Bringing The Comfort Of The Indoors Outside

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Garden furniture is becoming more popular than ever. Outdoor living has become an extension of indoor living, and today's garden furniture is a reflection of that.

At one time, garden furniture consisted primarily of iron, wood or concrete benches, and wrought iron caf� table and chair sets. Later, folding aluminum lawn chairs and lounges were the most common outdoor furniture. The aluminum frames were covered with strips of nylon strapping that was woven together in a basket weave to make seats and backs, and then bolted to the frames.

During the seventies, having a wood sun deck was in vogue, and a wider variety of outdoor furniture was in fashion. A common style was redwood furniture featuring removable cushions with water resistant coverings. Redwood deck furniture often came in sets, with loveseats, chairs, coffee tables, end tables. Adirondack chairs were also commonly found, and were favored among the do-it-yourselfers who proudly built their chairs to match their decks.

The current trend in garden furniture is in furnishing outdoor "rooms" that are very much like a living room or dining room that would be found inside the house, only in an outdoor version. Much of this furniture needs to be protected from the environment, and so work best on a covered patio, under a covered trellis, or inside one of the popular canvas gazebos. In cooler climates a sun room or all-season room may be used when weather does not allow for outdoor activities.

The canvas gazebos are usually square or hexagonal shaped frames of wood, aluminum or steel covered by a canvas topper. The sides feature canvas drapes that can be left open to let the air in, or pulled closed for protection from the elements. Many of them also come with mesh curtains that can be pulled closed to allow in fresh air and sunshine while keeping bugs and pests out.

The garden furniture of today may have very thick cushions with luxurious cloth covers. Coffee tables and end tables can have glass, tile, slate or mosaic tops in addition to wood or metal tops. Garden "rooms", whether on a covered patio or inside a gazebo, are usually furnished with the same sort of decorative items one would expect to find in an indoor room, such as throw pillows, lamps, candles, wall hangings, plants and flower arrangements. Decorative bowls, pottery or other designer pieces may adorn tables, and even rugs may be used in more temperate climates. Outdoor rooms might also feature an outdoor fireplace, fountain or a bar for serving beverages.

Another trend is to build a small wood shed or one room "cottages," furnishing them to serve as guest rooms, studios or home offices. These outbuildings have become actual rooms that are a cross between indoor and open air outdoor living. In warmer climates, some people may construct a large permanent tent on wood or concrete floors. With electrical hookups, these tents can also feature all the comforts of indoor living with the feeling of being outdoors in the garden.

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Hal Lewis is a writer for in Newport Beach, CA. Check them our for Garden Furniture tips and care, as well as general Outdoor Living guides.

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