What Are The Best Woods For Outdoor Furniture? 10 top picks

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The great outdoors of your back patio is like a wondrous wilderness, full of opportunities to take advantage of, and excellent photo opportunities abound. The most common sight outside is a beautiful tree, full of life. However, the wood within a tree can make some useful furniture, with some woods acting as better building materials than others.

Essential aspects of wood to keep in mind include:

  • Color of the Wood
  • Rot Resistance
  • Eco-Friendliness
  • Durability
  • How it Interacts With the Surrounding Climate

With all of these attributes in mind, it’s time to look over which wood can be classified as the “best wood for outdoor furniture.” Outdoor furniture includes objects such as benches, chairs, tables, etc. Woods like black locusts and white oak are excellent for patio furniture, but it’s critical to discuss why these types of woods excel compared to other wood types.

Black Locust

As described previously, black locust is a fantastic type of wood to use for outdoor furniture. Highly durable and hard, this class of wood is excellent for objects that require stability, such as tables, benches, etc., while also being heavily rot-resistant. If stability and reliability is your main concern for your garden bench, then this is the best wood. For outdoor bench-related activities, black locust is an excellent choice for your patio.

Fortunately, black locust is a common type of wood, as the IUCN lists it as a species of “least concern.” As a result, you won’t have to feel bad about using it! Its grain patterns are usually straightish, while the color scheme can range from browns to pale greens. Indeed, an excellent option for a wood bench outdoors!

White Oak

Technically, there are many white oak variations, such as Oregon White Oak and Swamp White Oak, but for simplicity’s sake, this list is discussing standard white oak. White oak is a light or medium brownish wood with an uneven texture and a straight grain pattern. If your primary concern is that you live in a wet climate, then a white oak furniture piece may be perfect for you!

White oak is rot-resistant as well, so its durability is above other wood classes in that regard. Woodmakers should love it for its abundance, as it’s easy to find an affordable as well. White oak as a species differs from red and black oaks, so don’t be confused when shopping for it!

White Oak Lumber Board – 3/4″

Beautiful Grain, Two sides sanded to 3/4″ thickness, Kiln dried

Aromatic Red Cedar

Do you have a problem with insects and other pests going into your backyard? Luckily for you, aromatic red cedar naturally repels insects and other critters thanks to its aroma. The scent itself isn’t harmful to humans, although, like other types of woods, you could have a skin allergy to it. Its rot-resistance is also top-notch, making it an excellent outdoor bench wood-material.

Naturally, you can use it for other outdoor furniture. Wood, such as the aromatic red cedar, is exceptionally easy to handle, so even a novice wood maker can make something elegant out of it. You can also create something cute like a birdhouse, and with its useful rot-resistance, no pests can interrupt birds coming in and out of your backyard. Make sure you try to keep the wood partially in-tact to retain its aroma. If you need an alternative, the western red cedar is another excellent option.

Atlantic White Cedar

Atlantic white cedar is a lightweight option great for outdoor projects! While most expensive than the average wood class, it still maintains top-notch stability, making it essential for boat building. A boat is an interesting piece of furniture to have in your backyard, but it certainly stands out positively. You could go with a more coastal aesthetic with this wood, or try something more classical with it.

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Atlantic white cedar is a candidate for the best wood for outdoor furniture. One great attribute this wood has is its low maintenance. Coupled with high durability, the trees it grows from are commonplace; thus, it’s a reasonably eco-friendly option for your patio’s furniture.

Honduran Mahogany

Mahogany is another useful type of wood for outdoor projects. Specifically, the Honduran mahogany is easy to use with a machine and other tools involved in the creation of furniture. There’s no odor either, so it’s useful if you prefer to have an odorless object. Honduran mahogany is affordable through imports, and is certain to be unique for your patio! Keep in mind that the rot-resistance of this wood can vary depending on how the tree grew so that it can range from moderate resistance to high resistance.

Honduran Mahogany sands easily, so you can use various types of glues and stains as you see fit when working with this type of wood. Older woods can even exhibit chatoyancy (think of the reflection you might see in a cat’s eye). With several cool factors associated with Honduran mahogany, it’s one of the best import options you should consider for your outdoor furniture!

Incense Cedar

Believe it or not, but the wood most commonly found in pencils can make for some useful applications to your outdoor decor! It’s among the most accessible woods to work with, as you can even handle it by hand if you’re skilled enough (or use machines to make it a breeze). Incense-cedar is stable when used in outdoor objects, albeit with a smell akin to pencils.

Outside of that, incense cedar can be used for blinds, lumber, and tables without fear of splinters. Its rot-resistance isn’t as impressive as other wood classes on this list, but its ease-of-use makes it amazing for newcomers in the wood making. Like other cedar woods, the incense cedar is impressive in its durability and is sure to make useful outdoor furniture for your home!

Lodgepole Pine

Pinewood is notorious for being widely available around, so if you’re unsure about the availability of other woods, the lodgepole pine won’t disappoint you! A wood outdoor bench is easy to make, as is any type of garden bench utilizing lodgepole pine. If you need a table or some kind of surface, lodgepole pine is an excellent material. If you search for “the most affordable best wood for outdoor table construction,” then pine and its subclasses are an excellent option for you.

Should you be looking around for pre-made tables and other outdoor furniture, then you should know that pine furniture is easy to find. Lodgepole pine is also eco-friendly to use, as the species it comes from is concerned one of “least concern” (and a renewable resource that grows relatively fast). If you’re interested in wood furniture & outdoor decor, you can’t go wrong with lodgepole pine, especially for the framework of your household objects.


Cypress is a household name in the wooden furniture scene. Oils within cypress wood naturally repel rot, fungus, and other critters that usually damage wooden materials. It’s among the best types of woods to use for surfaces, including tables and cabinets. Cypress is also water-resistant, so if you live in a humid climate, cypress furniture benefits you more than other standard wood types. Anything involving nails and glue work wonderfully with cypress, mostly due to its outstanding durability and water-resistance.

If you’re looking for energy-efficient woods, cypress ranks among the best in that category. The close rings within a piece of cypress wood coupled with its density make transferring energy from one spot to another more efficient. So if you have a garden bench made out of cypress woods, it should feel better in relation to how hot or cold it is outside. Cypress wood for outdoor furniture is a staple, hence it’s commonly known as one of the best wood for outdoor furniture.

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Acacia Koa

Acacia koa is one of the more expensive options on the list, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not worth it! If you need a type of wood to use in musical instruments, the acacia koa is one of the best options worth considering on the market! The density and structure of acacia koa make it durable, yet hollow enough for the sound to project from one region to another.

Outside of musical instruments, the acacia koa is excellent for highly variable colors. Aesthetics are essential, and the acacia koa is among the most beautiful type of wood around. Keep in mind that its rot-resistance is below average, so additional measures have to be taken to protect furniture made out of acacia koa.


Structure often determines how functional a product can be, and Douglas-Fir does this in spades. It is yet another eco-friendly option given that it’s not at risk of being endangered anytime soon. Aside from that, the Douglas-Fir varies in color depending on the age and where the tree is grown. The Douglas-Fir also has an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio so that you can be more creative in your outdoor furniture usage.

You can even use Douglas-Fir for the door to your patio, as it isn’t just limited to outdoor usage. Windows, door frames, and more can utilize the specific qualities it has to huge benefits. If it looks fantastic and works excellently, the Douglas-Fir certainly has a case for being considered among the best with other woods like Black Locust and White Oak.

Why Should You Select Wood Above Other Materials?

In the modern era, there are many types of furniture you could use for your patio. Contemporary materials such as plastic, steel, or fiberglass furniture can work well, but it lacks the simplicity wood has. See, wooden furniture could invoke feelings of nostalgia better than the previously mentioned materials. You can also use wood combined with the aforementioned fabrics to invoke emotions that tie the past and the future together.

A Fast Growing Renewable Resource for Building

Some trees grow faster than others, but a tree is more energy-efficient to use for building furniture. Trees are natural (have been around for thousands upon thousands of years) and help remove CO2 from the atmosphere. As a result, good wooden types are eco-friendly and are preferable to other types such as plastic if you wish to be a part of the green revolution. A lower carbon footprint goes a long way in protecting the planet.


Between different levels of rot-resistance and stability, wood, in general, is an amazing building material for reliability. The best wood for outdoor furniture may differ depending on several factors such as the climate you live in, the type of ground you live on, etc., but the fact remains that the wood you choose can last you several years of excellent service.

Wood Species Diversity

With hundreds of species to choose from, you can make your outdoor decor unique effortlessly! If aesthetics is your primary concern, several classes of wood have subclasses within it, so something like cedar could have dozens of options available near you. Outside of aesthetics, each species has its advantages and disadvantages, so you can more closely personalize your home considering its best and worst traits.

Protecting Your Outdoor Furniture

Even if it’s made out of the best wood around, it can still be susceptible to decay (like all things in life). It would be best if you still aspired to maintain it through some easy ways, such as:

  • Regular Cleaning
  • Provide Shading if You Can
  • Cover it When it’s Not Being Used (Or Use Furniture Sunscreen)
  • Move it to a More-Protected Area During More Extreme Weathers

If you see rust or other problematic conditions, some sprays may be able to treat it. Outdoor furniture, like most objects, should be checked on now and then. Not only that, but an inspection of the ground around the wooden furniture could prove to be beneficial to long-term use. Outdoor furniture is one of the first things a visitor may see, so it’s best to keep it presentable.

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Weatherproofing your outdoor furniture should be one of your top priorities (unless you plan to buy the objects or build them again). If you live in a region where rainfall is plentiful, you need something to hang over your outdoor furniture. Likewise, the shade provided could help if it gets hot regularly where you live. Rehydrating wood with essential oils can keep it fresh for the wintertime as well!


Seal your wooden furniture when you can to prolong its longevity. It’s especially critical for protecting the paint and other coats applied to your objects, so don’t take it lightly! You can use something like Tung oil to create a protective finish around your woods, then seal it with polyurethane or varnish. Afterward, apply a stain-sealant combo to finish it.


After everything else is done, there may come a time where you need to store your outdoor furniture. Storing it in a safe location can prolong your furniture and decor’s uses, especially when the weather is unpredictable. You have to go somewhere else for extended periods. If you’re on vacation, you cannot protect your property from pests, thieves, or whatever else can threaten your patio’s quality. Storing it somewhere safe is the best solution!

If your wooden bench or table has been in storage for too long, you can always sell it or give it away. As long as the quality is still usable, there’s no need to throw it away (especially if one of the primary reasons you got wood furniture was for the eco-friendly aspects). Should you not have a tool shed or garage available, you can always use public storage to hold your belongings.

Closing Remarks

Wooden furniture is a fantastic addition to any patio or backyard. Whether you’re going for Cypress, Black Locust, or any other wood, your outdoor living space is sure to look natural and lively. Don’t forget how eco-friendly it is to use compared to other materials such as plastic. Before it becomes harvested, trees have to grow, hence reducing CO2 from the atmosphere. Reducing CO2 is critical, as it plays a monumental role in the oxygen cycle, which in turn sustains human life. Although cutting trees down is seen as environmentally evil, if done responsibly (hence new trees planted immediately after), it can be positive for the environment.

Wooden furniture and decor look great as well! Woods are among the most durable materials to use so that a table can hold quite a lot of weight! Likewise, a bench can keep multiple people comfortably. No matter how you look, there’s a reason why lumber has been used for thousands of years to build objects! Your outdoor living spaces are special, so treat it right.

Woods are usually rot-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about fungi or pests bothering your furniture often. Combined with proper maintenance, your outdoor furniture is bound to last a long time, even a lifetime! Aside from durability and rot resistance, you can always consider the color and appearance of the woods you’re using. Aesthetics play a significant role in having a remarkable outdoor living space, so don’t forget that woods can help you significantly!

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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Itamar Ben Dor
Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.