The right wood for garden furniture
If you pay attention to the right wood when choosing your new garden furniture, you can enjoy it for years without much care. In order to support you in choosing the right wood, we explain in the following sections which types of wood have prevailed in the production of garden furniture and what special features you should take into account with the individual types of wood.
Garden furniture made of rattan - tradition meets craftsmanship
Garden furniture made from real rattan has a long tradition and is still made by hand using classic wickerwork. The fibers that are used for the braided fabric come from the rattan palm, which makes it look like wood.
Due to the low density of the fibers, they are extremely flexible, which is what makes the classic shape of this artistic piece of furniture possible in the first place. However, there is also a disadvantage of this furniture: the low density of the material also means that it has a much lower durability outdoors. The braided fabric is also very susceptible to moisture and waterlogging, which also greatly affects outdoor durability.
Sustainable but not easy to care for?
If you choose outdoor rattan furniture, you should store it in a dry indoor area during bad weather and humidity. Due to the structure of the rattan weave, you will have little opportunity to care for the furniture without a great deal of effort. It is therefore important that you do not expose this furniture to the weather too much if you want to use the furniture outdoors for a longer period of time.
Even if rattan is not nearly as durable as poly rattan, it still has a much better climate balance because it is made from the fast-growing trunk of the rattan palm. If sustainability is important to you, you should also pay attention to the sustainable origin of the rattan.
Hardwood - strong and durable
Most garden furniture made from natural materials is made from solid wood. Hardwoods are much more durable and robust than softwoods and are therefore much better suited to outdoor conditions.
Because wood has adapted almost perfectly to its natural environment, it is naturally extremely resistant to insects, mold and fungi, and changes in the weather. Tropical hardwoods in particular are extremely durable in this respect and have proven themselves as a material for outdoor garden furniture.
Not only popular in medicinal medicine
Eucalyptus is one of the most cultivated plantation trees in the world. Although the tree is originally known from Australia, the wood is now grown on plantations all over the world. Most people also know eucalyptus more from medicinal medicine than from furniture making.
Nevertheless, eucalyptus has also proven itself here due to its natural properties. The wood is a hardwood with a strong twisted grain and a high proportion of natural oils and resins. On the one hand, this makes the wood very stable and, on the other hand, it has a high natural resistance to pests.
Eucalyptus garden furniture requires maintenance
The red-brown color and the fine grain of the wood are often visually appealing, but can only be maintained with intensive care. Here you can already see a decisive disadvantage of eucalyptus. With some types of wood, a little care only has an optical effect (e.g. the "silvering" of teak). Other types of wood, including eucalyptus, lose significantly in durability if they are not cared for regularly.
Eucalyptus can become brittle when exposed to the sun for long periods of time and, in turn, swell significantly when wet, which has a negative impact on outdoor lifespan. In this case, you should also protect the garden furniture from the weather at least twice a year with appropriate care and oiling. Since the market for eucalyptus wood has become very large and is not controlled in some cases, please ensure that the wood is of certified origin (e.g. FSC®-certified wood).
The false acacia
Incorrectly, especially in Europe and America, robinia wood is also traded under the term acacia. Since the two types of wood are slightly similar and the trees are also difficult to tell apart, the term false acacia or false acacia has been established for the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia).
In the case of garden furniture in particular, it can happen that the wood names for robinia or acacia are misleading, since robinia is unfortunately also sold commercially as a subtropical acacia. In itself, however, the robinia is an inexpensive alternative and, especially for a native wood that can be found in the USA and Europe in particular, is relatively robust outdoors.
Noble steel for the screw connection
Even if it is not nearly as resistant as teak, outdoor furniture made of robinia also lasts for a few years. With garden furniture made of robinia, however, you should make sure that stainless steel is actually used for the screw connection. Otherwise, unwanted discolouration may occur due to the high acid content. In order to keep the robinia wood of the furniture in good condition, you should oil the wood at least once a year.
The royal wood in the outdoor area
The wood that is probably the most durable outdoors is teak. It is not for nothing that teak is also referred to as king's wood and has acquired a certain prestige character through its use on ship decks and in yacht construction. Therefore are also Teak garden furniture now very popular. With proper care and good construction, teak furniture can last well over 25 years outdoors.
There is hardly any other wood that withstands the weather so well while retaining its shape and hardly cracking. Due to the high proportion of natural oils, teak has a high resistance to insects and pests and also feels supple. It is one of the most skin-friendly woods you can find. Compared to other hardwoods, teak is also comparatively light in weight.
The choice of teak is crucial
What you should note: Like almost all woods, teak will gray over time and develop a silver patina when exposed to the weather. With proper care, you can try to slow down this process. However, most owners of teak garden furniture are not bothered by the natural patina that develops over time. When buying teak garden furniture, you should make sure that real teak (Tectona Grandis) was used. Guyana teak is often misleadingly sold under the name "teak". However, Guyana teak is not comparable to real teak as it does not have the same outstanding properties and high outdoor durability.
Since teak is also one of the tropical woods, you should rely on credible certification Origin (e.g. the FSC®-100% seal) to ensure that the wood has been obtained from sustainable and legal sources.
By the way, we explain how to care for and clean garden furniture made of teak here.