How to Buy Patio Furniture

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Imagine relaxing in the comfort of your own backyard, sitting pretty in a classic lawn chair or sprawling on a garden chaise. Shop smart for patio furniture, and you'll be ready for casual entertaining and spur of the moment patio picnics.

Things You'll Need

  • Gliders
  • Patio Benches
  • Patio Chairs
  • Patio Lounges
  • Patio Tables
  • Baker's Racks
  • Patio Furniture Cleaners
  • Look at the empty space on your patio, deck or out in the garden. Begin to develop a vision of chairs, benches and tables with your lifestyle in mind.

  • Measure the space and consider who will use it and for what purposes. A quiet reading nook needs different furniture than a place to host your son's baseball team.

  • Survey what's available in quality patio furniture: Surf the Internet, check decorating magazines and visit local shops. Make notes about materials, colors and styles you like.

  • Check warranties, care instructions and necessary maintenance of materials. Be sure the furniture you choose is durable and that parts will be available when you need them.

  • Decide what works for you; that's simply a combination of your wants and needs. And don't forget accessories such as side tables to hold cool drinks or a baker's rack for potted plants.

  • Know that materials convey style: Wrought iron seems Victorian, but other metals lend a 1950s retro mood. Wicker is romantic, wood feels warmly rustic and resin plastic speaks of a no-nonsense practicality.

  • Choose fabrics treated with water and stain repellants or treat them yourself before using. Plan to clean and retreat fabrics annually.

  • Keep budget in mind, but shop for value over price. Flimsy materials, complicated assemblies and delivery hassles can be costly in the long run.

  • Look for bargains in floor models, discontinued styles and pieces with minor scratches or dents at reduced prices. Consider sets that are missing a piece that you don't need or can supply, such as chair cushions.

  • Try before you buy; check out the styles you like to be sure you'll be comfortable in them. Sit on benches, loll on the chaise lounge and pull chairs up to their table to make sure you'll be comfortable all summer long.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow at least a foot of floor space around each piece to avoid a crowded look and 2 feet for traffic flow paths.
  • Check that all hardware is brass or galvanized to prevent rust. Repaint wood and metal as needed to forestall weathering and rust.
  • Store all patio furniture covered in winter, preferably in your garage or basement.
  • Treat a small fabric section first, before using water and stain repellants on whole cushions.

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