Outdoor Furniture: A Guide for the 4 Seasons
It’s exciting when the weather starts to warm up signifying summer is right around the corner, especially for us Canadians. During this time, it’s best to purchase outdoor furniture (if needed) or start uncovering and cleaning your outdoor furniture that has been stored away for months.
You may be wondering to yourself, “but it’s outdoor furniture, can’t I leave it outside?”
Regardless of how much you spend on outdoor furniture, it should always be cared for. Like most things, maintenance is key when it comes to longevity. While you can typically leave outdoor furniture outside during all seasons, there are a few steps you should take to protect your pieces from natural elements, especially the sun.
When it comes to outdoor furniture, there are a few guidelines to follow.
- Make sure the furniture selected is suitable for the outdoors meaning don’t purchase indoor furniture for the outside. This can lead to rust, mildew build-up, and sun and water damage.
- Make sure the cushions and pillows are appropriate for the outdoors. Most readily available outdoor furniture is made with performance fabrics but it’s best to double-check, especially for custom pieces.
- Not all materials are the same. If possible, consider purchasing metal-based furniture over plastic, rattan, wicker, or wood. Metal-based furniture is typically more durable and comes in a variety of designs.
- Metal-based furniture is available in aluminum, wrought iron, stainless steel, and powder-coated steel. Metal is usually heavier which is a great option for climates that experience aggressive winds or in condos.
- If you want wood, consider Teak as it’s weather resistant and with regular maintenance, can last for years. Wood is porous meaning it will absorb moisture and liquids more easily than nonporous materials.
- Rattan and Wicker aren’t the same. Rattan is a material and wicker is the style and method of weaving. Wicker tends to be made from synthetic resins and rattan tends to be made from natural materials.
- For smaller budgets, plastic is more affordable but not as durable, comfortable, or stylish. Consider investing in these pieces as they’ll save you money in the long run and is better for the environment.
BEGINNING OF THE SEASON
If you haven’t already, remove your cushions and pillows from storage. Read the section, ‘Spring’, below for further details. The sun is strong and will fade and degrade certain materials, Outdoor fabrics generally perform better than others so do your research based on your lifestyle. Think of umbrellas, pergolas, and canopies as sunscreen. Tend to spills and soils immediately and don’t let food dry up. Summer is a busy time for animals and critters so don’t leave food out otherwise you may find a surprise friend lounging on your sectional.
If away or the weather calls for rain, use furniture covers or bring cushions and pillows inside.
We always tell our clients that anything will last a lifetime if you put a little effort in! Fire safety is important, some fabrics are more flammable than others, pay extra attention near fire pits and bonfires. Lastly, it’s recommended to shake, fluff, and rotate your cushions periodically to avoid sagging.
END OF THE SEASON
Shake your cushions out and vacuum any leftover debris. Depending on your use, a medium-deep cleaning may be needed. If so, let the cushions fully dry outside naturally and don’t store them while wet or damp.
Space permitting, bring your cushions and pillows inside. If unable to store inside, purchase a furniture cover or a tarp and cover your pieces. Depending on the wind, you may need to tie or weigh the cover down. Alternatively, some outdoor furniture comes with built-in storage so you’ll want to utilize that.
Depending on where you live and your outdoor setup, you may still use your outdoor furniture in early Fall. During the fall months, it typically rains and the winds begin to pick up. The weather is changing and leaves begin to fall off resulting in soggy leaves and dirt and mud everywhere.
Use a cover,
store cushions away and weigh things down by tying them.
If you haven’t already done so, follow the guidelines above, in the ‘Summer’ section.
In the winter, the weather takes a turn resulting in strong winds, hail, rain, ice, and snow. This can damage and ruin your furniture if not maintained properly. By now, your furniture should be covered with a tarp or dedicated furniture cover. If there’s a dump of snow piled on your cover, push it off with a shovel, and don’t let it build up.
Because it gets windy, things become loose
so check on
your furniture periodically.
Follow these steps to make it easier to set up your outdoor space when it’s time again during Spring/Summer.
It’s an exciting time when the weather starts to get warmer and the birds are chirping away! Your cushions and pillows have been stored away for months meaning they may have lost some of their shapes. This is an easy fix!
First, shake out your cushions and pillows outside. After you have shaken the cushions, begin fluffing. If needed, give your cushions a quick cleaning to remove any odours that may have settled while in storage.
It’s the perfect
time to start prepping your outdoors for the warmer weather.
This can be a spot treatment or a light steaming, we recommend the Bissell Little Green ProHeat. Some cushions can be machine washed, always read the label for instructions just to be sure.
During the spring, expect rain and an abundance of flowers so you may find your furniture covered in them. If you’re not careful, you could squish the flowers resulting in mushy floral stains – tend to it immediately.
Do your research and take your lifestyle into consideration when it comes to selecting outdoor furniture. If possible, as a rule of thumb, match your interior aesthetic to the outdoors. Invest in outdoor furniture and don’t purchase suspiciously low-priced pieces.
Be mindful of the weather so you’re aware of ever-changing weather conditions. It’s a good idea to check on your outdoor furniture periodically throughout the seasons, this way you can catch anything if it were to come up!
Outdoor furniture will last for years but this doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. By taking the time to take follow these steps, you’ll ensure the longevity of your products.