Back to Basics: Wooden Garden Furniture

Every gardening season someone is sure to find something new at the local nursery, be it the latest cultivar or some new, space-age landscaping material that defies whatever harsh conditions nature can throw at it.  The fact that gardening is a constantly evolving activity is what ultimately keeps it interesting, but you cannot argue with the timeless appeal of classic wooden garden furniture.  Newer furniture materials can tout their easy maintenance and ability to last until the end of time, but when a homeowner gives up a classic material such as wood for an inferior imitation, he or she is also sacrificing wood’s infinitely appealing patina and texture, something that modern substances cannot recreate. 

This is not to say that wood is not durable or that it cannot last a lifetime if it is cared for properly.  Routine maintenance and storage in a shed over the off-season can keep quality wood outdoor furniture looking beautiful for years to come.  Tasteful gardeners will want to select classic, handcrafted wood sheds for the same reasons they select classic, handcrafted wood furniture, and because even the most utilitarian of structures still makes a design statement in the well-appointed landscape.

In many ways, wooden furniture is likely to outlast most manmade alternatives, both in style and substance.  This classic material will never fall out of fashion or be upstaged by “the next big thing,” and should wooden furniture get damaged, it can usually be repaired.  When plastic or other non-wood materials break, can they be repaired or are they simply destined for the trash heap?  Good gardeners know there’s no room in nature for needless waste.

There’s also a handcrafted quality to wooden furniture with which pieces pressed or poured into a mold just cannot compete.  Surveying one’s prize plantings from a sturdy wooden bench that has aged to that perfect shade of gray, or relaxing after a satisfying weeding session in a crisply painted Adirondack chair with a garden design book, a glass of lemonade on the wooden table nearby is simply not the same experience in molded plastic furniture.  Wooden furniture functions almost as garden art, as pleasant to view as it is to use. What appeal is there in a static garden, after all?  The very fact that wood does change over time, that it evolves as the garden does, is what makes it such an exceptional choice for the landscape.

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