Sustainable outdoor furniture: The best eco-friendly options
When choosing outdoor furniture, there are lots of things to think about. What kind of space do you have – is it a balcony or a garden? And what kind of furniture do you want – are you going for a dining set, or a more relaxed sofa vibe? Of course, you can also look for secondhand furniture, made easier by sites like Rumage. If you can't find what you're looking for secondhand, there are ways you can source your garden futniture sustainably.
As many of us are making more sustainable choices, how can you also make sure your furniture is as eco-friendly as possible?
How to choose sustainable outdoor furniture
There are a few things to consider here. The first is the material: how much energy it took to make and ship to you, and what will happen to it at the end of its life. If you’re choosing wood, make sure it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Also consider how durable the material is: you don’t want to be replacing your set every year! Hardwoods, metals, and plastic-rattan are all commonly used to make garden furniture, so there are lots of options.
It’s also worth thinking about the maintenance required to prolong the life of your garden set, and how realistic that is for you. Some sets require regular treating, oiling, or storing indoors over winter, so consider if you have the time and space to make that happen.
There is a lot to think about, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite brands offering sustainable outdoor furniture – read on!
The best sustainable outdoor furniture brands on the market
This Cornish family-run business offer stylish, long-lasting garden furniture made from materials including reclaimed elm, pine, and teak. The company also ensure that new teak imported from Indonesia is certified by FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade; an initiative promoting sustainable forest management).
Sustainable Furniture have won a handful of awards for ethical business, and we particularly like their line of coffee tables made from tree roots, reclaimed from previously illegally logged ground in order that it can be replanted.
Their teak garden bench costs a cool £185.
Made Trade are a climate neutral-certified US company that sell beautiful, small-batch home and garden goods – and we love their transparency. Each piece of furniture includes information about where the wood was grown and how the product was made.
For example, their ‘chaise lounge’ uses wood grown on deforested cow pastures and was handmade in Nicaragua by the local brand Masaya & Co., which plants 100 trees for every product sold.
Made Trade’s Apanas slatted top outdoor bench will cost you £634.
Originally founded as a sustainable supplier of decking and landscaping materials, this UK company have morphed into a hub for everything you need for your outdoor space.
Their line of recycled and recyclable plastic ‘rattan’ furniture has all the attractiveness of natural wicker but is much more hard-wearing, as evidenced by EnviroBuild’s warranties of up to 12 years. With dining sets, modular sofas, and sun-loungers to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
EnviroBuild’s Windsor bench, made from manticore lumber (that’s recycled plastic to you and I) comes in at £290.
Emeco began in 1944, salvaging aluminium to make chairs for the US Navy. Decades later, they’re still going, rescuing abandoned materials and repurposing them into stylish furniture with a lifetime warranty.
With around 90% of their product range made from recycled materials including plastic and cork, Emeco offer a range of brightly-coloured modern designs.
Emeco are on the pricier end of the spectrum, with a wooden bench setting you back £1360.
This British business offer the chance to create bespoke products without the price tag. Using FSC-certified UK forests to minimise their carbon footprint, the Ironfire team create long-lasting benches and tables in more than 200 colours and finishes, so there’s sure to be something to please everyone.
Ironfire finish their products with water-based coatings and sell table covers to protect their furniture from the elements.
Their garden bench will set you back £344.
VivaTerra, which means ‘living earth’, was founded in California on the principles of nature and craftsmanship, with the company focusing on what they call the ‘who, what, where and how’ of all their products.
Made from natural materials, VivaTerra’s outdoor furniture range includes fire pits, trellis benches, and creative designs such as their ‘puzzle stool’, a barrel-like stool crafted from reclaimed teak in a block weave pattern.
VivaTerra’s modular eucalyptus bench costs £192.
Even better than buying sustainable new products is using what’s already around. Scaramanga offer a collection of vintage and upcycled garden furniture, from shabby-chic folding chairs to metal Kadai fire pits, to give your garden that unique touch.
The furniture is bought and restored in India, and Scaramanga openly share the process of travelling on a buying trip and organising the restoration.
Scaramanga’s stock varies due to their one-of-a-kind products, but at the time of writing, a vintage iron and teak bench is online for £325.
Looking to create that homey feeling with sustainable furniture and homewares? We’d like to help! Just download our browser extension which offers sustainable alternatives to products you’re searching for online, taking the work out of buying better.