Eco-Friendly Outdoor Furniture for a Greener Backyard

Do your part for the planet while enjoying the great outdoors.

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Real Simple / Lecia Landis

In years past, outdoor furniture has been surprisingly challenging to find in eco-friendly options. Because it faces the elements day in, day out, vintage pieces are often hard to come by—and most new patio furniture is built from plastic and other not-so-environmentally conscious options.

But now, eco-friendly patio furniture is available at even the biggest retailers—whether you want outdoor furniture crafted of plastic that's been recovered from the oceans, built-to-last wood furniture from sustainable sources, or even cushions crafted of recycled polyester.

Before you shop, consider these tips to pick the perfect patio furniture for you—and the planet.

Research the manufacturing process

Take a look at how the furniture is produced, and how the materials were sourced.

Wood furniture should be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which ensures that the wood was forested from a sustainable source.

With recycled plastic furniture, see how much of the material is recycled, and how much is new plastic.

Some manufacturers also look for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their production, such as paying for carbon offsets or reducing waste, which makes it even more environmentally conscious.

Related: Best Places to Buy Outdoor Furniture

Look for guarantees and warranties

If your patio furniture breaks after a few years of use, it doesn't matter how eco-friendly its creation was—because it'll now end up in the landfill.

Consider investing a little more into patio furniture that will stand up to the elements—many eco-friendly manufacturers provide 20-year warranties on their products. Even better? Some offer to completely recycle your set into a new one when the time is right.

Think timeless

If your furniture is built to last, choose simple, classic designs that'll look just as great a decade from now. You might also opt for modular furniture that can be reconfigured into different seating arrangements, so you can change up the look without changing up your furniture.

Follow the care instructions carefully

The best way to ensure that patio furniture that's built to last actually lasts? Follow the manufacturer's care advice—including investing in covers—to make sure your investment pays off.

Related: How to Clean Canvas Patio Furniture and Outdoor Cushions

Langdon Sectional Sofa

Waverly sectional sofa
Yardbird

Nearly 36 pounds of oceanbound plastic is recycled into every piece of wicker furniture created by Yardbird, which uses 64 percent recycled plastics in the production of its furnishings. it also offsets carbon footprint for the production and shipping of its products.

Even better, when your furniture is ready to be retired, Yardbird will take it back and recycle it fully.

Highwood Adirondack Chair

Highwood Adirondack Chair

Highwood makes heavy-duty plastic furniture, using 100 percent recycled materials and stainless steel, that comes with a 12-year guarantee.

Wave Chair

Wave chair from Polywood
Polywood

More than 1,000 plastic bottles that were on their way to the ocean are built into each of these chairs produced by Polywood—and its products come with a 20-year guarantee.

You can also get sofas, tables, and lounge chairs made from the brand's proprietary recycled plastic "wood."

Outer Teak Outdoor Loveseat

Outer loveseat
Outer

Outer creates built-to-last, eco-friendly patio furnishings. Its teak sets are FSC certified, and Outer plants three new teak trees for every tree it uses to build its furniture.

The sofa cushions have a unique built-in cover, to help protect them from the elements when they're not in use—and the covers wrap around the cushions to make it easy to carry them away for storage when the season is over.

You can also get wicker furniture and outdoor rugs manufactured from recycled plastics.

Portside Outdoor Bistro Set

Teak bistro set West Elm
West Elm

Dining furniture in FSC certified teak and eucalyptus wood can stand up to the elements—and it folds up so it's easy to move to your next picnic location.

(You can also get conversation sets, lounge chairs, and larger dining tables in the same style set.)

Paso Teak Adirondack Chair

Paso Teak Adirondack Chair

Crate & Barrel uses FSC certified teak for a large part of its outdoor furniture collection, including this sleek modern take on the traditional Adirondack chair.

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