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Despite years of deliberation, it's official. We've bid farewell to our outdoor teak furniture. As we previously discussed, we absolutely loved the look of the natural wood but the maintenance just became too much to keep up with. Well, too much to keep up with if I'd like a new master bathroom before 2020.

I scoured store after store, both online and in person, and had narrowed it down to two sets -- this one from Ballard Design...

...or this slightly better priced alternative from Macys.

It's funny how things tend to have a way of working out, even if the route to the finish line is filled with discouraging events. Case in point, the evening I finally decided to pull the trigger and purchase the Macy's set, even though I wasn't crazy about the "blue only" option for the seat cushions, I discovered the price had dramatically increased by 50 percent in the 5 hours since I has last checked the set earlier in the afternoon. Yes, you read that correctly. 

I, as any sane online shopper would, had a complete meltdown. I nearly threw my laptop across the room while declaring I was giving up on my quest for outdoor furniture. As Alex sat in the opposite chair, I could see his left eye beging to twitch thinking he had somehow gained permission to abandon existing projects and start working on building our new outdoor furniture. I spent the rest of the night cranky and fuming and had completely given up hope for the 2014 summer season (because I know Alex didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of finishing the furniture set anytime before Christmas...of 2026).

Well, as it turns out, my hiatus on furniture searching lasted only a few hours to the very next day when I read another blog's post about outdoor furniture sourcing. I checked out a few new options they had listed when I discovered I had never visited this site before, and was impressed at both their selection and prices, and they had an option that was roughly 1/3 the cost of the Ballard set, all chairs were armchairs, and it came with back and seat cushions in a neutral color. The outdoor furniture trifecta, if you will.

Another bonus is that the chairs stack, which will make for easy off season storage in our basement. The bonuses kept adding up as shipping was free, and it would be here in under two weeks. I placed the order, held my breath, and nervously waited for it to arrive.

Last week a giant freight truck pulled up out front. Two lovely men unloaded my goods and were even nice enough to bring them around to our back yard. 

While I felt like a kid on Christmas morning just dying to tear open the wrapping, I soon became paralyzed by fear. What if I'd made a huge mistake? Where were we going to put the new furniture, given that the existing set still resided in our small courtyard? Oh, and there's the small detail that the Washington Post was coming the next day to interview me and photograph the house for an upcoming piece in their real estate section. (I'm not trying to be coy here. Keep your eyes peeled for the piece in a few weeks.) It was a perfect storm of crazy and I was at the eye wall of the hurricane.

Ultimately, much to Alex's astonishment, I left the boxes untouched, neatly stowed in our yard so we could easily relocate them out of the view of any photographs. It also gave me time to I focus my attention on my next endeavor -- dipping my toe into the sea that is Craig's List.

How was the CL experience, you may wonder? Not as difficult or as terrifying as I thought. I have plenty of experience with eBay, but CL is a whole new ball of wax, what with the real live people meeting you in the flesh. However, we had a good set of furniture that just needed a little bit of work and the right owner. The guy who purchased the set was really nice, not a serial killer, and showed up when he said he was going to. With the cash we netted from the sale of the furniture, we offset the new purchase by more than 35%. We were thrilled, and also happy to send the set to its new home where he talked about his woodworking hobby and plans to bring the set back to life. That alone left us feeling warm and fuzzy.

We're nothing if not sentimental though, so the last morning with the teak set we had a final sendoff. Our last meal was an al fresco breakfast complete with eggs, pancakes and fruit smoothies.

Our yard felt barren and empty without it, but we tried not to dwell on the sale of our tried and true friend, instead focusing our attention on the future.

We quickly set our attention on the looming cardboard boxes in the yard and began breaking out our latest home purchase.

Set up was easy (just minor assembly of the table legs with four bolts in each leg) and there were minimal parts to deal with. 

Each piece was packaged with care, and took some time to unwrap. Each arm and let was wrapped in padding, paper, and/or bubble wrap. 

An added bonus was the box doubled as a fun playhouse for these two goofballs.

The quality of the set is what we were expecting. There are unfortunately a few minor dings in the top of the table but I'm trying to look past those. I really like the color of the set, which is sort of a sprayed grayish brown that blends seamlessly with the exterior color of our house. The best part? The new cushions feel luxurious compared to the old IKEA "temporary" cushions we lived with for the last eight or so years.

It's going to take some getting used to, that's for sure. The new table is much larger and we'll need to tackle how to shim up a leg or two to level it on our wonky patio bricks. It will be great for entertaining, and now I can measure and turn my attention to the new, larger umbrella that will be our next purchase. And as you can see from the evidence of last night's big storm, having a set that allows for a quick wipe down to clean up yard debris and dirt is really going to come in handy.

While we both agree that it doesn't match up in looks to our teak set, we're relieved to know we have one fewer maintenance project on our list and that we can more comfortably entertain in our outdoor space. We do need to figure out just where we're going to store these new cushions when not in use, and time will tell if it stands up to weather and use, but at this point we're both encouraged.

Thank you to everyone who chimed in with ideas and opinions on out last post about this subject. The comments were very helpful in assisting and reinforcing our decision. And now I can't wait to find a new umbrella, additional lighting, and a few other backyard accessories so we can share a finished outdoor plan with you.

Comments 6


5/29/2014 at 12:05 PM

That set is so much nicer than the Macy's one ... much as I love blue, meh on those cushions. And yes to an easy-to-wipe-down table when you have big trees nearby. Glad everything worked out. Save the cardboard for spray booths! Alt wink


Thanks, Jan! I wasn't crazy about the blue Macy's cushions either, but couldn't stomach the thought of having to replace the brand new cushions. I'm so glad it all worked out, and great idea about reusing the cardboard. Thanks!

5/30/2014 at 10:22 AM

Looks great! Just curious...did the umbrella come with? We are shopping for an umbrella for our small patio set and I don't know how to determine the size we need. I have checked HayNeedle and Overstock, both with some great options, but part of me wants to just go to HomeDepot and grab one and runAlt smile


Hi Jules -- Sadly no, this set didn't come with an umbrella. (It's our old, undersized one in the photo.) In shopping for a new one, I'm looking for one that's roughly the length of the table or am even considering a rectangular one this time around. I like when there's a bit of an overhang, so the umbrella offers more protection to guests from sun and even a light summer rain.

6/3/2014 at 10:56 PM

I'm sad to see the teak furniture go but understand your reasoning. With your very small garden and the table and chairs being a focal point, they have to look good.

Let me ask a question though -- if one can ignore the weathering and crap that might grow on teak, doesn't it last a long time? We have let our beautiful teak bench alone in the way-back of our garden and it seems okay, just quite less-than-pristine in its appearance.

I'm really partial to wood garden furniture but it certainly isn't as durable, or lightweight, as modern metal furniture. We have a mixture of wood and metal and I think that's how it will continue . . . .


Good question. I've seen teak that has lasted ages, and it takes on that beautiful grayish weathered look. We had put a "protective coat" of a product on the furniture that seemed to prevent natural weathering over time, and just hated how it looked flaky and old...and not in a good way.

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