Garden furniture: which materials to choose? Advantages and disadvantages

Nothing could be nicer than taking advantage of sunny days to share a meal on the terrace! Whether you have a spacious lot, a small courtyard or even a balcony, it is always possible to create a convivial space. Outdoor furniture manufacturers offer a wide selection of tables, chairs and armchairs. You intend to offer yourself a garden furniture that is both elegant and practical ? Aluminum, wood, plastic; you hesitate between the different existing materials. To help you see more clearly, here is an overview of their main advantages and disadvantages.

What criteria should be used to choose a garden furniture?

Before comparing the characteristics of each material, you will need to take stock of your needs and preferences. Several criteria will be taken into account in the choice of your garden furniture :

  • Durability ;
  • Resistance to humidity and UV rays;
  • Ease of maintenance;
  • The aesthetic aspect;
  • The price.

Some of these criteria will seem more important to you than others. For example, if you have a limited budget, you will rule out the more expensive materials. If you are looking above all for garden furniture that is easy to maintain, you will opt for those requiring the least amount of care.

The different materials for garden furniture and their characteristics

Whether you want a modern garden furniture or rather a rustic style, you will enjoy a varied choice of materials. Of natural or synthetic origin, these are distinguished by their characteristics (durability, aesthetic appearance, resistance to wear, etc.). Among the most common are:

  • Wood ;
  • Aluminum;
  • Wrought iron;
  • PVC;
  • Stone ;
  • Braided resin.

Wood attracts for its aesthetic qualities and durability. Aluminum stands out with its modern appearance, while wrought iron offers an authentic look.

Why choose a wooden garden furniture?

Bet on a wooden garden furniture has many advantages. You will have a varied selection of exotic wood species such as teak, eucalyptus or acacia. Recognized for their resistance to humidity, these natural materials however require special maintenance precautions. In fact, over time, their color will tend to deteriorate under the effect of UV rays. Every two to three years, you will need to sand your patio furniture and then apply a protective oil to it. This will restore the shine to the wood and protect it from wear and tear caused by bad weather and sunlight.

Wood pleases for its noble appearance and integrates as well with a rustic decoration as with a modern environment. Indeed, garden furniture in teak or eucalyptus are available in different models with straight and refined lines.

From an economic point of view, the price of the products offered will depend mainly on the type of wood chosen and its quality. Exotic woods have a deplorable ecological footprint, it is advisable to choose western woods labeled FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Program for the Endorsment of Forest Certification Schemes).

The advantages of wood

The disadvantages of wood

Its aesthetic qualities

Variable durability depending on the type of wood chosen

A varied choice of models

Variable durability depending on the type of wood chosen

Its affordable price

Tedious maintenance

Moisture resistance

Poor UV resistance

Ecological for western essences

Bad ecological footprint for exotic species

Focus on the trendy style of an aluminum or steel living room

Are you a fan of modern design furniture? You will orient yourself more easily towards aluminum or steel garden furniture. These materials offer multiple practical advantages. They are resistant to humidity, which guarantees them good durability. Unlike wood, you will not be forced to carry out protective treatments. Less expensive than aluminum, steel presents itself as an attractive option in the event of a limited budget.

On the aesthetic side, metals are easily worked, which allows to obtain a varied choice of designs. Furthermore, they associate with other materials like polyester or glass. Finally, the aluminum or steel garden furniture is available in different colors. You will therefore benefit from a multitude of possibilities to arrange your terrace or balcony as you wish!

Aluminum is not particularly good for the environment because of the polluting extraction of bauxite which requires the use of chemicals and generates red sludge.

The advantages of metal

The disadvantages of metal

Durable and weather-resistant materials

The high cost of aluminum

Aluminum is light and easy to move, steel is sturdy

The fragility of some models (with glass top for example)

A varied choice of colors and styles

Lightness (if you live in an area regularly subject to strong winds)

Ease of maintenance

Not ecological.

Steel is recyclable

The advantages and disadvantages of the woven resin garden furniture

Do you want garden furniture that is at the same time elegant, modern and durable? Braided resin may seem like the ideal option. This material consists of a synthetic fiber and an aluminum structure. Its appearance is reminiscent of rattan by its weaving and its appearance to the touch. Only, unlike rattan which is a natural fiber, the resin is resistant to both humidity and UV.

Woven resin garden lounges appeal for their trendy style, but also for their ease of maintenance. In terms of design, manufacturers offer many models of various shapes and colors.

Unfortunately this braided resin is made with a thermoplastic polymer which is not ecological, although it is potentially recyclable.

The advantages of braided resin

The disadvantages of woven resin

Strength and resistance to external aggressions

Limited comfort (need to add cushions on the seat)

Aesthetic qualities


Ease of maintenance

Not ecological

Affordable price

Plastic garden furniture: a practical and economical solution

Classic and timeless, PVC garden furniture will present itself as the ideal compromise if you have a limited budget. White, bottle green or black, it comes in various colors, but also in several shapes. For maintenance, a simple cleaning with soap and water will suffice to remove the traces. This material is resistant to shocks and humidity, which makes it a perfect solution for outdoor use.

For the planet either, this garden furniture is not ideal since the plastic is not recycled and the PVC molecules end up in the oceans.

The advantages of PVC

The disadvantages of PVC

Its low price

Its aesthetic appearance less elegant than other materials

Its ease of maintenance

Poor color retention

Its strength and weather resistance

The need to store or protect it to limit wear

Its ease of storage

Not ecological

A wide choice of models (shapes, dimensions, colors, etc.)

To choose the right garden furniture, you will have to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of these different materials. If you live in a windy region, choose a model that is weatherproof and heavy enough. Do you live in an apartment? Orient yourself to a space-saving garden furniture with clean lines.