Between muddy paws and sharp claws, animals can wreak havoc on your patio furniture, but some materials are more durable than others. Whether Fido only goes outside occasionally or spends the majority of the time in the yard, you’ll want to choose the right pieces for the way you and your pets live together.
Here are some of our favorite fabrics and materials for creating a patio that’s just as comfortable for you as it is for your furry friends.
Weather Resistant Wicker
The poly resin that weather resistant wicker is made of makes it one of the most functional and flexible materials for outdoor furniture. It can be molded into the flares and curves of traditional styles, or the low and clean lines of contemporary design. Cushions and covers can help you personalize (see more on pet-friendly fabric below). The resin also makes these pieces super resistant to all the issues that pets bring.
Of course, the key with any outdoor furniture that your pets have constant access to is monitoring and maintenance. With all-weather wicker, a quick spray with the hose will easily do the trick. For a more thorough cleaning, simply use soap and warm water.
Outdoor dining tables, chairs and benches made of aluminum tend to be crafted in a more traditional or transitional design style, with a little more decorative detail work in the metal. This is a great material for those who live outdoors with their pets when weather allows. Aluminum won’t rust, so, again, simply spraying them down as necessary when you need to take them back from the pets will do the trick. Spray with a silicone spray or wax every year to protect the surface from scratches and pitting.
Outdoor porch or patio furniture made of iron is generally crafted in a very traditional design style. Its charm is augmented by the fact that it is obviously the sturdiest choice you could make for your outdoor entertaining spaces, and it’s virtually indestructible by pets. Remember that iron can rust if you don’t keep your eye on the paint. An occasional spray-down will do the trick, but it’s best if you can dry it off as you go to keep the rust from setting in. With proper maintenance, iron will last you and your pets a lifetime.
A lot of my clients think that wood is out of the question when they’re choosing outdoor furniture that comes into constant contact with pets. This is not necessarily the case, if you’re not dealing with a dog or cat prone to chewing and scratching. It may require a bit more treating and painting, but if (like me) you can’t pass up the style and comfort of a traditional Adirondack chair, by all means, take a seat! An extra coat of varnish and a soft wash with warm soap and water once a season will keep it in tip top shape.
Just because you have pets doesn’t mean you have to give up the comfort and color of cushions, which bring tons of personality and style to your outdoor entertaining space. The major advantage of today’s outdoor furniture is that indoor/outdoor fabrics just zip right off for easy cleaning! Not only does that solve any pet problems, but it allows you to shake things up with new covers and colors.
Go for fabrics that resist moisture and mildew. If you’re a real sun lover, remember that some suntan lotions, combined with UV rays, can stain the fabric over time, so break out the beach towels for the full sun-tanning effect.
You can wash these covers often, and since this is where you and your guests come into the most contact with your furniture and evidence of your pets, it won’t be long before you’re wishing you could move your outdoor furniture inside!
What materials have you had the most success with for outdoor spaces you share with your pets?