5 Things to Look for in Eco-Friendly Outdoor Furniture

Annie B. Bond by Annie B. Bond | May 20th, 2009 | 13 Comments
topic: Eco Decorating, Green Living


Most of the outdoor furniture you’ll see at your local big box stores is plastic or metal, but there is a wide array of outdoor furniture made with natural fibers or other eco-friendly materials. Here’s a guide to five types of materials to look for in eco-friendly patio or deck furniture:

1. Wicker made from rattan palm vine. Native to Asia and traced back as far as 2500 B.C., rattan palm vine can grow 600 feet long. What an abundant gift from nature! Rattan cane and reed are both processed from this vine and are used to make the oldest and most traditional wicker furniture. The rattan vine is used as the framework because the vines themselves can grow to 3 inches wide. After the thorns and outer layer of the rattan vine have been removed, the outer bark is sliced into the cane found on chair seats and backs and as the wrapping used at the joints of wicker furniture.

2. Bamboo or willow, both good eco-friendly natural fiber choices for outdoor furniture.

3. Wood labeled as sustainably grown harvested. Examples include western red cedar, which is naturally resistant to bacteria, fungus, and insects; or eucalyptus, another fast-growing hardwood that can be harvested from renewable plantations and is weather resistant. This eucalyptus table has a nontoxic tung-oil-based protective coating, and it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

4. Recycled materials, like a homemade birdfeeder.

5. Aluminum (if you prefer metal for your outdoor furniture), because it won’t rust, it’s very light, and it will last for decades with little maintenance.

I have passed many a tranquil hour in warmer months on the wicker couch on my front porch, with its natural fiber cushions, drinking iced tea and just looking at the garden or listening to the birds. If you don’t have such a place, I urge you to make your own outdoor oasis.


  1. This is great info. I am looking around for new patio furniture right now and these tips will be very helpful.

    Derrick | June 5th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. [...] when it comes from responsibly managed forests. And there’s another way to help the planet when purchasing wood furniture — one that can also help your budget: buying [...]

  3. Thanks for these pointers. It is so difficult to get most people to understand the idea of “sustainability”. I hop more find this and read it.

    Camping Table | August 20th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. Some interesting information on Eco Garden Furniture, will continue my search – Thanks

    Rattan Garden Furniture | December 29th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. Growing up my mom has always had wicker patio furniture, it was always what she went with when it came to having a choice.

  6. This is a nice little resource for honing down some of the best alternative sets to buy & use. Many people don’t consider anything but wood sets and that’s a shame, especially depending on where they live.

    A little video here helps further: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3r3ODkxrvI

    Remember, if you live near the sea, the salt air can make a set look old real quick, that’s why I liked the fact you mentioned sets that come in made of aluminum. A great alternative when living near salty air!

    Garden Furniture Sets | January 30th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  7. insightful

    Grayson Gill | October 7th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  8. I love rattan furniture! I know its horribly unfashionable these days to own rattan couches but I always prefer sitting on furniture made with natural fibers rather than cold aluminum furniture everyone seems to be into these days.

    Garden furniture | January 16th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  9. Rattan furniture is great for outdoors. Aluminum furniture on the other hand can stand the test of time. Thanks for the great insights!

    divan bed | October 2nd, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  10. Indeed, furniture constructed from wicker is not just durable but also promotes green living. It has been more than 50 years since my Grandmother acquired her rattan porch conversation set. Today, it lies outside my house, and I can stay, still in good shape. Thanks for mentioning red cedar. I am fond of wooden benches and tables. I think red cedar can be suitable for my next purchase. Thanks for sharing.

    recycled park benches | December 10th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  11. Thanks, this is one sp great post. Thanks for sharing these useful information with us.

    wicker Florida | February 7th, 2014 | Comment Permalink
  12. Everybody looking for a patio furniture which suites for the overall background. This 5 materials given were Eco friendly in nature. These will be more suitable fr those who need durable furniture. Keep sharing more information like this in the upcoming posts too.

    Frank | April 14th, 2014 | Comment Permalink
  13. Thank you for sharing such informative post! I like your way of introducing the natural furniture!

    Stephanie Tan | December 7th, 2015 | Comment Permalink

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