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Garden furniture: Materials, prices, and maintenance

Two experts explain the materials, advantages, disadvantages, and prices of different types of garden furniture.

Experts agree that you should choose quality garden furniture made of maintenance-free materials, especially if the table will be exposed to the elements. The objective is to forget about them and enjoy them for many years. If they are going to be undercover, a smaller investment can be made, but always taking the necessary precautions. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of garden furniture you can find, as well as their prices.

What materials are available for garden furniture?

Garden furniture is made of aluminum, steel, iron, wood, polyethylene, vegetable fibers, synthetic. The choice of the best garden furniture will depend on the tastes and the use we are going to give them.

Jaume Benavente, showroom manager of Arborètum: an expert landscaper and garden designer based in Barcelona, believes that "each material has its advantages and disadvantages depending on whether the furniture is going to be protected by some structure or in full sun. For example, a vegetable fiber outdoors won't last at all, while a quality synthetic one can last a lifetime," he says.

  1. Aluminum garden furniture

They are light, easy to transport, resistant, and durable (even on the seafront). Hence, they are trendy garden furniture. Any drawbacks? "The profiles are not as thin as those that can be achieved with other materials such as stainless steel, with which more minimalist pieces are created - the latter is much more expensive," says Benavente.

José Rodríguez, of the garden, reminds us that we must be careful when cleaning aluminum garden furniture "because it scratches easily." As for prices, as a guideline, a set of aluminum garden tables and chairs "can be found for about $400," he says.

      2. Wooden garden furniture

They are classic in outdoor decoration. Plus, with just yearly maintenance of sanding and teak oil, wooden garden furniture is as good as new for the next summer season. Rodriguez puts the price range for a set of chairs and tables at around5 $600 to $600.

Benavente does not consider it the most advisable material in full sun or on the seafront: "in these circumstances, even a high-quality teak wood, the most expensive, would require persistent maintenance to maintain its original color and not discolor or graying," says the expert.

  1. Garden furniture made of synthetic fibers

This material is synthetic rattan; its usual base is high-density polyethylene - although each firm has its formulations and braiding systems. This garden furniture has displaced natural fibers; let's find out why.

"Synthetic rattan garden furniture is highly resistant to water and sun fading, and with little maintenance - just clean with soap and water, and dry with a soft cloth," says Rodriguez. Starting prices for the table and chair sets are around $300. "Keep in mind that high-end rattan garden furniture, with hand-braiding and products guaranteed virtually for life in full sun, can be 10 to 15 times that figure," says Benavente.

  1. Iron garden furniture

They are sensitive to rust, even if they are not directly wetted. On protecting iron garden furniture, you should apply anti-rust paint and renew this treatment periodically -every two years. Iron garden furniture is perfect for a vintage-style project. "In addition, because of their weight, they are uncomfortable to move, so they should be reserved for covered, quiet places," says Rodriguez, who estimates the price for a set of table and chairs at $500 or more. As an alternative, there are those made of cast aluminum, thinner and more resistant pieces without the problem of rust, although more expensive.

  1. Plastic garden furniture

They offer high resistance to extreme temperatures and withstand shocks without deforming or breaking. Maintenance? Simply with pressurized water and soap. Their only drawback is that the resulting piece will not be uniform if the manufacturing mold is of poor quality. "Plastic garden furniture tends to have very modern lines; often, their shapes are more visually striking than comfortable for prolonged use," explains Benavente.

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