In this article, James selects the current most popular material combinations used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture, goes through all the pros and cons and shows off some stylish contemporary examples of each.

Different materials are suitable for creating different styles. The differing properties of materials also means some perform better than others in varying situations. It’s worth taking a little time to understand what’s the best possible material or combination of materials – not only for design looks but also for such considerations as durability and mobility.

Take for example….


100% Aluminium

The popularity of aluminium in outdoor furniture exploded during the 1980’s when its price, which was initially more expensive than both gold and platinum, dropped by 90% once sodium was introduced to the manufacturing process.

Aluminium is a remarkable material. Not only is it incredibly strong, but it is extremely lightweight, very resistant to corrosion, requires minimal care and is produced in a wide range of styles, colours and textures.

Available for garden furniture in tubular aluminium or cast aluminium, it is a totally modern material and represents excellent value.

The Big Boy suite is an example of an almost care free modern setting that’s the perfect partner for outdoor entertaining. The aluminium design is finished with a bright white powder coating, which gives a crisp, clean, summery look that will endure for a very long time.

Match the Big Boy suite with our Alpha lounge or an Aivory corner suite to complete your outdoor space.


Things to know when buying solid aluminium outdoor furniture:


  • Aluminium furniture can be cleaned with soapy water.
  • Aluminium furniture can be quite light, which is a disadvantage in windy locations. If you want to leave your aluminium suite outdoors, choose heavier versions of these products and a more sheltered location. Alternatively, you can store your furniture when it’s not in use.
  • Consider adding some seat cushions for extra comfort.


For something else like the Big Boy suite see our extensive Matzo range.  If you’d like something special to relax in by the pool check out the Bite Sunlounge. Could you pass my drink please Kimberly…?

Check out KJ’s current full range of aluminium outdoor furniture.

Now for something more classic timber…


100% Timber

Hardwood timber is the quintessential Australian outdoor timber material. It’s classy, solid, durable and often has an expensive feel about it.

You can’t go wrong with the earthy brown tones of redgum – such as the solid 11-piece Dallas outdoor dining suite – or the lovely Esprit lounge suite that features a keruing timber frame.

If prefer a lighter shade timber some of the modern teak finishes would work nicely in your outdoor or alfresco area. Some contemporary examples of teak include the stunning whitewash finish of the Aura outdoor 9-piece setting or the lovely smokey shades of the KVS Mozaik table.


Things to consider when buying solid timber outdoor furniture:


  • While timber is a very hardy material check the thickness of table slats to make sure they are going to be stable over the long term.
  • Outdoor timber furniture does require maintenance and that generally means the application of a good oil, which you can buy at a KJ or any hardware store. If your furniture is in full sun oil a couple of times a year. If in alfresco space an annual coat should be sufficient.
  • Make sure you buy outdoor timber furniture that is naturally resistant to fungus and termites. Kimberly James stocks only outdoor furniture that has this natural resistance.
  • Timber furniture can be quite heavy, which is an advantage in windy locations, such as a balcony.
  • Add some seat cushions if you plan to stay outside for long sessions.


Check out KJ’s current full range of timber outdoor furniture.


Wicker Outdoor

KJ recommends only synthetic wicker chairs and not natural fibres when it comes to outdoor furniture.   This versatile material is suited to a wide variety of styles and designs, which means it can look good around both modern and traditional homes.

Like aluminium, wicker products are light and easy to move around, easy to wash down and clean, plus they’re super comfortable because they can mould to many shapes and styles. Quality synthetic wicker is UV resistant but normally used in alfresco situations outdoor. All this makes wicker great for outdoor use. Psst…many wicker chair designs are also suited for indoor dining settings as well.


Things to consider when buying outdoor wicker chairs:


  • While usually not as light as aluminium, consider how your chairs will fare in windy weather if you want to leave then more exposed to the elements.
  • Most wicker chairs come with matching cushions. The most common fabric for outdoor cushions is olefin fabrics which is a synthetic fabric ideal for outdoor use

Olefin is great because it

  • repels moisture and dries quickly
  • Resists fading, mildew, chemicals, and insects
  • Highly stain resistant
  • Colorfast
  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean

In Kimberly James stores, we match wicker chairs with tables to create stunning settings.

See our current range of outdoor settings that feature wicker chairs.



Now for something that’s right on trend and a little heavier…

Concrete is great in outdoor space if you want a material that’s extremely durable and requires very little, if any maintenance. You can leave it exposed to the weather and know it will still be there and looking good over the long haul.

These days most outdoor concrete products are glass reinforced concrete (GRC), which indicates fibreglass has been added for added tensile (as opposed to compressive) strength. That means it has less chance of cracking if it takes a heavy knock.


Things to consider when buying outdoor concrete furniture:


  • Concrete is low maintenance, but some settings will benefit with a sealer coat to stop staining. Most products are manufactured with a protective finish but check with your KJ sales consultant.
  • Many concrete sets have a bench option, which is great for families or regular entertainers.
  • KJ supplies concrete repair kits if your concrete furniture sustains any minor damage over the years.
  • Concrete settings can be very heavy. Ask your Kimberly James delivery and set-up team to place your furniture in a spot you know will work – unless you know you can manage to move the suite yourself.
  • Lift the appearance of your concrete setting with some colourful outdoor chairs or wicker chairs with cushions. KJ’s in-store team can help you with ideas.


See our current range of concrete outdoor furniture.

View our Scandinavian concrete outdoor setting.


Full Fabric

This year Kimberly James’ outdoor furniture range features some lovely yet incredibly practical full fabric settings.

Two stunning examples include the June Modular outdoor sofa and the June and Aivory modular outdoor sofas – both by Divano©. Both products are of European design and upholstered with Sunbrella© fabric and quick dry foam.

This suitable upholstery is designed for year-round outdoor use. It’s UV, water, stain, fungus and mould resistant. While it’s not designed to be waterproof, it allows the water to flow through as quickly as possible and for maximum air circulation inside the lounge. This makes it possible for the furniture to be completely dry after 30 minutes.

Powder coated aluminium frames add to the modern design and ensure all sofa modules can be moved easily, as required.


Combinations of Outdoor Materials


At KJ we love to mix and match. Here are our favourite combinations of outdoor materials to create some really cool looks:


Timber & Aluminium


Matzo with Mikado chairs



Wicker & Aluminium



Aluminium & Glass



Timber & Wicker






Free delivery and assembly on all Kimberly James Outdoor Furniture. Hurry, offer ends 7th November 2017.


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