Few investments can top the serenity and bliss of a secluded desert home. As you pour time and energy into your new getaway, don’t overlook the outdoor areas on your porch or deck. While deserts are naturally hot, simple shade from an umbrella can transform any spot on your patio into a relaxing oasis.
If you’re looking for high-quality outdoor furniture that will stand the test of time, you need to understand how different outdoor materials react in desert conditions. You may have a general preference already, but what’s best for where you live?
What Conditions Exist in the Desert?
Homeowners who have put down roots in the desert won’t have to worry about moisture and rot degrading their outdoor furniture. The main elements you’ll be up against are extreme heat and unrelenting sun. Due to low humidity, temperatures can fluctuate quickly. Nighttime temps can drop, but during the day, your furniture will need to withstand the sun in addition to wind and dust.
The climate where you live is unique, and you should supplement your research with information about your specific location. However, your primary concerns for desert furniture should be resiliency to sun, ease of cleaning, and whether or not a material absorbs heat.
How Materials Behave in the Desert
When you begin considering the costs of furniture materials, ask yourself how long you want the furniture to last. How functional do you want your furniture to be, and how much time do you want to devote to maintenance? Here’s what to expect from popular material options in the desert.
Aluminum is an affordable metal that is a dependable option for outdoor furniture.
- Most importantly, aluminum, like other metals, absorbs heat and becomes hot in the sun.
- Aluminum is a sturdy, reliable material that is easy to maintain.
- Aluminum furniture can resist rust and moisture. This is a great benefit, but rust isn’t common in desert climates.
- Aluminum is lightweight, making it easy to rearrange. If you live in a windy area, consider anchoring it down.
- For an additional cost aluminum furniture can powder-coated for corrosion-resistance.
Out of all possible wood varieties, teak is the sturdiest choice.
- Teak and other woods do not absorb heat, making them terrific options for spots with constant sun exposure.
- Teak is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but teak generates its own oil and lasts a long time.
- Teak is heavy, which makes it ideal for desert environments with strong winds.
- Teak is typically available in one color, “teak.”
- Teak must be treated regularly to avoid the “silver patina” look.
The lowest-cost material for patio or deck furniture is simple plastic, available at most hardware and outdoor stores.
- Plastic will lose its color in the sun. Extreme heat in the desert can lead to warping or cracking.
- Plastic is easy to clean and can be wiped down with a cloth after a dust storm.
- Plastic furniture is very affordable. You can use plastic furniture for a season while shopping for the best long-term option.
- Plastic is lightweight, making storage simple. Plastic should be weighed down in windy areas.
- Plastic is resistant to water and rust, which is helpful in environments other than deserts.
Woven wicker material has a rustic, natural feel and is one of the less costly options for outdoor furniture.
- Wicker must be cleaned and maintained to retain its signature look.
- Wicker should be shaded from rain and sun exposure, as it degrades in the elements.
- More expensive synthetic wicker is virtually impervious to moisture and rot.
- Wicker is lightweight. This makes it susceptible to wind and easy to rearrange.
- Wicker won’t be uncomfortably hot even if you leave it in the sun for hours.
A durable choice for desert patio furniture is HDPE or high-density polyethylene recycled lumber.
- HDPE lumber does not absorb heat, making it cool to the touch during the summer. The material does not warp or melt in high temperatures.
- UV-inhibited pigment systems help maintain the lumber’s color in direct sunlight.
- HDPE lumber is sturdy, making it harder to move and more resistant to blowing over.
- HDPE lumber can be maintained with occasional wipedowns as dust or sand accumulates.
- HDPE lumber resists water and mildew damage, which makes the material more expensive.
The Final Verdict
Materials that are not naturally resistant to water and rusting can be treated to prevent corrosion. Materials like aluminum, plastic, and HDPE lumber are easy to clean, while teak and wicker require more maintenance. Aluminum is a top-notch material that is affordable, durable, and easy to clean, but it overheats in the sun.
Consider your personal preference — what is your unique style? Do you prefer the modern designs and clean lines of aluminum and HDPE lumber, or do you connect with the natural feel of teak and wicker? What material matches the architecture and decorative elements of your desert home?
Ultimately, you’ll base your decision on your budget and how long you want your outdoor furniture to last. Read more about our materials for a deep dive. Once you settle on outdoor furniture, get started decorating your desert getaway.