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How to Buy the Right Patio Furniture for Your Home

patio furniture 2

THERE IS NOTHING BETTER than being able to relax on the perfect patio furniture with a nice cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The sun is shining, there's a beautiful cool breeze blowing, and the world is just starting to wake up.

Sounds good so far, right? But, how do you know if you are buying the right patio furniture? Do you just go by looks, comfort, materials, expected life expectancy? Since choosing the right patio furniture is just as important as choosing the materials you built your deck from, to a certain degree, all of these should and will play a part in your final decision.

To make things a little easier for you in your search for the right patio furniture to turn that empty deck and patio from an empty and hostile spot into a warm, comfortable place to enjoy a family meal in the late evening as it cools down.

Let's Start with Materials

When buying patio furniture, your choice of materials sets the look of your entire patio. While you are shopping for furniture, you need to not only look for furniture that is pleasing to the eye but is also comfortable. Who wants to have patio furniture that looks amazing but is about as comfortable as sitting on a brick?

Wood Patio Furniture

Those who love the natural look tend to be more interested in wood furniture. If you are going to invest in wood patio furniture, look for furniture that is made from center-cut hardwood that has a consistent grain. Also look for furniture that uses stainless-steel or zinc-plated. Not only will this help reduce corrosion, but with a simple wrench, you can keep your furniture nice and tight. So, all of this being said, let's look at the four most popular types of wood used to make outdoor furniture.

Natural Cedar and Pressure Treated Pine

Both cedar and pressure-treated pine are very popular and perfect if you plan to hang on to your patio furniture for any number of years. If you are trying to work on a tight budget, I recommend you go for the pressure treated pine as it is typically significantly less than cedar. However, both of these woods age similarly, turning silver or gray. You can preserve their color by sealing the wood annually.

Teak

Teak is an expensive tropical wood that is typically quite expensive. However, if you want wood outdoor patio furniture that is going to last, teak is the way to go. Even under the harshest of weather conditions, you can expect to get 50 years out of furniture made from teak. You can let it age naturally or use teak oil twice a year to keep its natural beauty and preserve it for a longer life (Your grandkids could inherit your patio furniture).

Natural Wood

For the most part, natural wood patio furniture is made from tree branches that have been rough-cut. This type of furniture has a couple of major drawbacks. The first is the being made from branches instead of the trunk, this furniture tends to be very flimsy in nature, with a very short lifespan. The second is that it doesn't do very well under harsh weather conditions. While you can seal using something like Thompson's® Water Seal, doing this can cause it to lose its natural rustic charm. If you just “have to have” this furniture, it is best kept in a sun room or under the roof of a covered porch.

Jarrah from Australia

Jarrah is native to Australia is another sturdy wood, similar in strength and durability teak. It has a very similar reddish color that makes it ideal for your patio. Like teak, there are specific treatments available to help it retain its natural color.

How to Buy the Right Patio Furniture - metal patio furniture

Metal Furniture for Your Patio

Metal patio furniture offers a sturdy look that so many people love. Metal furniture made from aluminum, cast iron or steel (if you want a retro-painted look) can provide you with versatility, comfort, and of course durability.

Aluminum Furniture

Aluminum patio furniture comes in two different forms:

Extruded Aluminum Furniture

Extruded aluminum furniture is ideal for those who like strap or sling strips. Being made from aluminum, this furniture is quite light and easy to stack. The webbing or slings come in a very diverse range of colors to help you create the porch of your dreams. Prices range from relatively inexpensive in your local department stores to quite expensive in some specialty stores. Aluminum does not corrode over time, but you may have to replace the strapping or sling after a few years
Image courtesy FamilyLiesure

If you are in the market for something a little less flimsy than extruded aluminum, but without the weight of cast iron, this is the way to go. With cast aluminum patio furniture, you can enjoy all of the ornate décor you might find with cast iron, but in a material that will not rust or corrode. You can expect to pay more for this type of aluminum furniture, but you might find the extra cost well-worth it.

Cast Iron Patio Furniture

The looks of today's cast iron can be traced all the way back to the Victorian era with every swirl and twist. The heavy weight of cast iron is ideal for those who live in windy areas (cast iron is pretty hard to carry let alone be blown around by the wind. The more complex the design, the more elegant it might look on your patio or deck. The drawbacks, it is heavy and hard to move around, and it can be very hard to sit on, so cushions are almost a must. Typical colors are black, white, or green. You will need an anti-rust oil treatment to keep it from rusting.

Retro-Metal Patio Furniture

If you are trying to give your patio that bygone era look, then retro-metal may be just what you are looking for. Some brands come with beautiful artwork on the backs of the chairs, others come in a wide array of corrosion proof colors. However, you should plan to add some form of colorful padding or cushioning to make the seats more comfortable and to make sure you don't scorch your bum during the hot summer days.

Wicker Patio Furniture

Wicker has long been one of the most popular forms of patio furniture. It comes in two styles, natural wicker and “all-weather.” While they look very similar to each other, they differ significantly in lifespan and the amount of maintenance needed to keep it in good shape. All-weather furniture requires little more than a good wash down with a hose from time to time. Whereas natural wicker must be cleaned properly and then treated with the proper wicker oils to keep it from molding or dry rotting.

Traditional Wicker Patio Furniture

Traditional wicker furniture can be made with Rattan vines, bamboo, or cane. Because wicker is a natural material, it is best suited for use under cover porches or patios. You should avoid using natural wicker furniture when it is wet as this can cause the individual strands to stretch. If the wicker is painted, you can keep it looking good by simply adding a fresh coat of paint as needed.

All-Weather Wicker Furniture

This type of furniture is made from synthetic fibers that are twisted into sheets of wicker mounted on steel or aluminum frames. While it will fade over time, synthetic wicker will last for many years, even in harsh summer weather (you should store it out of the snow and ice). You can buy all-weather wicker furniture in an incredible array of styles and colors to match your décor and tastes.

Plastic or Resin Patio Furniture

Plastic/resin furniture has a few things going for it such as it's inexpensive with lots of styles and colors to choose from. But, like most other types of outdoor patio furniture, it's not without its own set of drawbacks. Most designs are very simplistic to keep the cost down, everything looks like a clone. The pieces are very lightweight and generally do not hold up well in harsh weather conditions.

How to Buy the Right Patio Furniture - patio furniture

Buying Outdoor Patio Furniture

Now that you have a pretty good idea of the different materials used to make outdoor patio furniture and their good and bad points, let's take a look at what you should be doing before you spend a dime on your first piece.

How You Plan to Enjoy Your Outdoor Patio Furniture?

How you plan to use your furniture can make a huge difference in what you buy. For example, if you plan to lounge around in the shade on a hot summer day, a chaise lounge might be worth looking into. Do you plan to add a fire pit for family gatherings, a set of comfy chairs and maybe a love seat might be a better choice? Think very carefully about your projected use and then move on to the next step in the buying process.

Colors Count

Color should be the next thing you think about as you are the only one who truly knows what you have in mind regarding the final result you are trying to achieve. Basic white, natural wood, black, you name it and you can find it out there somewhere.

Do Your Homework

Spend some time looking online and in brick and mortar stores looking at the different types and styles out there. Sit in as many of them as you can. Heck, take pictures of the ones you like the most and take them home with you. Hold them in front of you and place the picture in the right spot. It's a good way to get a rough idea of how each type of furniture would look.

Be Patient

While you might feel the need to “insta-buy”, this is never the way to buy anything. It has never been more important than when you are buying furniture for your patio. Look for similar items on sale or at lower prices. Take your time and make sure you are getting the best possible deal on your new patio furniture. While you may pay more for quality furniture, you will find the investment more than pays for itself.

Eleven Hot Points You Need to Keep in Mind When Buying Your Patio Furniture

  1. As you start your shopping foray into buying patio furniture, here are ten important things for you to keep in mind to make sure you are making the right purchase:
  2. Measure the size of the area you have to work with. This will help ensure you don't end up with patio furniture that is too big for the space.
  3. Decide on the style of patio furniture you want. The style you choose will set the tone for the rest of your patio. Do you want a to create a vintage look, a bistro, or something with a little more rustic charm?
  4. Consider looking for discount or sale furniture. If you are patient, you may find exactly what you are looking for at a great low price.
  5. Look for and if you can test any furniture you are considering for durability and most importantly for a manufacturer's warranty.
  6. If possibly take each piece of furniture for a test drive. The last thing you want is to end up buying uncomfortable furniture, no one is going to want to sit in.
  7. If possible, try to protect your new patio furniture from the sun's UV rays with an awning, pergola, or even an umbrella.
  8. When buying cushions, be sure they are mold, mildew, and water resistant.
  9. Be sure the patio furniture you buy has the right weather resistance protection to prevent rot and rust.
  10. Be sure you understand both delivery and assembly requirements to avoid surprises when your new furniture arrives.
  11. Finally, double check that the furniture you are about to order is going to be the right fit for your home. The functionality of your porch will depend highly on your choice of patio furniture. A few extra days of short-term thought beats years of long-term regret.

Conclusion

It can't be said enough that you need to take your time deciding on the type of patio furniture is going to be the best possible choice for your patio and your family. Keep in mind that you will be using the same furniture for many years to come. It pays to do your homework and make the right decision. I hope that the information I have put together here for you helps you find the right furniture for your patio and that you and your family enjoy many lovely evenings together.

Ideas

16 Great Patio Ideas for Any Home

Outdoor Patio Ideas - wooden chairs and stairs

Patios turn what would be grass into a usable entertaining or relaxing space

ADDING A PATIO TO YOUR yard is a great way to make use of what might otherwise be a section of your lawn. Having a patio gives you a place to relax in the sun, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a chilled glass of wine in the evening. But, just knowing you want a patio is only the beginning. Do you know what size patio you want, what you want to be able to do on your patio, how to build it, or what amenities you want on your patio?

It took me a while to determine how I wanted to build my patio. In the end I settled for a large brick patio with a roof. The roof keeps the sun and rain out. It also protects my outdoor kitchen that can feed my family and friends on the weekends. To help you with your outdoor kitchen ideas, here are some examples of what others have done.

Also see: Landscaping Ideas Around Patio and Paved Areas

Small Patio Ideas

Make the most of your small space

Image courtesy of ArchitectureHD

Just because you have a small patio to work with, doesn’t mean you can't make the most of the space you have. Consider adding furniture and a fire pit to give you somewhere to spend evenings year-round. Maybe add a pergola to keep the rain or sun at bay. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you can always add a patio heater along with the fire pit to keep everyone comfortable.

Patio Cover Ideas

Put a Roof Over Your Head and Stay Dry All Year-Round

Image courtesy of Outdoor Furniture Design and Ideas

Adding a patio cover is a great way to make your patio usable year-round in sun, rain, snow, and more. There are several options including a pergola, which you can build from scratch yourself, buy in a kit form, or buy ready built and install yourself. In recent years the use of retractable awnings as porch coverings. These can be great as you only extend the patio roof when you need it, the rest of the time it can sit retracted against the wall

Brick Patio Ideas

Bricks Are One of the Most Versatile and Beautiful Materials for Patio Construction

brick_patioImage courtesy of Antique Brick Warehouse

Brick is one of the most popular materials to be used in building a patio. Not only does brick look amazing, it can be arranged in a wide range of patterns and better yet, bricks come in an incredible variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. While it might take you more time to build a top-quality brick patio, the resulting patio will last for many years and can look nothing less than magnificent when they are done. Consider using different colored bricks to create a mandala-like pattern or perhaps even an outdoor game-board the whole family can enjoy.

Cheap Patio Ideas

Creating a Welcoming Place Outdoors on a Tight Budget

cheap_patio_ideasImage courtesy of Pallets Designs

Just because you are working on a tight budget, doesn’t mean you can't still have a nice patio in your backyard. There are several ways you can keep costs under control and still end up with a lovely patio for your family. For example, with a little looking around, you might be amazed at how many places near you sell used construction materials such as bricks, pavers, lumber, railroad ties, and more. These are a great way to save money on your patio project. Alternatively, you might consider purchasing resin boards instead of lumber. Not only do they often cost less, but they require virtually no maintenance and will last for many years.

Concrete Patio Ideas

Concrete is Not Just for Driveways and Sidewalks Anymore

poured-concrete-patio-designsImage courtesy of Concrete Patio Designs

One of the wonderful things about today's concrete is that it comes in an incredible array of colors. Why not choose a color that complements the outside of your home? Many experienced concrete specialists can create different patterns in the concrete and make your patio look like it has been tiled, has a wood grain-like finish, or create unique patterns to your specs. This is your chance to create a long-lasting patio that will stay looking good for many years to come.

Creating Shade

No One or At Least Very Few of Us Want to Sit Out in the Endless Glare of the Sun

patio-furniture-1Image courtesy of JB Hostetter

While it is always nice to spend time out in the sun, your patio needs to be your shady oasis from the sun. There are a number of ways you can do this, including both temporary and permanent methods. For example, if you are looking for temporary shade, why not add a table with an umbrella or perhaps a free-standing umbrella. If you are more interested in creating permanent shade, you could build a roof over your porch or perhaps a pergola with or without a roof. Each of these ideas offers you a good way to add shade to your porch.

Not Your Ordinary Patio Cover Ideas

Putting a Lid on Your Patio Isn't Only Practical…

patio-coverImage courtesy of Invest-Remax Blogspot

There are many ways to put a lid on your patio based on where it is located, how big it is, and of course where you live. For example, if you live in Florida, your patio cover needs to be able to block the sun and rain, but it doesn't need to hold the weight of snow. Conversely, if you live in Montana, your patio cover better be strong enough to handle several inches of snow. The same applies to the materials you choose, corrugated fiberglass might work well in Florida, but unless you build a very strong framework under it, most likely would not survive a single winter in Montana.

Ideas to Light Up Your Patio

Put a Little Light in Your Life

patio_lightingImage courtesy of Mpression

If your porch is only usable during the daylight hours, you are missing. There are so many different ways you can add lights to your porch to choose from. Why not add string lights to your porch, they add plenty of light and atmosphere and come in a virtually endless range of colors. No power to your porch, why not try a string of candle-powered lanterns instead. Or perhaps battery-powered LED lanterns.  You can use landscape lighting like those lining your driveway, or spotlights to showcase your hard work, the possibilities are endless.

Different Styles of Patio Furniture

Make Your Patio a Comfortable Place for Everyone to Use​

asian-porch-with-hanging-egg-chair-i_g-IShzi91ts9tkss0000000000-qgILCImage courtsey of Zillow

You might be amazed what you can do with your patio with the right furniture. You can literally turn your patio into an outdoor living room, bedroom, play area, bar, or kitchen with the right furniture and accessories. Wicker and resin wicker are among the most popular types of furniture for outdoor use. Wood furniture is also very popular, in particular, Shaker style furniture.  You can add a few throw pillows and potted plants, even add an outdoor rug to define your porch space while adding in a few creature comforts.

The Different Styles of Patio Heater

Add a Little Heat and Create a Year-Round Place to Relax

patio_heaterpatio_heaterpatio_heaterImage courtsey of Lava Heat Italia

No matter where you live in the U.S. evenings can become chilly or cold, leaving you with a patio that can only be used during daylight hours and spends evenings empty. That is unless you add some form of heat to your patio. Patio heaters come in a wide range of styles, sizes, and forms of fuel. They can be freestanding, wall mounted, or site built. Porch heaters can be powered by electricity, propane, kerosene, natural gas, coal, or wood. Adding heat to your porch can turn it into a year-round place to spend quality family time or plan a few parties.

Ideas on How to Use Pavers

Unlimited Range of Colors and Styles

patio_paverpatio_paverImage courtesy of Pinterest

The most important thing about concrete pavers is that they come in an almost unlimited range of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can use them to create an incredible range of patterns and designs ranging from simple geometric patterns to adding bands of color to accentuate the rest of the pattern. Why not use strips of grass to add even more color to your patio? The best thing about pavers is you can choose the colors that best accentuate your home and the area you live in or go all out and create your own psychedelic mandala pattern.

Backyard Patio Ideas

Yes, You Can Do It Your Way


back_patioImage courtesy of Pinterest

Only you can truly know why you decided to build a patio in your backyard. There are so many different approaches you can take in the construction of your patio or work with the one you have. Maybe building yourself a secret garden, making it a formal outdoor space for hosting dinners and parties, or perhaps create a rustic chic space for your family to relax. To help decide what you want your patio to look like, you first need to know how you plan to use it, then start looking at furniture and accessories to fit in with this plan.

Ideas for Outdoor Patio Living

Create Your Own Outside World

outdoor_patio_ideasImage courtesy of Zillow

Just because your patio is outside, doesn't mean it should be nothing more than a flat concrete slab. Instead, it should be a place where you and your family can spend time together. One of the most popular outdoor patio ideas is to create an outdoor living room complete with a loveseat, two chairs, and a firepit. In fact, firepits have become one of the most popular patio accessories in the country. An outdoor patio is also the perfect place to build an outdoor kitchen that can be used for family events or staging a party for your friends.

Decorating Ideas for Patio Areas

Let the Decorator in You Come Out Redecorating Your Porch

patio_decorImage courtesy of Pinterest

Without adding your own personal decorating touches, your porch is little more than a flat slab that no one really wants to use. But, if you add potted plants, a little furniture, and perhaps a few lights, you turn it into a completely different world.  Rather than running out to your local furniture store, why not get creative and make use of unusual items to decorate your porch, make tables out of wood barrels cut in half with a sheet of glass for the top. There are plenty of outdoor rugs you can use, an incredible array of outdoor furniture to choose from, rain barrels, hammocks, flowers, plants, and more. Why not go crazy and let the interior decorator in you go wild.

Enclosed Patio Ideas

When in Florida

enclosed-porch-ideasImage courtesy of Design Babylon Interiors

Okay, so Florida is not the only state where people have enclosed patios. In fact, having an enclosed patio is a lot like having an extra room in your home. You can furnish it like a living room, a den, or even a study. I have a few friends who use their enclosed porches as bedrooms during the summer. Add a ceiling fan or two to help keep things cooled down in the summer. A wood stove can help in the winter. Carpet adds a nice touch as does plenty of comfortable furniture.

Patio Deck Ideas

Get Creative and Make Your Patio Into Something Your Entire Family Can Use

patio_deck_ideaImage courtesy of johnmcsherry.us

A patio does not have to be flat on the ground, in fact, there is no reason why you can't treat your deck just like a patio. I started out with a deck and turned it into an outdoor porch paradise over the course of a couple of summers. I started with a resin “lumber” deck that was pretty boring, added some raised garden beds, a firepit, and a center raised garden with several perennials in it. My next project is to build a roof over it and add an outdoor kitchen.

Turning Your Porch into Something Special

Having a porch out in your backyard can be seen as the start of something good. It gives you a special place to turn into an outdoor recreation space for your entire family to enjoy. The number of things you can do with this space is virtually endless limited only by your imagination… And your financial resources. My personal suggestion is to start with what you think your patio will be used for. Then draw up a few plans to work with.

  • I hope you have learned something about making your patio into something amazing.

  • If you have any information you would like to see here, please contact us here.

Landscaping Ideas Around Patio

15 Landscaping Ideas Around Patio and Paved Areas

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A patio landscaping should look great and functional at the same time.

LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO plant some beautiful plants?  Or maybe create a little privacy for when your out relaxing on your patio? Either way here are 15 landscaping ideas around patio and paved areas to help achieve what you want.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#1. Create a Border

1. Start with a patio created using flagstones, add in a fire pit for cooler evenings and roasting marshmallows and then let your imagination run wild. This person chose to surround their patio with gardens filled with roses, flowers, and shrubs. What a great way to enjoy your morning cup of coffee watching the birds nesting in the trees.

unique-backyard-patio-landscaping-ideas

Image courtesy of GardensDecor.Com

#2. Creating an Outdoor Dining Room

One of the best ways to put a patio to good use is to turn at least one part of it into an outdoor dining room. Here we see a nice outdoor dining table and an after-meal table for entertaining. There is room for four to sit comfortably at both locations. (I love the use of curves and gardens to create a warm and welcoming environment)

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#3. Fun in the Sun

While you might love spending time in the sun and the pool, there is going to come a time when you need a little shade. This lovely gazebo adds just the right amount of shade without taking it all away. The use of bricks to build the patio and pathways adds a nice touch.

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Image courtesy of HGTV

#4. Natural Beauty Adds a Nice Touch

Using slabs of natural rock for the foundation of this deck is only the beginning. What really makes it special is the use of boulders and large rocks in the gardens along with a wide variety of plants. Adding planters full of flowers and shrubs adds a nice finishing touch.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#5. Staggering Beauty

While the built-in firepit appears to be the central focal point of this paving stone patio, it is overshadowed by the spectacular arrangement of flowers and shrubs planted around it. His homeowner used varying height plants arranged around it to create an image of space and privacy at the same time.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#6. Wicker, Hanging Plants, and Space

This amazing patio is the perfect combination of bricks, wicker furniture, and hanging plants. The brick patio is not only gorgeous to look at, it is very functional in all types of weather. But what really sets it off are the beautiful hanging and potted plants strategically placed all over it.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#7. Everyone Loves Curves

This is a true but simple fact, everyone loves curves, whether we are talking bodies, cars, or decks. The use of natural rocks to create curved walls for the gardens is a lovely touch to the flagstone patio surface. The low rock walls by the steps make the perfect place to set out potted flowers.

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Image courtesy of ZodesignArt.Com

#8. Tucked into the Corner

This homeowner has found a great way to make use of the corner space in his yard. He built a small patio that is just big enough for an outdoor table and chairs. Love the way it is tucked into the corner with a small garden and fountain to enjoy when sitting at the table. There is nothing wrong with making use of every available inch in your backyard.

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Image courtesy of Home Decor

#9. Say It with Slate

Okay so maybe not, but this patio made from slabs of slate is a great start to creating your perfect patio. The natural rock wall and tall shrubs and trees add plenty of natural beauty as well as help to block summer breezes. Finally, the garden filled with rose bushes keep the patio separate from the side of the house.

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Image courtesy of Onlines Decorators

#10. Trés Chic

This homeowner used bricks to create a lovely patio and surrounding walls. But the addition of lots of flowers, shrubs, and traditional bistro style furniture are what sets this patio apart from the rest. Note the way the homeowner added potted plants to the steps that lead down to the patio.

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Image courtesy of American Deck and Sunroom

#11. Patterns Within Patterns

The use of two different colors of brick turns what might have been an ordinary patio into a stunning work of art. The use of blue bricks to form a line that echoes the shape of the patio and the overall shield shape of the patio create a delightful complement to the all-wood decking.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#12. Stonehenge on Their Mind

When you look at upright rocks that are buried in the ground surrounding a patio, do you get a hint of Stonehenge? This homeowner made great use of a blend of horizontal and vertical rocks in the gardens to create this unusual and almost ancient look.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#13. A Private Little Hideaway

There is nothing quite like having a sloped area of your garden that can be used to create a quiet little hideaway complete with firepit, table, and chairs. The natural rock wall behind is a good way to keep the soil behind it from eroding away. Surrounding the area with flowers just adds to the natural beauty of the area.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#14. Wicker and Hedges

No matter where you live, there is nothing quite like the natural beauty of wicker outdoor furniture. The nice thing about wicker is that as long as you take a little time to clean it and wipe it down with linseed oil, it will last practically forever. The hedges make a great way to enclose the patio without blocking your view.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#15. Going Crazy with Pavers and Bricks

The materials you choose for your patio is just as important as the shape you decide on. Swoops and curves along with matching rock walls make this porch unique and truly beautiful. Note how the homeowner has created multiple layers and has carried the curved design throughout the entire deck. The low walls offer plenty of space for potted plants.

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Related Articles:

[Guide] – Finding the Best Patio Heater for Your Outdoor Living Space

[Guide] - Finding the Best Patio Heater for Your Outdoor Living Space

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Finding the best patio heater can mean using outdoor space when you otherwise wouldnt

Finding a good patio heater can mean using outdoor living spaces at times when you otherwise wouldn't

ALTHOUGH THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY heater is a nice thick sweater, it isn’t always the most practical and comfortable.

Finding the best patio heater can really transform the way you use your outdoor space during the colder months. Not only does it let you host friends and family outdoors, can also do your favorite activities and still be nice and toasty on those chilly fall and winter evenings.

The Differences Between Patio Heaters

There are 3 main differences in patio heaters. Understanding these and answering deciding what you do and don’t want will help you find a good patio heater. The differences are:

  1. Fuel types

  2. Style types

  3. Size types


1. The Different Fuel Types

When it comes to finding the right patio heaters, there are three different fuel types to choose from, propane, electric, and solid fuel (charcoal, wood etc.). Each has their advantages and disadvantages, based on your particular needs.

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Image courtesy of Ebay

Electric Heaters

Electricity might seem like a low-cost form of heat that has the advantage of providing virtually instant heat. These heaters also tend to cool down relatively quickly. Electric heaters are further broken down into two sub-categories:

Long-Wave Infrared

These heaters tend to be quite expensive to operate, but are capable of covering a large area and heating it up quickly.

Halogen

Halogen heaters are significantly less expensive to use, but due to their limited range are not good for larger spaces, let alone the great outdoors of your patio.

A Propane patio heater with a dome cover in action

Propane Heaters

Gas powered patio heaters tend to be very effective and can produce significant amounts of heat that cover a large area. But of course, you have to have a ready supply of gas on hand. They are more expensive to operate than electric heaters but have the advantage of providing a steady supply of heat and covering larger areas.

A fire pit is an example of a solid fuel patio heater

Solid Fuels

This includes chimeneas, fire pits, and wood stoves. These patio heaters look great sitting out on your patio. They are relatively effective at proving plenty of steady heat that can cover a large area. But, you will need to have plenty of fuel on hand as they tend to go through it quite fast. Chimeneas stay hot for hours and can be hard to keep clean. They also produce smoke and may not be the best choice if you have smaller children.

2. Different Styles of Patio Heater

Freestanding Patio Heaters

Freestanding heaters are ideal for those who need to warm up larger areas as they considered to be the most powerful heaters on the market. Most measure between 7 and 8 feet tall and are offered in either a tapered or pyramid style.

  • Tapered heaters start with a heavy base that holds the tall shaft in place. At the top are a heating element and a metal umbrella cover.

  • Pyramid heaters are triangular in shape, much lighter and have a flame burning inside a cylindrical tube to produce heat.

Freestanding patio heaters can generally warm an area with a 9-foot diameter. These are the heaviest and can be hard to move around. Some require two people to move and they can be challenging to assemble, even for the experienced builder.

Mounted Patio Heaters

These are great if your patio is right next to your home as they must be attached to a convenient wall or to the ceiling. They are not designed to be portable. The good news is that these heaters are inherently space saving and put out a lot of effective heat.

Getting power to them is easy as they can be wired directly into your home's wiring. Top of the line models come with remote controls that make turning them on and off as well as controlling the temperature easier.

Be sure to check local ordinances to see if you must hire a professional electrician to wire your patio heaters in. Even if there are no laws to prevent you from doing the installation, you should be comfortable with all aspects of the installation for your own safety and that of your family.

Table Top Patio Heaters

These are made to heat smaller areas and are basically a smaller version of the freestanding models. They are lightweight and can easily be moved around your patio. Tabletop heaters are ideal for outdoor meals and family gatherings where you don't need to heat large areas of your patio. You can even take one of these heaters camping with you.

Hanging Patio Heaters

Designed to be hung from the ceiling these heaters are made for use in covered areas such as a gazebo, covered porch or patio, and any other covered area. They are ideal for use in sheds, garages, and other outdoor buildings. Since they hang above the ground, these heaters don't waste any floor space and provide even coverage for the surrounding area.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

Fire Pit Patio Heaters

Fire pit heaters look just like a wood burning fire pit but may be powered by wood pellets, propane, even electricity. You never have to worry about searching for firewood or the smoke that burning wood puts off. They tend to be quite expensive, are very heavy, and can be difficult to move around your patio.

3. The Different Sizes

As you look at patio heaters, one of the first things you should notice is that they come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and styles. Bear in mind that the size of your new patio heater is definitely going to have a major impact on its price. But at the same time, you don't want to waste money buying one that is too small to get the job done.

Here is an idea of basic heat output:

  • Freestanding – 40,000 BTU – needed due to large areas they heat

  • Tabletop – 12,000 BTU – because they only have to heat a small area

  • Mounted – 3,000 BTU – for even smaller areas

But this is just a basic idea of their average maximum output, you should shop for a patio heater based on the size of the area you plan to heat.

How Do I Calculate How Many BTUs I Need?

If you are going to invest in a patio heater for the next cool night, you need to buy one that is going to get the job done. The best way to figure out which one is right for your needs is to do a little (ugh) math. Calculate the size of your patio – measure the length and width of your patio – multiply the two numbers together, this is the area of your patio.

Example: 25 feet x 13 feet = 325 sq. ft.

Now determine how many degrees above the ambient temperature you want the heater to increase the temperature. For the sake of argument, let's say you want to raise is by 10 degrees:

325 x 10 = 3,250 BTUs minimum.

Of course, you may want to buy one a little bigger than your calculations show just in case it gets colder outside than you planned for.

If you are using an electric heater you can calculate the number of watts by taking the radius of the area you wish to heat and multiplying it by 100.

Example: 15 feet x 100 = 1,000 watts

Here again, you may want to go slightly larger than the calculation shows to ensure you have plenty of heat on those chilly evenings.

A Quick Note About Those Domes

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Image courtesy of Amazon

You may have noticed that some of the freestanding and tabletop patio heaters have a single dome (the curved metal plate on top) and others have three of them stacked on top of each other. Those with a single dome are generally cheaper than those with three.

  • A single dome heater is designed to radiate heat downwards, heating a much smaller area, typically directly under the heater.

  • A triple dome heater is designed to radiate heat in three different directions to provide heat over a much larger area.

  • Triple dome heaters tend to cost more than single dome units.

The Top 5 Picks for the Top Patio Heater

Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

Lovely to look at and puts out plenty of heat

fire_sense_patio_heater

Fire Sense Patio Heater

Rated at 46,000 BTUs, this freestanding patio heater from Fire Sense is available in a range of colors to suit your outdoor décor. It features piezo electronic ignition with stainless steel burners and a double mantle heating grid. There is a built-in shut off valve in case the heater gets tipped over. It comes with wheels to make it easier to move. Runs on propane with the tank hidden in the pedestal out of sight.

ProsCons
Choice of colorsSingle dome design keeps heat close by
46,000 BTU outputMade from flimsy metal
Easy to maneuver thanks to included wheelsSome manufacturing issues

Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater - Pyramid Style 

Fun to watch the flames while you stay warm

Thermo Tiki Patio Heater

Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater

This patio heater offers a tower of flame that is as much fun to watch as it is to enjoy the heat radiation from it. Made from high-grade steel and aluminum, this heater features a black power-coat finish that will keep it looking good for years. The 50-inch tall ceramic glass flame tube puts on a spectacular show while the pagoda style reflector reflects plenty of heat and firelight. A 20-lb. tank fits in the bottom where it is out of sight.

ProsCons
Glass tower puts out plenty of heat and firelightMost of the heat rises instead of being reflected
Powder coated to prevent rustPoor customer service
Push button ignitionIgnition system and burners have issues

KingMys 1500W Remote Controlled Carbon Infrared Indoor/Outdoor Patio Heater

Interesting design throws directional heat

KingMys_1500W_Indoor_Outdoor_patio_Heater

KingMys 1500W Remote Controlled Indoor/Outdoor Patio Heater

Silent directional heat that uses no fossil fuels, instead this patio heater provides 1,500 watts of heat using electric reflective heat technology. No gas lines or tanks to worry about, no running out of fuel in the middle of the evening. Comes with a convenient remote control and plugs into any standard 110/120V outlet. There are three heat setting modes that allow you to set the amount of heat to match the outside temperature.

ProsCons
No gas lines or tanksElectricity can be spendy
6-foot cord is a bit short for patio useFan is noisy
Can be used indoorsNot recommended for larger areas

ProCom PCTT15 Tank-Top Propane Heater, Single Burner, 15,000 BTU

Outdoor heat doesn't get much more basic than this

ProCom_PCTT15_Propane Heater

ProCom PCTT15 Tank-Top Propane Heater

All you need is a 20-lb propane tank and room to sit it on the ground. This heater mounts directly on the top of the tank and puts out up to 15,000 BTU of heat in any direction you point it. It has three temperature settings and comes with a regulator. Unfortunately, you need matches or a stick lighter to light it as it does not have a built-in ignitor.

ProsCons
InexpensiveVery directional heat
Space savingMax output is only 15,000 BTU
Runs up to 43 hours on a single tankOnly good for very small areas

AZ Patio Heaters Electric Patio Heater, Parasol

Perfect for use under that table umbrella

AZ_Patio_Heaters_Parasol

AZ Patio Heaters 

This patio heater is designed to be used under an umbrella and can be used indoors or outside on the patio. It offers up to 1,500 BTU of directional heat. Made of stainless steel with a powder coated finish for long life. Comes with a variable temperature control and is IP certified waterproof. Designed to heat an area up to 15 feet in diameter.

ProsCons
Perfect for heating your table under the umbrellaMade just for use under an umbrella
Can be left in place all year longSmall heating area
Variable temperature controlsNot effective in very cold weather

One Last Choice

Outland Fire Table, Aluminum Frame Propane Fire Pit Table 

Stylish heating for your patio

Outland_Fire_Table

Outland Fire Table, Aluminum Frame Propane Fire Pit Table

If you are interested in a stylish patio heater that is going to get people talking while keeping them nice and toasty, this might be the perfect one for you. Propane powered with a 35,000 BTU output, this table was a Silver Medal Winner in the 2017 International Design Awards for Best Design in Outdoor Patio Furniture! Safe to use during most fire bans and offers easy lighting and adjustable flame height.

ProsCons
Beautiful to look atHeat is localized
Flames are fun to watchGlass top may not fit in frame
Provides plenty of heatCannot be used as a table

Down to the Last BTU

When it comes to choosing the best patio heaters, you need to first think about what you are trying to accomplish and where you plan to use the heater. Each different style is intended for a specific heating need. For myself, I have a Fire Sense freestanding unit on one end and the Outland Fire Table in the middle, together they keep our patio nice and warm on a chilly evening. I hope this information helps you find the heat your patio and family needs.

  • Thank you for reading this guide on finding the best patio heater for your outdoor living space. If you have any comments of questions, please contact me here


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