One of the best things about living in Arizona is getting to enjoy the outdoors. Unlike living in Chicago or New York, Arizonans don’t have to winterize their patio every year, but the unique climate in the southwest can be better suited for certain outdoor furniture materials. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your outdoor living space.

Don’t Forget the Heat

If you’re from the southwest you might be asking yourself, “How could I forget the heat?!” but for any recent transplants or snowbirds, this might be easy to overlook. A wrought iron patio set may be a beautiful and sturdy option, but in a desert summer you might as well sit on a barbecue grill. On the other hand, teak and wicker furniture will absorb much less heat and are relatively simple to clean and maintain.

Look for Fade Resistant Products

In general, lower quality furniture and fabrics will be more susceptible to fading and other breakdown. While there are really no fade-proof options available, trusted modern fabrics like those from Sunbrella are well made and resistant to fading in the desert sun.  When exposed to enough sun, almost all furniture will fade in some way, so look for UV-resistant finishes to slow down the fading process. If you are refinishing or plan to paint your furniture, find a paint with UV filters to reduce fading.

Run for Cover!

Shade is extremely important for outdoor living in the southwest, and there are a ton of options available to fit every space. Umbrellas might seem pretty straight forward, but there are a few things to look for to ensure you get what you need. For example, fiberglass construction will withstand wind much better than lightweight aluminum, and not all fabrics will have the same UV protection rating. If you are choosing a table umbrella, be sure it is large enough to cover the table plus about 2 feet on each side, or if you prefer a stand-alone umbrella, consider a tilted one to provide sufficient shade as the sun moves.

Alternative sources of shade such as retractable or fixed awnings, canopies, and shade sails can also be great ways to block the sun and keep your outdoor space comfortable.

Cozy Up at Night

If you’re new to desert living, you may not know that average lows can reach to the mid 40’s in the winter, which is perfect weather for cozying up to an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Fireplaces can be more expensive and permanent, but a well-built outdoor fireplace can last a lifetime and be a beautiful focal point of any outdoor living space. If you are looking for a more portable option, stone and metal fire pits are an excellent way to enjoy a warm fire, but provide the flexibility of being mobile in the event that you want to rearrange your outdoor space.

The main thing to remember is to look for quality, well-constructed furniture, and choose items that will enhance your outdoor living experience. To learn more and view hundreds of patio furniture options, visit

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