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Outdoor Furniture That Respects Its Environment

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Thereís just something about outdoor wood furniture that is so homey and comfortable. Perhaps it reminds us of our pioneer heritage, when families had to make furniture from the wood they found on their property as they headed west.
 
   

While it seems that outdoor furniture canít possibly be environmentally friendly, you may be surprised. Many of the outdoor furniture pieces you see on the market today are actually made from wood harvested directly from plantations or managed forests. As such, they donít cause any additional depletion to the environment yet still allow us to enjoy their natural beauty and warmth.
   

When looking for eco-friendly outdoor furniture, you want to make sure that the woods are indeed from managed forests or plantations. If the woods were approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), thatís a pretty good indicator that the product is environmentally friendly.
   

 

 
There are three traditional choices for outdoor wood furniture: Western Red cedar, Northern White cedar and teak. The two cedars turn a lovely shade of silver gray as they age and are a great choice for outdoor furniture, particularly in regions where the weather can be a bit rough in the winter. These cedars are naturally rot resistant yet exceptionally strong. They can be left untreated and wonít shrink or warp over time.
 

 
Teak is another natural choice. It too wonít warp or swell in inclement weather. It needs a little more maintenance if you want to keep it looking like new. An application of marine quality teak oil found in marine or boat stores will do the trick and replenish the oils in the wood itself, keeping it looking new for decades. Left untreated, it will take on a silver gray patina as well.
         
Other more exotic woods are also becoming popular. Brazilian cherry and eucalyptus are both gaining favor. Brazilian cherry is beautiful. It is strong enough to leave outside but soft enough to use indoors as well. A little linseed oil and it will take on a rich look. Eucalyptus is another great choice, primarily because it is very strong, resistant to decay and fast growing. Its fast growth means it is a very renewable resource.
     
When shopping for exotic woods, you do want to make sure it has been approved by the FSC. This will assure you that the wood didnít come from an endangered rain forest. Nothingís worse than making a purchase of wood outdoor furniture, only to find that is was not only exotic, but endangered as well. The FSC stamp of approval will assure you that your purchase is a green one.
     
No matter which wood you choose for your outdoor furniture, know that your investment will be well worth it. Not only will your wood furniture continue to look wonderful for years to come in your garden, on the deck or patio, but it will lure you outdoors more often to enjoy the beauty and bounty of our natural surroundings.