Depending on the part of the world that you live in, your outdoor patio and porch furniture may be exposed to either just a little bit of weather or a whole lot of it over the course of a year. I’ve lived in three different states over my life and, while the seasons vary a bit, I’ve always had to contend with the traditional spring/summer/fall/winter setup for the most part. We love to be outside as a family and that’s part of why we have two different patio setups now (one converted carport area and one “regular” porch), but I want to keep our outdoor items nice so that they will last as long as possible. So here are a few ways that I help protect the longevity of my outdoor items:
Use furniture in covered areas when possible: Obviously, this may not be feasible for everyone depending on your setup, but if you have the option of building your patio space under an area that is covered (like a carport or large overhang/awning area), your items will be exposed to less weather and therefore less wear over time. Less damage to furniture may also be a good excuse to build a roofed pergola over a deck or concrete slab porch in case you’ve always wanted to do that as well!
Invest in weatherproof covers: If your furniture is exposed to the elements, it’s a good idea to invest in a weatherproof cover to protect the item when not in use. Even in our carport porch space, the items on the edge of the porch get pretty wet with heavy rain and strong wind, so we have a table cover to protect our wooden dining table and a sectional cover for our outdoor couch as well. These are great to throw on when I see we have a few days/week of rainy weather and we won’t be outside a whole lot (I don’t usually put them on for every single little rain). But they are a must have if you will leave your outdoor items outside over the winter months for sure.
Buy a deck box for pillows and cushions: In case you didn’t know, a deck box is your outdoor pillow’s best friend! I actually bought two of these deck boxes and I love them. We keep one on the carport patio to store pillows in when not in use and another against the back of the house for cushions for the other porch (as well as storing outdoor toys—they are great for that too!). You can even buy covers for your boxes if they are in an area of heavy rain or snow and you want a little more protection from the elements when your outdoor space is in winter hibernation.
Buy items that can be stacked/unassembled and stored: If you have room in a shed/garage/basement, I would highly recommend storing as many of your items as you can in the off-season. We don’t need to go into our shed much at all during winter so we pack it to the ceiling with as much as we can fit in there and it really helps a lot. Try and buy things that can be stacked to save room when storing (like outdoor dining chairs) or choosing items like tables with detachable legs may help give you more storage options too.
Choose weather resistant materials (and consider washable items): Sometimes weather will still get the best of you even with some careful preparation, so it’s also a good idea to choose items that can be cleaned if algae or mildew start to take hold. A lot of metal surfaces can be scrubbed clean (or even power-washed—so much faster!) and I like to choose powder coated white metal furniture so I can give them a new coat of metal paint every few years to spruce them up as needed if they start to rust or wear in spots. Pillow or cushion covers that can be removed and washed are really helpful, and for cushions that don’t have zippers or buttons, try soaking them with some soapy water for a bit and then power washing to remove algae stains and then dry thoroughly in the sun (I’ve seen that method work a miracle on a couch whose cushions were basically covered in black and green spots—amazing!). I also like to use woven plastic rugs (like this recycled plastic option) in outdoor spaces as water isn’t a problem and you can hose them down again and again as they get dirty.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time setting up your outdoor space and picking furniture items you’d like to enjoy for a long time to come. So I think it’s totally worth the time and effort to keep them looking their best for as long as possible. Hope this was helpful to keep your porch intact whether you have to contend with just one main season where you live or all four! xo. Laura