An Able Table: Choosing An Outdoor Dining Table Capable Of Resisting Desert Sun

Home & Garden Blog

It's probably fair to say that Australia has one of the most brutally hot climates on earth, and in the central desert regions of the country, the intensity of the desert sun can be a real obstacle to many outdoor activities. However, it's not just humans that tend to suffer under such intense heat and ultraviolet bombardment -- if made from unsuitable or fragile materials, your garden furniture can start to feel the burn too, including something as simple and robust as an outdoor dining table.

Fortunately, if you do live in one of these desert areas, you aren't doomed to indoor meals for the rest of your life, as there are a number of garden table materials and treatments that can help your table resist the worst of what the sun can throw at it, without cracking, fading or perishing.

Metal tables

It's no coincidence that many commercial interests, such as restaurants and bars, use metal for their outdoor tables and furniture. Strong, durable and resistant to both intense sunlight and inclement weather, a metal dining table can be expected to shrug off the desert sun with ease.

However, choosing exactly which metal to go for can complicate matters. The metals commonly used to make outdoor tables, while all thoroughly resistant to direct sunlight, have other properties that can make them more or less suitable for your needs:

  1. Steel is a popular and inexpensive choice for outdoor tables, and comes in a wide variety of designs and finishes. However, it is not resistant to rust, and can be heavy and difficult to move.
  2. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and lighter than regular steel, but also more expensive. It is also more difficult to colour with powder coatings and other finishes, so you may find yourself with less aesthetic options to choose from.
  3. Wrought iron is incredibly durable and can add some old-world charm to your outdoor table, but it corrodes relatively easily and is even heavier than steel. It is also more expensive, especially when hand-made.
  4. Aluminium is one of the most popular metals for outdoor tables, with its combination of strength, durability, lightness and rust resistance. However, while aluminium doesn't rust, it will oxidise and lose its sheen in direct sunlight; it is also, if anything, too light, and an aluminium table can cause serious damage if allowed to blow around in high winds.

Marine grade polymer tables

Anyone with a little knowledge of plastics can be easily forgiven for discarding the prospect of a plastic outdoor table for desert use, as even the toughest plastics can easily perish, fade and warp under excessive sunlight exposure. However, marine grade polymer is a plastic specifically designed to endure the worst that nature can throw at it, and it is manufactured and treated using ultraviolet-inhibiting compounds that dramatically increase its resistance to sunlight. Marine grade polymer is also a light and versatile material, available in a wide variety of shades and colours, making it ideal for a wide variety of outdoor aesthetic choices.

However, this specialised polymer can be difficult to find unless you go to a dealer specialising in plastic outdoor furniture, and it is significantly more expensive than less robust forms of plastic. It is also, at the end of the day, still plastic, and may not be as visually pleasing as more traditional table materials.

Tropical woods

A simple pine or spruce table is made from cold-weather trees that have little resistance to sunlight, and their lifespans in desert conditions are subsequently rather short. However tropical woods, such as teak, mahogany and ipe, are much more suitable and contain natural oils which dramatically slow the deleterious influence of the sun. Tropical wood is also valued for its natural beauty, which can be accented with stains and surface treatments that also make the wood resistant to the attentions of termites and woodworm.

However, tropical wood is an expensive choice for an outdoor table, especially if you're looking for a larger model. It can also be damaging to your conscience as well as your pocketbook, as many tropical woods are sourced from illegal logging sites that cause extensive environmental damage. To get around both of these issues, try to find a table made from plantation-grown tropical wood -- these woods can be slightly softer and easier to dent but are cheaper and come from a much more sustainable source. 

Visit websites like for more info.


9 September 2016

Decorating and Your Home and Garden

Yo! My name is Lisa and I would like to welcome all you guys to my new blog. I was inspired to start this blog because I am tired of visiting people's homes and seeing the same old furniture and the same old designs in use. I used to have boring designs in my home and garden. However, all that changed when my friend Simon came to visit. Simon is a designer and property developer so he has a real eye for bringing out the best in any space. He gave me some top tips and helped me to transform my home and garden.