curating a colorado-friendly outdoor living space

get the word on elegant outdoor furnishings

Summer is in full swing here on the Front Range. Wildflowers are sending cascades of color from the plains to the Foothills while city parks come alive with sunbathing picnic-goers and intramural sport leagues.

As communities begin to reintegrate into socialized living, residents are looking to their own personal outdoor oases for a sun-soaked entertainment venue. Whether you are imagining a vibrant atmosphere brimming with vignettes for cozy conversation or a shaded escape for solitary leisure, Coloradans have special considerations to account for when choosing elegant outdoor furnishings.

// qualities //

In Colorado, durability is everything. As seasoned residents know, all four seasons can be experienced in the span of a single day — leaving room for only the hardiest landscapes and outdoor furnishings.

Plastic patio chairs are not just relics of a bygone era; these lightweight pieces are among the first casualties in a Front Range wind storm. If left to the elements during winter, plastic furnishings become brittle and unsafe for use after just a year. When shopping for outdoor furnishings, opt for a heavier set that takes another person to move and can withstand Colorado’s seasonal shifts.

Soft, cushioned seats provide a more comfortable setting for outdoor gatherings, but not all readily available cushions are suitable for tackling Denver’s hot and dry climate. While some residents simply replace their outdoor cushions year after year, it’s a better environmental choice to pick higher-quality fabric — such as Sunbrella fabric — and washable covers that can be cleaned with ease.

// materials //

The framing material of outdoor furniture sets is perhaps the most important characteristic to maintain durability for years to come. While cushions can be replaced, investing in high-quality materials — and ensure their proper care — guarantees use throughout the season.

Although a gorgeous, wrought iron bistro set imbues a romantic atmosphere in an outdoor setting (think: tea party in an English garden), rust will begin to form if these types of outdoor furnishings are exposed to moisture — not exactly the most amorous look. Given its durability and heft, wrought iron is a top choice for wind-prone areas; just make sure to cover and refinish the set as needed.

While teak patio sets have a distinct look that blends perfectly with the rugged Colorado landscape, this lighter-weight material should be kept in an area where the wind cannot pick it up and send it over to the neighboring yard. The ever-popular wicker style of outdoor furniture is making a comeback — this time, with more weather-resistant and wood-free materials; no more succumbing to splinters and jagged edges at every cookout.

Sleek, mid-century modern enameled furnishings offer a wider range of colors and silhouettes for a bright pop of charisma in the backyard. This heavier material is perfect for its durability but still needs the occasional touchup to avoid peeling and rust.

// shapes //

Have you ever purchased a dining room table with a gorgeous finish and timeless silhouette, only to find that it did not “fit in” with your dining space? Factors such as scale, shape and visual weight are all considered when crafting a functional living area. The same care that goes into curating an interior space should be extended outwards onto the patio and backyard.

Instead of opting for a one-size-fits-all approach to outdoor furniture, create a layout based on the function of the space. A covered concrete patio with kitchen access may better serve as an outdoor dining area rather than a space for a freestanding hammock. That high-top bistro set makes less sense around a fire pit than a modular wicker sectional, where guests and residents can gather beneath a blanket of stars.

The impeccable draw of Colorado’s climate beckons indoor-outdoor living. Visit the milehimodern Instagram page for more backyard living inspiration and perhaps find an outdoor haven of your own.