With all the cold and snow recently in the Minneapolis area, you’re probably not using your yard much these days. But take heart, in just a few short months it will be time to take advantage of the sunshine and great Minnesota outdoors. That makes this a great time to evaluate your current outdoor furniture and decide whether it’s time to replace or add to what you’ve got.
Whether on a patio, veranda, or deck of a boat, or furnishing a cabana, gazebo, or porch, outdoor furniture can bring the comforts and rituals of indoor living together with the beauty, excitement, tranquility, and surprises of being outdoors. Because most outdoor furniture (often called ‘patio furniture’) tends to be based on fabrics, finding outdoor furniture that is both comfortable and durable enough to withstand the stress and strain of the elements in all seasons can be difficult – and expensive – if you don’t shop around and understand your needs before wading in among the wicker, wrought iron, plastic, and weather-guarded polyester. Keep these factors in mind as you plan:
- Beware of using metal in hot environments. Being outside in 100° weather next to the pool is a great idea, but even short-term exposure to the sun can turn iron or steel furniture into low-temperature grills. Mild first-degree burns are not out of the question, particularly for children and the elderly, and will definitely ruin the mood. This may only be an issue for a few summer weeks in most of Minnesota, of course. Metal furniture would not be our recommendation for areas that get full sun.
- Porous fabrics should be avoided for the cold. Put simply, moist fabrics will freeze in cold weather. Although most outdoor furniture fabrics are treated to deter soaking, Minnesota winters can be especially punishing. Frozen cushions can take a while to melt. If you’re choosing porous fabric, make sure the cushions can be removed and brought indoors for winter storage.
- Stone furniture is a good compromise of many factors. Stone dissipates heat, isn’t usually porous enough to hold water for long, and is easy to clean up. It makes an ideal material for outdoor furniture, but it can also be heavy. Be sure you can move it around if necessary.
- Think about how the overall experience given the design of the rest of the environment. The design of indoor furniture can be compromised a bit, because indoors people tend to undertake more activities and are more distracted. Frequently the reason for going outdoors is to minimize distractions and enjoy an integrated experience with the wonders of nature. Plastic lawn chairs might not look good in a formal garden, and large ottomans are probably a bad design element in a cramped outdoor space.
If you have questions about choosing outdoor furniture to coordinate with the overall landscaping of your external spaces, give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk you through your issues and options. We can make suggestions based on your overall landscape plan as well as the purpose of your outdoor area. We also have our own line of custom-made MN native stone furniture if you’re looking for a natural touch that is locally sourced. You can reach us at at (952) 292-7717.