At Terrain Planning and Design, we employ the best practices when it comes to Earth stewardship and sustainability. After we are done designing and installing a patio, homeowners must then decide how they will furnish it. We like to encourage our clients to consider recycled patio furniture. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, here are some examples of patio furniture choices that are earth-friendly:
As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This is definitely the case with salvaged patio furniture. It’s not for everyone, but if you are creative and have the time, you can often find tables, planters, benches, arbors and other architectural salvage items that you can use as garden décor. In addition to the obvious ecological benefits of recycling unwanted items, this approach also helps to support local businesses like flea markets, antique stores and consignment shops.
As an outdoor furniture material, teak is well-known for its durability. The wood’s naturally high oil content helps to keep insects away, resists rot, and its dense grain makes teak exceptionally strong. Some teak furniture manufacturers are committed to sustainable forestry and environmentally friendly manufacturing practices like the use of wood cut-offs, plantation-grown wood and Forestry Stewardship Council-certified timber.
Native to Australia, Tasmania and nearby islands, eucalyptus has a straight grain, smooth finish, high natural oil content and strong wood that make it extremely durable. In addition, eucalyptus is a fast-growing renewable source of wood. Trees that are harvested flush out again and are ready for harvest in as little as five years.
Aluminum furniture has a well-deserved reputation for being lightweight, resistant to rust and stylish. What most people do not realize is that aluminum is also eco-friendly. As the U.S. Department of Energy notes, aluminum is what’s known as an “energy bank,” which means its original energy is constantly being recovered during the recycling process. Right now, around half of the aluminum produced in the United States is recycled.
A lot of the recycled patio furniture on the market today is made from recycled high-density polyethylene containers. Also known as “HDPE”, these are usually the containers used for milk, cooking oil, shampoo and other products. Once the recycled plastic is processed it is molded into plastic “lumber.” The end product looks amazingly like the real thing! In addition to its nice appearance, recycled plastic patio furniture is exceptionally durable. One popular brand is Polywood ®. Polywood recycled plastic furniture comes with a 20-year warranty. In addition to being moisture and stain resistant, patio furniture that is made from HDPE plastic will not splinter or rot, and it is virtually toxin-free. It is also fade resistant, and the color and material will not peel away over time. While Polywood and other brands of recycled plastic furniture may initially cost a bit more, its amazing longevity and aesthetic appeal make it a very wise and attractive investment.