By Owen Jones

If you have a lovely patio or deck or a beautiful garden, then you have to have good patio furniture in order to enjoy it. There is no finer end to a busy day than sitting outside on the patio with a drink and a newspaper or a book. I like to sit in the garden after the sun has waned a little, but before the mosquitoes come out for a few hours reading a book.

There are many different styles of patio furniture to choose from that range from classic to modern. There is also a full range of choice in that there are chairs, loungers, swinging sofas, tables, outdoor fridges, barbecue sets and patio heaters amongst other things. A full set need not cost more than $1,000, but you can start with a table and two chairs and build up your patio furniture set step by step.

The many choices you have when looking for patio furniture are the style and the material it is made from. Most patio furniture stays outside all day and all night in any weather, so it important to get furniture that is well-made and weather-proof. All weather furniture is usually made from plastic-coated steel, wicker, massive wood or moulded plastic.

Whatever you pick, make sure that the guarantee makes your choice worth the money. For example, I mean, if the furniture costs $200, and has a 12 month warranty, then you should be prepared to pay $4 a week for your investment and everything else is a bonus.

Another tip is to buy your patio furniture from a reputable manufacturer or a reputable retailer, unless it is massive timber furniture in which case you will want a reputable local craftsman. It depends where you live of course, but any patio furniture is going to have a hard time of it and it will remain outside sometimes no matter what your intentions are now.

Standard plastic patio furniture is pretty good and will stand up to all but the coldest of weather, which can make it become brittle. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can have the same effect on cheap plastic chairs. White is the usual colour, but there are others. Make sure that you buy something that will take your weight, especially if you are a bit on the heavy side. I have had legs of plastic chairs go on me, but luckily I was on grass both times. On concrete or near the edge of raised decking could be very serious.

Once you have selected your patio table, chairs and possibly loungers, there are one or two other things that I think are essential to allowing the full enjoyment of your patio deck. For example, if you want to use your outdoor furniture in the evening you may find it chilly or you may be troubled by insects.

This need not be a problem. You can get a patio heater at quite a reasonable price. A gas patio heater will keep up to eight people lovely and warm. To complete your patio furniture set, you might want a mosquito trap of some sort.

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