decor to a simpler rustic decor, all the way to a minimalist contemporary style decor.
  • This category includes aluminum, stainless steel and wrought iron furniture.

Consult the table below for benefits, drawbacks and maintenance advice.

Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Aluminium - Tubular
  • Works well in a modern design
  • Comfortable with or without cushions
  • Usually foldable, easy to store
  • Lightweight, easy to handle and move
  • Moderately priced
  • Easy to maintain, doesn’t rust
  • Can be covered with PVC
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • Does not work well for a rustic or romantic decor
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Cover if left outside over the winter
Aluminum - Cast Aluminum
  • Available in a variety of styles: romantic, modern, urban, etc.
  • Lightweight, easy to move around
  • Moderately priced
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable, doesn’t rust
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Cover if left outside over the winter
Steel
  • Interesting look, associated with a modern design
  • More wind-resistant than aluminum
  • Foldable, easy to store
  • Affordable
  • May rust if not covered with an antirust finish
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Use a metal brush to eliminate rust spots
  • Touch up with anti-rust paint
Wrought Iron
  • Durable, can last for decades
  • Refined, elegant, romantic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Painted black, brown, beige or white
  • Very heavy; difficult to move around
  • May rust
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Can’t be folded or stacked; requires considerable storage space
  • Expensive, initially
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Apply liquid wax three to four times per year
  • Use a metal brush to eliminate rust spots
  • Touch up with anti-rust paint
Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Aluminium - Tubular
  • Works well in a modern design
  • Comfortable with or without cushions
  • Usually foldable, easy to store
  • Lightweight, easy to handle and move
  • Moderately priced
  • Easy to maintain, doesn’t rust
  • Can be covered with PVC
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • Does not work well for a rustic or romantic decor
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Cover if left outside over the winter
Aluminum - Cast Aluminum
  • Available in a variety of styles: romantic, modern, urban, etc.
  • Lightweight, easy to move around
  • Moderately priced
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable, doesn’t rust
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Cover if left outside over the winter
Steel
  • Interesting look, associated with a modern design
  • More wind-resistant than aluminum
  • Foldable, easy to store
  • Affordable
  • May rust if not covered with an antirust finish
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Use a metal brush to eliminate rust spots
  • Touch up with anti-rust paint
Wrought Iron
  • Durable, can last for decades
  • Refined, elegant, romantic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Painted black, brown, beige or white
  • Very heavy; difficult to move around
  • May rust
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Can’t be folded or stacked; requires considerable storage space
  • Expensive, initially
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Apply liquid wax three to four times per year
  • Use a metal brush to eliminate rust spots
  • Touch up with anti-rust paint

Synthetic Material Furniture

Synthetic resin furniture

A popular choice, offering new combinations, styles, textures and attractive colours. When you’re choosing your furniture, opt for the thickest and heaviest resin available; it will last longer. Coloured resin materials are more resistant to water marks left by the rain, which is a problem with white resin furniture.

Synthetic rattan, PVC wicker, and Petan fibre

Especially well-liked because they combine the beauty of natural rattan with easy maintenance, these materials also harmonize with all sorts of decors, from rustic to classic or modern.

If you choose this solution, it is best not to compromise on the quality of the frames, usually made of metal.

Consult the table below for benefits, drawbacks and maintenance advice.

Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Synthetic Resin
  • Durable, comfortable, and fairly resistant
  • Affordable
  • Easy to store; foldable or stackable
  • Lightweight; easy to move around
  • Easy to maintain
  • Not very rigid; more likely to break than wood or metal
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • More ordinary aesthetic
  • Colours fade over time
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Opt for a non-porous glossy finish to facilitate cleaning
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Apply a resin furniture wax in the spring and mid-summer
Synthetic Rattan / sling
  • Resistant to moisture and mould, dries quickly outside
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable
  • Comfortable with or without cushions
  • Highly resistant to weathering and stains
  • Expensive, particularly high-end materials
  • Poor quality materials stretch in the heat
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Requires considerable storage space, since furniture cannot be folded or stacked
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
Material
Benefits
Drawbacks
Maintenance
Synthetic Resin
  • Durable, comfortable, and fairly resistant
  • Affordable
  • Easy to store; foldable or stackable
  • Lightweight; easy to move around
  • Easy to maintain
  • Not very rigid; more likely to break than wood or metal
  • Lightweight; vulnerable to windy conditions
  • More ordinary aesthetic
  • Colours fade over time
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Opt for a non-porous glossy finish to facilitate cleaning
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water
  • Apply a resin furniture wax in the spring and mid-summer
Synthetic Rattan / sling
  • Resistant to moisture and mould, dries quickly outside
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable
  • Comfortable with or without cushions
  • Highly resistant to weathering and stains
  • Expensive, particularly high-end materials
  • Poor quality materials stretch in the heat
  • Must be stored during the winter
  • Requires considerable storage space, since furniture cannot be folded or stacked
  • Can be cleaned with soapy water

Accessories

Cushions, umbrellas, hammocks and other accessories are available in a wide range of textures, patterns and colours that are fun to combine.

Cushions

When choosing your cushions, pay particular attention to the covers. They are generally made of cotton, polyester or PVC-covered fibres.

  • Cotton is fresh-feeling and comfortable, but less resistant to stains and tearing.
  • PVC-covered fibres are both comfortable and very resistant, though less fresh looking.
  • Polyester is smooth, supple and comfortable and provides good value for money.

Water-repellent acrylic that has been treated to withstand UV rays and resist staining is being used more and more to cover cushions. Cushions and padding materials are designed to be water-resistant, but it is still preferable to store your cushions indoors or cover them when not in use.

These additional precautions will maximize the life and appearance of your cushions.

Umbrellas

There is a variety of patio umbrellas available today, from the traditional model inserted into the centre of the table to the self-supporting umbrella placed to one side.

  • The choice of colours and shapes is vast.
  • Umbrella size varies enormously: up to 4m wide or 4m in diameter.
  • The best way to make an umbrella waterproof and resistant to sun and dust is to use a protective cover, which will also enhance its wind-resistance.

Garden shelters

In addition to permanently-installed sheds in the yard, there are more and more portable garden structures available now. Most are constructed with highly resistant and durable fabrics, treated to resist water and UV rays. Shapes and configurations vary a great deal.

Patio bars

Outdoor bars are increasingly popular. Often made of wood, they are also practical; the counter includes storage space for bottles and other useful items like ice cubes. Gather round some bar stools, and you’re all set to entertain your friends in  a festive, stylish ambiance.

All garden furniture accessories available.

Portable fireplaces and patio heaters

Another patio feature that can truly add to your comfort and outdoor pleasure during long summer evenings on the deck: a propane-fueled portable fireplace. A portable fireplace adds a campfire kind of atmosphere to your garden with the added benefit of mobility. You can place it in the centre of your gathering or over to the side of the table.

There are various models of patio heaters that can be mounted on the exterior wall or placed on a stand. The stand-up variety is covered by a convex cap that distributes the heat generated by the heating elements.

Most patio heaters are fuelled by a propane cylinder concealed in the base of the heater, which means there is no need to plug it in to an electrical outlet. The finish is usually metallic, giving it a more contemporary look that can suit any number of decor styles.

All fireplace accessories available.

Suggested products

See all outdoor furniture