BS&R How To: Choose the right wood for your outdoor project

While wood furniture is a popular choice for outdoor spaces, not every wood is a good choice for your garden or patio. Outdoor furniture has to contend with the elements as well as everyday use. Only a few varieties are durable enough to do the job.

So which should you choose? Here’s a look at some wood types and factors you should think about before purchasing your next outdoor piece:

The Elements:

First and foremost is to consider what kind of elements the piece will be in. Humidity, hot sun, or a lot of rain and moisture all affect wood differently and are all factors we contend with on an island like Bermuda. In such conditions, your wood furniture might require extra protection or maintenance. For instance, you may have to provide some shade.


Consider where you’ll be putting your outdoor furniture. Will it be completely exposed to the elements or on a porch or under an awning? As well placing outdoor wood furniture on hard or soft surfaces can make a huge impact on its protection from rot or mildew.

What Wood to Choose:

Accoya – By far our favorite wood to use outdoors, Accoya is treated wood that is durable, dimensionally stable, rot & insect proof, and can last 50 years above ground. From sustainable sources this wood has a low thermal gain & doesn’t splinter making it perfect for your deck & bare feet.

Cedar and Redwood – Are straight-grained, dimensionally stable and are naturally decay resistant. As lightweight woods they are the perfect choice if you plan to move or rearrange your outdoor furniture often.  They are relatively soft which puts them at risk for dents and scratches and can split when driving fasteners. The species also bleed tannins, which makes painting problematic if not prepped properly.

Teak, Ipe and Mahogany – More expensive than most woods used for outdoor furniture, however they remain popular because of their longevity, immunity to weather, and very few care requirements. They resist movement, surface checks, warping, cracking, decomposition, and denting.


As with most furniture you want to make sure a piece is constructed well. Joint especially are important with outdoor furniture as they are enduring more. Look for dovetailed or mortise and tenon joints as they hold up well. Any screws that have been used to put the pieces together should either be stainless steel or have a rust proof coating.

In the end, not all woods are made equal so make sure you have a piece you’ll love that will stick around for years to come. Consider all the factors that go into choosing an outdoor piece and you’ll end up with something that will exceed your expectations.


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