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The best types of wood for… DIY garden furniture projects

Looking to add a touch of natural, bespoke beauty to your garden? Timber’s just the ticket.

If you’re contemplating creating a garden table, chair set or bench, don’t overlook some of the timber species we’ve picked out, each famed for durability and good looks. Don’t miss our DIY top tips either!

Should I use hardwood or softwood for my garden furniture?

Both hardwood and softwood can be suitable, but hardwood has more natural weather and rot resistance, and so should be your primary choice for garden furniture DIY projects.

Softwood must be treated to protect it from the elements and, as a rule, requires more frequent maintenance — whereas hardwood is usually fine as it is. This makes a hardwood timber species the most common, popular choices for outdoor garden furniture.

That said, make no mistake, the ‘soft’ variety can work too with the right treatment.

What characteristics should wood for a garden furniture have?

In the UK, our garden furniture is asked to withstand brutal, unforgiving elements — sunlight, rain, thunderstorms, not forgetting termites and dirt. Therefore it needs to be highly robust, with impressive strength, durability and water and rot resistance. Ideally, garden furniture ought to be low maintenance, too.

A well-chosen, quality hardwood will last a very long time and require minimal repair work. High-quality hardwoods will avoid warping. These three solid suggestions are timber species that step up to the mark and are ideal for outdoor use.

What are the best types of timber for garden furniture?

1. Teak

Teak is possibly the ideal wood for outdoor furniture. As well as superior durability, its waterproof and resistant to direct sunlight. That’s not forgetting how undeniably beautiful the wood is. Teak doesn’t attract dirt and is resistant to insects — meaning you can leave it out in the most adverse weather conditions.

Many people are turned off from teak because of the higher price. But weigh up this initial cost with the savings you’ll make in the longer term through lack of maintenance costs and the many, many years you’ll get out of your furniture.

2. Iroko

Iroko is an exotic hardwood from the rainforests of Africa and is very slow growing, giving it incredible strength. The wood requires very little maintenance, and with a natural resistance to pests, is an extremely reliable choice for your garden furniture.

Iroko's mind-blowing durability has even earned it the nickname ‘African teak’!

3. European Oak

There’s a reason why oak is a perennially-popular choice for the more price-conscious woodworker. It’s a fine, strong and sturdy choice, as well as easy on the eye.

Be warned, however, that oak needs more maintenance and has lower water and sunlight resistance. Oak garden furniture requires treatment occasionally, as well as a covering when not in use (ideally).

These aren’t the only types of timber that will work! Many high-quality hardwoods will be able to step up to the mark… but you won’t go far wrong with the three we’ve chosen.

Need some more tailored advice about timber for your DIY project?

Our friendly team of timber experts would be delighted to have a chat and get you started.

And if you’re nearby, why not pay a visit to our Woodworking Centre and cast your eyes over our enviable selection of high-quality hardwood? We’re just off the A1 near Ripon, in Melmerby.

The best types of wood for… DIY garden furniture projects

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