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This Memorial Day, Manage Your Outdoor Furniture Shopping Like a Pro

Leading up to all of the great Memorial Day deals, use this guide to create a solid plan for a stress-free shopping experience for patio furniture.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Arielle Burton Associate Content Manager
Arielle Burton is an associate content manager on CNET's Performance Optimization team. She graduated from Hofstra University in New York. Prior to joining CNET, she worked with legacy news (ABC7NY and Fox Business Network) and tech companies (Mashable). She specializes in crafting compelling alerts, building community engagement on news platforms, and optimizing CNET's content for all audiences. Ultimately, Arielle is a digital media professional by day and a fierce chef by night.
Expertise News Platform Aggregation | Alerts | Home Page Curation | Content Optimization
Brian Bennett
Arielle Burton
4 min read
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Before making any purchases, figure out how you're going to be using the space.

West Elm

Spring is a great time for fresh ideas, cleaning out the old, and making room for the new around your home. Whether you just moved or need inspiration to spice up your backyard, Memorial Day deals are a great place to start. If you want the perfect vibe for your outdoor space, be sure to take notes. Whether you host outdoor parties, celebrations or meetups, you'll want to make sure that both your space and your furniture are welcoming and memorable, plus enjoyable for more than just your guests.

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Memorial Day weekend is always so exciting because you're right in between the end of spring and the beginning of summertime. Now is a perfect time to take advantage of these home improvement deals before prices skyrocket and the weather becomes too unbearably hot to want to make any upgrades to your outdoor space. 

This guide aims to prepare you with the right questions to explore so that you can make informed decisions when enhancing your backyard. Hopefully, by the time you're done reading, you'll have a solid plan for your outdoor space that's rewarding and lasts a couple of years until a new style catches your eye.

What type of outdoor furniture is best suited for my space?

Before you consider buying any piece of outdoor furniture, measure the space you plan to place it in. This is true whether you intend to set up a single chair or a set of pieces. This way, you can rest assured that the products you ultimately pick will fit properly. 

Also, make note of whether your chosen location is exposed to direct sunlight. A patio umbrella or sail shade could help to cool things down in those hot summer months. Over time the sun also tends to cause colors in plastics, fabrics and other surfaces to fade. In this situation, you may want to drape items with a tarp or other covering when not used. Another option is to store them inside, provided you have room, during the off season. 

And keep in mind some materials are heartier that others. Don't plan to cover your furniture or bring it inside? Then go with tougher items made from teak or metal, not wicker that's less sturdy.

How will this outdoor area be used?

Another critical factor to ponder is how you plan to use your outdoor oasis. If you'd like to simply add seating around a fire pit, a few chairs or a couch will probably do the trick. Those with a more ambitious goal -- say, to create an outdoor dining area -- will have a heavier lift. You'll need a table large enough to entertain you and your guests along with adequate seating accommodations.

Can I stay on budget and get outdoor furniture that fits my needs?

It's true that you don't have to spend big bucks on an outdoor patio furniture set. Online retailers are packed with many low-cost options. That said, doing so is a bit of a gamble. Because you don't actually see and feel these products in person, it'll be difficult to gauge just how well made (or not) they really are. 

And if you go with more established furniture brands, expect to pay several times more for each item. One positive with considering a traditional furniture store, though, is that it'll likely have brick-and-mortar locations to visit. That means you'll get to touch, prod and examine their furniture up close before committing. 

Read more: Best Credit Cards for Large Purchases

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The Abaco collection of outdoor furniture from Crate and Barrel. 

Crate and Barrel

What aesthetic do I want for my outdoor space?

Some of the more design-oriented furniture outlets group their outdoor offerings in fancy named collections. Others let you sort items simply by their material construction. The main types you typically find are basic woods, wicker and metals such as steel and aluminum. 

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Teak is a hardy durable wood that's great for outdoor use.

West Elm

There's also teak, which is a kind of wood. Due to teak's high oil content it's particularly adept at withstanding the elements. But since the majority of teak trees are grown on plantations in Southeast Asia, the imported wood costs much more than locally sourced varieties.

Ultimately, the style of furniture you settle on will be a very individual choice. I personally prefer as little ornamentation or embellishment as possible. You, on the other hand, might love the look of rattan, which apparently is all the rage. 

When should I ask for help when shopping for outdoor furniture?

Your plans for deploying outdoor furniture may clash with the reality on the ground. For instance, you may crave a sprawling dining area complete with an expansive table plus multiple chairs to match. But while your yard has ample room, it's mostly all grassy lawn.

In this case the best way to proceed is to build a paved patio to serve as a solid base for your new furniture. This is a big job though, since it'll require excavating grass and sod and laying down a bed of gravel. The area must be leveled properly, too, to account for correct water drainage. And that's all before laying down pavers.

If you're not comfortable with handling any of these tasks, I don't blame you. At this point there's no shame in enlisting the help of a professional landscaper. 

Now that you've considered all these factors carefully, you should be well on your way to choosing the perfect outdoor furniture that's best for your needs. And just in time too, since spring and summer are just around the corner.