Floridians love living here because of the beautiful year-round weather. A homeowner’s living space is expanded when an enjoyable outdoor area is created. An important factor in the comfort and functionality of your outdoor space is the furniture you choose. To ensure your family makes the most of your patio, deck, or garden, keep these things in mind when picking your outdoor furniture.

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Understand Your Backyard’s Weather
It’s a given that it is going to be hot here in the South Florida area, and you can depend on there being daily afternoon summer showers. However, your backyard has its own microclimate that you need to consider. Is the space you’re working on covered, or will the furniture be exposed during rain storms? Do you get a lot of hot midday sun, or is your landscape mostly shaded? Understanding the specific factors your furniture will be exposed to can help inform your decisions about which materials will last the longest and best suit your family.

Iron furniture is great to resist windy and sunny conditions; however, salty sea air will quickly cause it to rust. Wood furniture often comes with a weather-resistant finish, but if it’s constantly exposed to rain and sun, it’ll need to be refinished sooner than if it’s in a more protected area. Pay attention to where you intend to place furniture as well–for example, hardwoods and synthetic materials are better than softwoods and metal for resting on soft, grassy surfaces.

Consider Your Space’s Dimensions
You’ll be able to best maximize the flow and functionality of your outdoor living space by choosing furniture that fits well in the area you have. A long, narrow deck may be better served by a tall, narrow bar table with stools than a wider dining table. If the patio is curved or round, individual chairs that can be moved into different groupings will likely accommodate you better than a sofa. Regardless of the space you have, make sure you know its measurement and have a tape measure with you when buying furniture to fill it. This way there will be no disappointment of bringing a piece home and realizing it won’t fit well.

Comfort is Key
For maximum enjoyment of your outdoor space, comfort is key. For all your upholstery and cushions, make sure the fabric is good quality and rated for outdoor use (meaning it will be mildew and fade resistant. To prolong the life of your cushions, put them away when you aren’t using them. While the metal, wood, or synthetic frames will last for a long time, cushions will likely need to be replaced a few times if left exposed to the elements. Not to mention, they’ll need more frequent cleaning if not stored properly.

Keep Storage in Mind
On that note, having furniture that also serves as storage is a plus for your outdoor spaces. Benches are great for housing your cushions when you don’t need them, or even blankets in winter when nights are cooler. It helps to have an indoor place to keep outdoor furniture items as well, such as a back porch, attic, or garage.