Analyze your space
Do you want to have dinner parties, or is the space primarily for lounging. Do you want to create a party atmosphere or a quiet reading nook?
Does you space get a lot of sun? What is the ground surface like? You may need an umbrella if the area gets a lot of sun. This would also mean that you will need a hole in your table top. Also, the ground surface may determine if you need light or heavy weight furniture.
Measure your space
Remember to take chairs into account! Add 25” around any table, plus an extra 24-36” for walking space behind the chairs.
Use chalk to outline the space where the furniture will go.
Consider your options
How many people do you want to accommodate? While a bar height table and chairs will allow for a little more space in cramped quarters, you will be able to seat a minimal amount of people. Armless chairs are a great space saver and allow more people to sit comfortably at the table.
Find your style
Check out outdoor magazines to get some ideas and find your preferences.
Do your Homework
All outdoor Furniture is not created equal. Not only are their different types of materials used, but there are some products that are manufactured poorly.
You should be aware that metal frames should be created from Aluminum, not Steel. Aluminum is a great choice because it is lightweight and does not rust.
Wood is a beautiful option, with Teak being the toughest of woods. Just know that you should look for Grade A wood that is Kiln Dried. Cheap Teak = poor quality wood and poor construction, period.
Resin Wicker is another choice that has gained popularity. It looks good, is durable, and easy to clean. Look for high quality resin wicker that is UV-tested and will not fade.
Cushions and throw pillows add comfort and style – just make sure you have a place to store them in the winter. Also, make sure your pillows are color-stay protected, have polyester fibers, and have been UV-tested.
Sit in the Furniture
Try out all the furniture in the store. Take your time. This is furniture that you are going to be spending quality time in. It needs to be comfortable.
Cheap furniture will only last so long. Avoid any deals that seem too good to be true. Instead, look for decent sales and buy high quality furniture at a reasonable price. You may spend a bit more, but it will be worth it in the end.