There are many types of outdoor furniture made of materials such as wicker, metal, stone, and concrete. Whatever your preference, there are a multitude of materials available to fit your needs. In this article we won’t go over all of the different types, because, well, I would probably bore you and it would be a ridiculously long page. But, this article will go over the most popular materials and how to prepare it for a long lasting life. When speaking about outdoor furniture, imagine any type of furniture you’d find on a porch, patio, or backyard.
Wood is a great choice of material for projects such as patio sets, porch swings, and tree houses. But did you know that not all wood is good for outdoor use? There are a variety of species out there, but only a select few make great wooden outdoor furniture.
So what makes some wood species better for outdoor use than others? Well, there are species of wood that rot slower than others, like Black Locust and Bois D’Arc. These woods have physical barriers that prevent moisture from penetrating the wood, called tyloses. Tyloses also block insects and organisms from penetrating the wood.
When working with wood for outdoor projects, I recommend using heartwood rather than its sapwood. Heartwood is the stronger, inner-most wood of the tree; which often consists of the majority of a stem’s cross-section. Sapwood is light in color and the living, outermost segment of a stem or branch.
I talked to expert woodworkers, furniture finishers, and craft woodworking artists to get the scoop on their outdoor furniture material preferences. The following list of wood species (in alphabetical order) is their go-to wood species for outdoor furniture projects, and can be yours too.