Guide to Choosing Outdoor Seating

Designer Tammy Powell and the experts at Birmingham's Blackjack Gardens share tips for selecting outdoor seating you'll enjoy for years to come
outdoor furniture birmingham al, blackjack gardens
Designer Tammy Powell and the experts at Blackjack Gardens share tips for choosing outdoor seating you’ll enjoy for years to come. Photo: Lloyd Flanders Mackinac Collection

Whether furnishing a new outdoor room or updating an existing space, Birmingham designer Tammy Powell says, “It all starts with the seating. Fabrics, colors, rugs, lighting, and other pieces come together easily once the seating choices are made.”

Before you start shopping, consider your patio, porch, or deck just as you would an indoor room. Start with its dimensions and function.

  • Measure the space. The scale of your furniture should be appropriate to the seating area. Seating that’s the wrong scale can make your patio seem cramped or even make spaces feel isolating.
  • Keep in mind how your outdoor room is most often used. Seating for enjoying the breeze and a fantastic view is very different from what is needed for a patio primarily used for family barbecues and game-day gatherings. Also note any focal points such as an outdoor fireplace, wall-mounted television, or view that should be considered in the design. You may find that your chairs need to swivel, and that lounges need to be light enough to move around.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Seating

1 | Don’t ignore the weather.

  • Is your space covered?
  • Will furniture be exposed to salt?
  • How weather-resistant does your fabric need to be?
  • Do you need quick-drying cushions?

“Know up front what kind of exposure your seating will get. Talk to your designer or dealer about what materials (metal, wood, or composites) best suit your space and what maintenance each requires.” — Tammy Powell, designer

2 | Know how many people you need to seat.

Plan enough seating for your family and guests (and don’t forget the kids).

3 | What’s your style?

Note the appearance of your house and the gardens adjacent to your space. Sleek, steel-framed sling chairs may look out of place in an English cottage side yard. A wide selection of design options ensures you’ll be able to find pieces that satisfy your tastes.

4 | Get comfortable.

Go to a showroom and sit in everything. The variety of styles, cushions, fabrics and finishes will amaze you. Find what makes you feel good and you’ll enjoy your outdoor space as much as any other room.

5 | Spend the money for quality and durability.

Your outdoor furniture should be an investment that stands the test of time.

Outdoor Seating Inspiration

Click the arrows (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see more

outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Roma Collection by Summer Classics (materials: aluminum frame, powder-coated finish, mildew-resistant cushions)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Gloster Ventura collection dining (materials: teak)
choosing outdoor seating, blackjack gardens
Lloyd Flanders Generations Collection (materials: welded, powder-coated aluminum; all-weather wicker)
outdoor seating, blackjack gardens
Brown Jordan Luna Sunport (materials: powder-coated aluminum, Sunbrella fabrics)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Presidential Rocking Chairs from Polywood. (material: composite lumber)
choosing outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Peak Season Newport collection (materials: aluminum frame with hand-grained finish, all-weather vinyl wicker, smart upholstery construction)
choosing outdoor seating, blackjack gardens
Lloyd Flanders Elements Sectional (materials: welded aluminum frame, stainless steel legs, all-weather wicker, hyrophobic cushions)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Winston Catania Cushion Collection (materials: aluminum frame, woven sling, fast-drying cushions)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Brown Jordan Drift Lounges (materials: solid teak, Sunbrella fabrics)
alfresco dining table and chairs
Winston Catania Sling seating (aluminum frame, contoured mesh sling)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Gloster Bay collection (materials: teak)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL, blackjack gardens
Jensen Coral Collection (materials: powder-coated welded aluminum, ipe wood, all-weather Virofiber)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Polywood classic folding Adirondack chairs (material: composite lumber)
choosing outdoor seating
Woodard Derby collection swing (materials: wrought iron)
outdoor furniture Birmingham AL
Lane Venture Charlotte collecton (materials: aluminum frame, WeatherMaster cushions
outdoor seatingL, blackjack gardens
Lloyd Flanders Mackinac Collection (materials: welded aluminum frame, all-weather vinyl wicker, hydrophobic cushions)

More Outdoor Living Style