I grew up on a big cattle farm in Virginia, and worked on the farm every summer. I weeded in the garden, picked up rocks in the fields, dug unwanted thistles, baled hay, helped break and train yearlings, painted fences and almost every year repainted the white, wooden Adirondack chairs on the front lawn. Today, repainting the Adirondack chairs would be one less job to do on my list.

Outdoor furniture has come a long way. Manufacturers, like PolyWood, are creating frames that resemble wood, but never need painting nor will they ever rot. This maintenance free outdoor furniture gifts us with more time to relax, enjoy the summer and one less job to do. Adirondack chairs are a summertime favorite enhanced now with splinter free, smooth texture made from recycled plastic. It is about time!

polywood chair

Eco friendly outdoor furniture is a booming industry. Not only do consumers get to purchase outdoor furniture that lasts, but their purchase helps the outdoors we so love last longer, too. This profitable market is the inevitable result of an increased awareness towards responsible stewardship of the land, and natural resources blended with an increasing desire on the part of consumers to take care of their planet. Both consumers and manufacturers are now understanding furniture can have a negative impact on the environment. Savvy, environmentally conscious consumers today are asking the un-obvious questions: how was this piece of furniture built…what materials were used and where did the materials come from…did the creation of this product pollute the environment or deplete resources…will the end life of this product contribute to environmental waste and pollution? Manufacturers of furniture are now assisting consumers with answers to such questions by disclosing this information with a seal of approval through certification. Certified product manufacturers today must undergo a certification process in order to obtain an eco friendly stamp of approval by the Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC makes a difference protecting the environment along with people who are sustained by the forests by managing timber supplies. Furniture manufacturers who buy timber through the FSC are doing their part to leave a smaller carbon footprint. By purchasing eco friendly outdoor furniture in which to enjoy the great outdoors, you can relax knowing you, too, have taken a step towards the protection of our natural resources. If you are interested in buying sustainable furniture with the FSC label, check with the FSC as well as the Forest Certification Resource Center or the Green Building Resource Guide.

There are many types of green furniture on the market today besides sustainably grown and harvested wood furniture. I mentioned previously PolyWood made from recycled plastic, but other options include bamboo, wicker and aluminum.

Bamboo is a fast growing, sustainable wood( actually it is considered a grass! ) that is incredibly strong. My son had a patch of bamboo growing in front of his house he wanted to remove as it was taking over. He ended up having to use a steel saw, steel digging bars and a chainsaw to remove it. Needless to say, anything made of bamboo is going to be around a long time.

Wicker is a plentiful resource from the rattan palm vine. Both the rattan cane and reed are made from the vine to create traditional wicker furniture. Today, recycled materials are being used to produce wicker like furniture that is wonderfully modern and durable for outdoor use.

Modern furniture aficionados prefer metal furniture, making aluminum the perfect choice for the outdoors since it is very lightweight, rust resistant, durable and maintenance free.

Though you may undertake a search for green furniture on the internet or in specialty stores, do not overlook your own local area for artisan furniture. Many artists and craftsmen are recycling salvaged wood and metal into one of a kind furniture creations. Check your local paper, artisan shops and craft fairs to fine these eco friendly, artisan products.

Do not forget to keep eco friendly in mind when buying cushions and pillows for your outdoor furniture. There are several great lines of recycled fabrics for outdoor patio furniture, one of the best being Geobella. These poly-based fabrics are putting plastic bottles and grocery bags to good use with breathable, cotton like fabrics that do not mildew, dry fast and hold their color against fading.

According to the American Society Of Interior Designers, about 85 percent of everything manufactured in this country finds its way to the landfill in less than one year. Do not waste your money on cheap outdoor furniture only to add waste to the landfill a year later. Create an outdoor oasis you can enjoy for many summers to come with long-lasting furniture for the outdoors.