Your garden furniture gets a workout during the long, lazy days of summer.  Spending time in your own backyard is one of the pleasures of the season.  And though keeping your wood garden furniture looking like new seems like such a chore, it doesn't have to be.  By following tips below you can keep your garden furniture in top shape for many years to come

Choosing the best material for wood furniture

By choosing a quality wood suitable for outdoor use, you're garden furniture will last you through many seasons.  Red cedar is a fine-grain wood that is naturally weather resistant and will last a lifetime.  Cypress is beautiful, distinctive and durable and will give you years of trouble-free care.  Mahogany weathers well and is a great choice for outdoor furniture.  Teak is also an excellent choice and is immune to warp or rot, and will turn a wonderful silvery grey if left untreated

Refinishing your wood furniture

How often should you refinish your furniture?  There is no hard and fast answer, and it depends quite a bit on where you live.  Is it sunny and hot, or cool and damp?  The more the elements contribute to the wear and tear on your furniture - and whether or not you cover them during inclement weather - will determine how often you need to refinish

It also depends on the look you prefer.  Many people enjoy the look of weathered outdoor furniture.  Sun and exposure to wind and rain changes the color of unprotected woods but doesn't affect it's structural integrity, so it's strictly a matter of personal taste.  Refinish more often if you prefer to extend the "like-new" look, or allow your furniture to weather.  Regardless, you should thoroughly clean your garden furniture at least once a year

Cleaning your wood furniture

The easiest method for cleaning your outdoor furniture is pressure-washing.  If you don't have access to a pressure washer, you can simply clean your furniture with a soft brush and a good wood cleaner found at your local home improvement store.  Giving your furniture a quick bath once a week with warm soapy water and a sponge will help maintain it for the long run.  Be sure to rinse it well with clean water and allow the furniture to dry thoroughly

Treating your wood furniture

Paint is the easiest way to treat your wood furniture.  Use a good primer on the bare wood before applying the finish coast.  Paint is the hardiest form of protection for your wood furniture, but will need to be refinished every one to three year due to peeling.  Oil based paints will last a bit longer, but are generally harder to clean and more toxic.  Water based paints are easier to use and clean up easily

If you live in a wet climate, be sure to protect your furniture from mold by applying a product with mold inhibitor.  Ask the staff at your local home improvement store for recommendations

In a hot climate, choose a product with UV protection and apply yearly to stave off the negative affects from sun exposure.  By leaving wood untreated, it will eventually turn silvery gray.  At this point, the deterioration of the wood slows tremendously and the surface actually prevents UV light from penetrating the interior of the wood.  This is a great benefit if you like the look of weathered wood

Protecting wood furniture

It's best if you can cover your wood furniture with a tarp during rainy spells, or move it into the garage or shed during winter.  Just make sure the furniture is dry before covering it.  It is also recommended to store cushions during rainy weather and for winter storage to prolong their life expectancy

As you can see, with just a little maintenance, you can keep your wood garden furniture looking fantastic year after year.