Although we’ve not yet seen the back of January, and we’re yet to be hit by the worst of the winter weather, the nights are getting ever so slightly lighter and so thoughts are turning to summer holidays and lazy afternoons spent in the garden.
And if you’re in the market for some new garden furniture to see you through the summer months, it’s worth considering some eco-friendly options – after all, the sustainability of the fixtures and fittings outside your house are just as important as those inside.
Rattan garden furniture
Garden rattan furniture is still all the rage when it comes to contemporary garden furniture, with intricate weaves that are both hardwearing and pleasing on the eye. However, if you’re after real rattan for your garden, consider that while most conservatory furniture is real rattan, some outdoor equivalents are actually made from plastic, and while some retailers will acknowledge this, others won’t.
When choosing rattan garden furniture, go for PE or HDPE rattan, which have both an eco-friendly manufacturing process and are fully recyclable. Not only that, but PE and HDPE rattan are tougher than PU or PVC, as well as being weather-proof and mould resistant.
Teak garden furniture
Teak is a durable hardwood with a high oil content that makes it resistant to rotting and an ideal choice for garden furniture – it actually gets better as it ages and weathers to a striking silvery-grey colour.
As far as sustainability goes, try to buy pieces made from wood felled in the sustainable plantations on the Indonesian island of Java, or try to get your hands on some reclaimed teak pieces for some truly unique and sustainable garden furniture.
Oak garden furniture
If you’re uneasy about the sustainability of tropical woods imported from the Far East, not to mention the carbon footprint, it could be worth looking closer to home and investing in some oak garden furniture.
Oak is naturally robust, hardwearing and resistant to decay, and has been a go-to building material in England for centuries. Buy from a reputable dealer to ensure the wood has a transparent supply chain from well-managed forests around the UK.
Pine garden furniture
The problem with pine garden furniture is that, as a soft wood, it gets attacked by garden pests and rots much more rapidly than hardwoods, and so needs intense treatments to stand up to the worst the outdoors has to offer, some of which are less than friendly on the environment.
One eco-friendly treatment currently available is Kebony Technology, which combines heat treatment and an alcohol solution that is a by-product of agricultural crop waste, to make soft woods like pine as strong as hard woods like teak.
Metal garden furniture
Metal garden furniture arguably the most versatile out there as it can be moulded and coloured to fit all tastes and palettes, and once it comes to the end of its natural life it can easily be recycled or scrapped.
Aluminium furniture is the lightest and most resistant to the elements, and if you opt for cast iron, wrought iron or steel furniture, make sure it’s been properly weather treated else it can quickly rust and fall apart.
If sustainability play a big part in your life, there are plenty of garden furniture options out there that ensure what’s outside your home is as sustainable as what’s inside, just make sure you do plenty of research and always buy from reputable retailers.