Top 5 Reasons to Cover

Covers are SMART,

So much
More than a tarp,
Aesthetically-pleasing,
Ready-to-protect,
Textile-time-saver (long run)

Covers Protect

This week, we’re throwing down some reasons for you to be as excited about covers as we are, our top 5 reasons to cover your outdoor products. Next week, we’ll be releasing a longer post that goes into more depth about the reasons to cover, as well as some graphics to help you find the perfect size cover for your products.

Top 5 Reasons to Cover Your Gear

previous arrow
next arrow
Cleaning Speed - Overall, covers help limit the exposure your gear has to the more annoying elements, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time making memories you want to hold on to.
Slider

But covers take time to put on…

One of the biggest downsides to covering is having to put the covers on. Covers are not as hard as you would think to put on, although the process can be time consuming. While we recommend a slow and steady pace for putting on covers as well as using the buddy system for larger covers, we’ve developed some techniques to speed up product photoshoots here.

 

Note that while you putting on the cover takes 45 seconds to 30 minutes (RVs and Boats are trickier),  it only takes a few minutes to take it off when you actually want to use your vehicle, grill or golf cart and you don’t have to spend an additional 30-120 minutes cleaning/drying said item.
Also, we may be biased but we think that a covered yard looks great!
Check out all of our covers and keep your outdoor gear covered with a SMART cover.
Top 5 Reasons to Cover

Revel in Ravenna

We are loving the weather we’ve been experiencing this week. It’s a welcome relief, both in that we’ve gotten a dip in temperatures, putting us closer to our normal for this time of year, and that the wind is currently blowing in such a way that we are (for now) largely free of smoke from the fires around us. We’re hopeful that our neighbors in the Cascades, Northeast Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, and California get relief soon from the actual blaze soon.

If you are able, we still think it’s a great time to get out and enjoy some of the summer sunshine. Late summer and early fall means it’s time for school, sports, and weekend adventures. Your patio will soon be seeing a different crowd of people. Friends and family will visit for Labor Day, friends from school and their families will join you for dinner or after game gatherings, and your family may find themselves truly looking forward to their evenings in the backyard as time spent together away from work and school.

There’s still time to make a change to your patio to carry you into an autumn of relaxation and lounging. To help celebrate the end of the season and continue our celebration of the introduction of cushions to our Ravenna Collection, we’re having a sale on all Cushions, Umbrellas, Hammocks, and Frameless Furniture. Save 20%* through the end of September on items in those categories using the discount code: OL2018 at checkout on our website. We think that both Montlake and Ravenna offer a great selection of colors. The Henna fabrics of Montlake ensure a pop of color with subtle complexity offset by the solid Antique Beige and Light Charcoal color ways, while the neutrals in Ravenna cushions add an especially warm and inviting ambiance to any yard that you can enliven with Spice, Mallard Green or Empire Blue.

The Montlake FadeSafe Collection has products in each of the sale’s categories, while the Ravenna Collection has a selection of cushion sizes.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out these products, which stemmed from our larger cover collections of the same names, we have pages that take a deep dive into the overarching features and feelings behind the collections, look books to inspire your patio.

We’ve shown you the Montlake FadeSafe Collection page before; the Ravenna Collection page is new and features Ravenna Cushions and Covers (as well as some lovely lifestyle images orchestrated and photographed by our in house Creative Solutions team).

You several options to experience the collections:

  • Dive right into the product pages with “Shop the Collection”
  • Learn more about the Covers, Cushions, etc. by clicking those categories  on the Desktop version or “About …”  on the Mobile version.
  • Explore the lifestyle imagery by clicking “Shop the Look”

Both collections are excellent choices, as two of our top patio cover collections (and fabrics). Montlake is more durable and is geared to a modern crowd, while Ravenna nods to a sophisticated style that is more simplistic, yet feature-rich.

We hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend filled with both with fun and relaxation.

 

*Exclusions may apply; subject to change based on availability.

Revel in Ravenna

Classic Volunteers: Riverview Park Cleanup

previous arrow
next arrow
Park Clean Up 1: Before
ArrowArrow
Slider

Before and After images, courtesy of Francine

King County takes pride in its park system, trail system, and natural areas. The amount of land set aside for public use is impressive and appreciated by the residents. In an area where small yards for homes and apartments are normal, having the luxury of easy-to-reach public lands is invaluable.

As members of the local community, we want to help. The last two years, we’ve chosen to volunteer and contribute to the health of local parks through a park clean up event as part of a Green Kent Partnership. Park clean ups are a great way to help maintain these natural areas, keeping them in pristine condition for fun and future use. Clean ups aren’t necessarily about trash, but can also focus on trimming overenthusiastic growth, clearing harmful or invasive plant species from an area, laying down mulch to help fertilize the trees and prevent new undergrowth. It’s a few hours of your time that help keep local parks in top shape for everyone in the community.

Last year we helped clean up Glenn Nelson Park. This year, we decided to go to Riverview Park in Kent, due to its proximity to our new location.

Several of us chose to walk to Riverview Park for the event. Image: Heather

Several of us chose to walk to Riverview Park for the event.

Riverview park is  modest park consisting of a small area of land next to the Green River. Part of the Kent Valley Loop Trail system, this park sits close to the southernmost points of the Eagle and Frog Loops, and is also close to an intersection between the Green River Trail and the Interurban Trail.

 

Wheelbarrows. Image: Amanda

Once at the park, we were given marching orders and shown available supplies–gloves, bags, tarps, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, pitchforks, and clipping tools. Our cleanup was focused on the removal of two invasive plants from a small section of the park.

Hemlock. Image: Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/en/cow-parsley-hemlock-chervil-white-3454559/

The site manager, Francine, ran through important safety information before we began; mostly how we should properly hold and carry the equipment so as to neither cause harm to ourselves nor the equipment. We also learned that there were flags set up to designate both spots for photos chronicling the clean up as well as places to not go beyond due to the presence of hemlock. This was a plant many of us knew by name only, so Francine kindly showed us what the plant looked like so we could better avoid it. I consider this detail important because so few of us were aware of the appearance of a plant that could be dangerous and was just a yards off of a well-trafficked trail.

Bindweed removal. Image: Amanda

We started the session removing both living and dead instances of a creeping vine, field bindweed. This plant twines and creeps across the ground, down, around, over, and through anything it can manage to create an interwoven network of vines and roots that smothers and strangles local vegetation. We quickly became familiar with the white roots with twinges of green and pink. The root system was intricate and very thoroughly integrated with the soil and vegetation of the area. The plant is capable of carpeting the ground. In areas where the bindweed had really taken over, we were advised to roll the weed as you wood a rug, and cut swaths of it out for final removal. The bindweed had to be bagged because of its aggressive nature; it try to establish a new root system almost anywhere it can.

Blackberry vine extraction. Image: Heather

We were reacquainted with a familiar enemy during the cleanup. As with our cleanup last year at Glenn Nelson, we spent a good portion of the cleanup removing invasive blackberry vines. Not to be confused with the native blackberry plant, the trailing blackberry, the Himalayan blackberry was introduced in the 1800s and has proceeded to carpet any area it can as it spreads along the coast.  The idea of abundant fruit-bearing bushes seems grand, but these plants are very invasive and will completely take over areas to create what are, essentially, walls of prickly plant along the roadsides of the Pacific Northwest.  They are also on the list of noxious plants, considered a non-regulated noxious weed in King County, highly invasive and recommended to be removed from areas whenever possible.

Redistributing mulch. Image: Francine

After a quick break, we began part two of the cleanup, adding mulch to the area we had cleared. First, a layer of cardboard was placed on the ground. Then we relocated several piles of mulch onto the cardboard where several people spread it for even coverage. We ended up breaking the work into three main tasks: shoveling mulch into wheelbarrows, wheeling the loads over to its destination, and spreading the mulch. Some people stuck to one task, while others would alternate between tasks as was required by the flow of work or their preference.

previous arrow
next arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider

Action shots. Images: Amanda, Francine and Heather

In the end, we left the park a bit cleaner, clearer, and far healthier looking than when we arrived. It was not only a great way to get out of the office for a bit, but a good exercise in teamwork, forestry, and community as well. We were especially thankful that the weather let up enough for us to be able to participate. It was one of the first days we’d had in over a week were the smoke/haze let up enough to allow for safe outdoor activity.

Group Photo. Image: Francine

A big thank you to everyone who participated and those who wanted to but were unable to attend. We’re looking forward to our next community volunteering event!

Classic Volunteers: Riverview Park Cleanup

Get Away From the Crowd

Get on the water and away from the crowds on your next trip. Our Classic Accessories Pontoon Boat is the best way to get to where the fish are and away from crowded river and lake banks. The perfect day for fishing is also the perfect day for fishing for other anglers in your area.

Our 9-foot pontoon includes a removable transport wheel, providing you a convenient, practical way to get you into the water faster. Featuring 6 mesh, and 6 zippered pockets, this boat has room for all your gear. With oars and a padded swivel seat, this boat includes everything you need to get out to the lake in comfort.

Still Water Fishing for trout in lakes requires different tactics. A pontoon boat allows an angler to cover a lot more water than waders. Trout may congregate in cooler water near an in-flowing stream or an underwater spring and may be lured to bite on a streamer fly. An often successful tactic is to pull a streamer such as a woolly bugger using clear sinking line, behind the watercraft. The somewhat erratic motion of the oars or fins tends to give the streamer an enticing action. Trout also tend to “cruise” transitional areas (e.g. dropoffs, weed bed edges, subsurface river flow at inlets, etc.) Watching for cruising trout and casting well ahead of any visible fish is often successful.



Matt Bohanan, our E-Commerce Sales Manager, says that one of his favorite parts of fly fishing on our pontoon boats is, “Nothing like the feeling of walking on water early in the morning – just us and the fishes!” Easy to transport two boats (even with just a small car), put together, and be on the water in less than 20-minutes. Can nimbly help you get into the hard to reach fishing spots that other boats struggle to go. There always seems to be a couple jealous fisherman wanting to check out my boats in envy every time we go out.” Hands down, his favorite time is sharing this sporting tradition with his son Chase.

That’s just it. Here at Classic Accessories, we get the privilege to be a part of memories being made. Traditions passed on from one generation to the next. Time spent. It’s as simple and as meaningful as that.

Grab the Classic Accessories Pontoon Boat today and get on the water!

Tight Lines Friends.

Get Away From the Crowd

Ravenna Cushions

It’s been quite a busy and hot week; we’re ready to welcome the weekend. Overdue for some quiet relaxation and anticipating long nights enjoying the cool off that comes with sunset? Make sure your patio is ready for some sitting time.

Last week we reviewed and ranked patio furniture materials, and brought up Ravenna Cushions as a solid option for taking any patio furniture material to the next level of comfort, with recommendations for cushion color by material.

Ravenna Cushions make use of the color palette you see on the Ravenna Covers, with the addition of several new, more diverse hues that coordinate with the existing neutral tones in the fabric and webbing of the collection (Dark Taupe, Mushroom, Espresso). Overall Ravenna has a rich, yet reserved color scheme of warm and inviting hues. It works well with colors naturally in your yard as well as the tones you typically find in patio furniture.

 

previous arrow
next arrow
Ravenna Cushions - Dark Taupe
ArrowArrow
Slider

 

Hands down, we think the best feature is the waterfall construction. That, in combination with the fabric’s water resistance, makes sure that Ravenna cushions are ready for quick cleanups after some of life’s small spills. Check out our Product Manager’s quick clean demo:

Ravenna also has click-close straps for easy adjustment and to keep the cushion in place and uses the Classic Accessories foam for added cushion comfort. To see the cushions in action check out the full video below or shop the cushions now.

 

 

 

 

 

Ravenna Cushions

All About Patio Furniture

It’s August, and while it may seem like summer is winding down, it’s really just getting started. There is still plenty of time left for patio lounging and cookouts, making it the perfect time to take a look at your patio and make some choices regarding your style and furniture. We’re doing a deep dive into everything you need to know about patio furniture materials and tips on what you can do to protect your patio furniture, Classic Accessories’ guide to “all-things patio furniture,” if you will.

Know The Material

In the patio furniture world, seven main types of material exist for your patio furniture, each one differing from the others in aesthetics, movability, durability, ease of maintenance, and comfort, as well as what climates/regions they’re best suited for:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Resin Wicker
  • Wood
  • Wrought Iron
  • PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
  • Plastic

Note: Mosaic is sometimes included in common patio furniture materials lists. It is not a material, but rather a construction pattern. Mosaic surfaces are common on tables and chairs, and often combine elements of other materials in its creation. If you are interested in mosaic patio furniture you can check out Patio, Home, and Garden’s product page for mosaic furniture.

For this post we decided to use a scoring system for each one of the factors listed above to give each material a total score. At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to decide what material you like best, but keep in mind the climate of where you live, as some materials are better suited for some climates than others.

Grilling Climates

 

Aluminum

Image by Didricks, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/17347384434


Aesthetics

Aluminum patio furniture comes in a variety of styles and can be as basic or as elegant as you would like. With aluminum patio furniture, you have the option of selecting from three different builds: tubular, cast, or wrought. Tubular aluminum furniture is made from hollow pieces of aluminum bent into shape, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Wrought and cast aluminum differ in their construction processes, as wrought material is welded by hand, whereas cast material is made from a cast without manual welding or handling.

Cast aluminum furniture is growing in popularity, according to this HGTV article, due to its contemporary style. Unlike cast iron patio furniture, which traditionally has more classic and elegant aesthetics, cast aluminum furniture can take on any style you desire. You can also purchase aluminum furniture in in a variety color schemes, whereas wrought iron and wood, for instance, generally do not have this option. Check out these products for great cast aluminum outdoor furniture.

Score: 18/20


Movability

The second major selling point for cast aluminum furniture, or really any aluminum outdoor furniture, is its movability. Aluminum is both lightweight and strong. Thus, it can easily be rearranged and fit into small spaces, as opposed to its bulky cast iron and steel counterparts. Full sets including tables are also easy to rearrange to your liking. Here are some great sets of cast aluminum patio furniture.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is another fantastic feature of aluminum patio furniture. Since aluminum naturally does not rust, it is perfect for hot and humid regions and climates. Aluminum can corrode. Corrosion is a form of oxidation similar to rusting that leaves a light coating on the aluminum that protects the material from future corrosion, according to theruststore.com. To limit corrosion, though, as it fades the material’s color over time, most aluminum patio furniture comes with a powder coating that adds extra protection.

One downside to aluminum patio furniture is that it less likely to be durable enough to withstand heavy winds, especially because of its light weight, making aluminum patio furniture not the best selection for very windy environments or regions.

Score: 18/20


Maintenance

Aluminum patio furniture maintenance is quick, easy, and less frequent (compared to other types of patio furniture). The Home Depot recommends using car wax or mineral oil on the surface for added protection, as well as regularly cleaning with mild soap and water. When your aluminum patio furniture has corroded, though, here’s an article for caring for the furniture, as well as a more patio-specific article.

Score: 18/20


Comfort

Tubular aluminum patio furniture will most likely not need cushions for comfort and extra support, as they are already built to be comfortable and ready to use. Some cast aluminum sets have built-in mesh seating, like these options. Other sets of aluminum patio furniture, like these Crosley sets, will need cushions (which can add a fun, creative element to your patio furnishing process).

For this type of furniture, our Mushroom or Spice Ravenna cushions, pictured above, are  great color options.

Score: 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weigh-In: Aluminum

Steel


Aesthetics

Steel has a sleek and modern look, but but less variety in build, style, and color than aluminum. Steel patio furniture works well with residential apartments and more modern spaces (cafes and restaurant patios often use steel furniture). Steel is also widely used as the foundation and/or frame for patio furniture with other materials making up the surface and seats. I give steel then a 16 for aesthetics since it doesn’t have much variety or capacity for build, style, or color on its own, but does look nice when paired with other materials. Here are some examples of steel patio furniture, or furniture using steel as a foundational component.

Score: 16/20


Movability

Movability is a concern when it comes to steel patio furniture. Because steel furniture is built for added strength and reinforcement, transporting it or rearranging it can quickly become a hassle. Fortunately, most steel patio furniture comes assembled, at least according to The Home Depot, so the main hassle is getting it to where it needs to be.

Score: 14.5/20


Durability

Steel’s strong suit comes in the form of durability. While steel is a rustable metal, it often comes with a powder coating similar to aluminum, according to Better Homes & Gardens, which can resist rusting. Steel, given its weight and sturdiness, is great for windy environments, and is especially well-suited for a cold and snowy climate, like the northern United States.

Score: 19/20


Maintenance

Caring for steel patio furniture requires a little bit more time than aluminum patio furniture because of steel’s potential to rust. Some companies, such as Target, confirm their steel patio furniture is rust-resistant, but Lowes suggests applying a protective coat of paste wax or naval jelly if the product is not rust-free or rust-resistant. Also, washing occasionally with water and mild soap is good practice for steel patio furniture.

Score: 16.5/20


Comfort

Steel furniture can be constructed in a way to be comfortable alone. For those pieces that are more aesthetic than functional however, cushions can come in handy. For steel furniture, try Empire Blue Ravenna cushions, shown to the right.

Score: 16/20

The Weigh-In: steel

Resin Wicker


Aesthetics

Wicker furniture has a variety of designs and colors, both in cushions and in the actual material. A trending material, resin wicker has been a popular choice in patio furniture since the 2000’s.

Score: 19.5/20


Movability

While it appears large and cumbersome, resin wicker patio furniture is surprisingly movable because of how lightweight it is, which makes for easy arrangement and/or rearrangement on the patio.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is an aspect of wicker that is often underestimated and misunderstood. There is a difference between natural wicker and synthetic wicker, natural wicker being made from rattan, a reed-like material, and synthetic wicker being made from resin (liquids extracted from plant matter) according to patioproductions.com. The term “wicker” is also a term used in reference to a type of weave and the actual material is rattan or resin.

Natural wicker should not be used as outdoor patio furniture due to its susceptibility to most any weather condition, such as rain, sleet, or snow. Any form of moisture can damage it. However, synthetic wicker, or resin wicker, is the perfect material for all weather conditions. There are several types of synthetic resin wicker: PVC wicker, nylon, polyethylene, and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker. According to Patio Productions, HDPE resin wicker is the most commonly recommended type as it is infused with UV inhibitors and made with a high density compound to protect its surface.

Score: 19.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain your resin wicker furniture, simply dust it occasionally and, if looking to do a deep clean of the wicker, use mild detergent and water. Here’s a helpful article that looks into more cleaning specifics for resin wicker furniture.

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Even though resin wicker furniture is all-weather, it’s still a good idea to invest in a patio furniture cover (something we recommend). While covers really protect rustable steel and iron, covering your patio furniture regardless of furniture material is an investment that will increase the longevity of your furniture and patio greatly. Adding a cover to your resin wicker furniture will keep harsh weather and storms from weathering and doing incremental damage to the material, which is bound to happen–no material is indestructible. Furthermore, our covers provide protection from UV rays to avoid fading and also have built-in vents so condensation on your chairs and tables is ventilated.

Pro-tip: Never leave your cushions out on your furniture while it’s covered, even if your cushions are all-weather. Having cushions underneath your furniture can lead to mildew and mold, even with vents in the cover.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Most popular Resin Wicker styles typically come with cushions of some kind, making them comfortable. Others don’t necessarily come with cushions but make use of the curvature of the furniture form and the natural give in the materials for comfort. If you’re looking to up the comfort on up your resin wicker furniture, we recommend Mallard Green Ravenna cushions, shown below.

Score: 20/20 with cushions

The Weigh-In: Resin Wicker

 

 

Wood


Aesthetics

Wood patio furniture is aesthetically pleasing, particularly teak hardwood. Other types of wood for patio furniture include cedar, cypress, pine, oak, acacia, and eucalyptus. According to Better Homes & Gardens, teak, cedar, and ipe are a few of the strongest, most weather-resistant types. Teak is particularly commended for its beauty, and is one of the most popular patio furniture materials out there.

While wood does not give the owner/buyer as much freedom to personalize their patio furniture without cushions, wood can be painted and stained, which gives some room for custom flare and refinishing.

Score: 19/20


Movability

Wood patio furniture is a split between aluminum and steel in terms of movability. Some pieces of wood furniture will, of course, be easier to move than others (a chair can be light while a dining table will require at least two people). The material itself, though, is significantly heavier than aluminum or plastic.

Score: 16/20


Durability

Wood furniture, especially teak, is sturdy and durable against most weather. Teak produces a natural oil that prevents water and moisture from seeping into the wood and causing dry rot, a wood-destroying fungus. Here’s an article on how to treat dry rot, if that’s a current problem for your patio furniture.

During the winter months, it’s advised for most wood furniture to be stored indoors to avoid damage. Teak is an exception mainly because of its natural oil that prevents water seepage, but keep in mind that a silvery patina fading will occur on your wooden patio furniture, even teak, if you keep any type of wooden patio furniture outside. Some like this accent on their wood furniture, but if you want to retain the original, honey color, consider using a cover.

UV rays also deal damage to wood patio furniture, causing fading, and humidity is known to cause warping in the wood, which makes one of our covers perfect to help keep UV rays at bay and excess moisture out.

Score: 16/20


Maintenance

As mentioned above, one of the best things you can do if you own or are looking to invest in wood patio furniture is purchase a cover or a cover set. Since teak is one of the few types of wood that you could leave outside year-round (and that is a stretch considering the silvery patina fading that can occur), wood patio furniture should definitely be covered.

Other useful tips to caring for your wood furniture are:

  • Scrub with a brush and mild soap
  • Dust off occasionally
  • Use teak sealer to preserve color and reduce greying

Score: 16/20


Comfort

Wood patio furniture alone can be less than comfortable given its solid nature and rigidity, but can be improved with the addition of cushions. Cushions can be a way to add a personal touch to the great, rustic look of your wood furniture on your patio.

We recommend a soft accent of color for your cushion assortment on wood furniture. Check out the Mushroom color way in the Ravenna cushion collection for your wood patio furniture.

 

Score: 18/20

The Weigh-In: Wood

 

 

Wrought Iron


Aesthetics

Wrought iron is probably one of the best patio furniture selections for a classic aesthetic look, since it can come in a wide variety of designs and has historically been a very elegant and beautiful choice for an outdoor patio and/or garden. Wrought iron patio furniture is normally seen in bistro sets, benches, chairs, and tables. One setback to the aesthetic appeal of wrought iron patio furniture is that it normally only comes in black or grey and therefore does not have much variety in color. Here are some wrought iron pieces if you’re interested in purchasing or upgrading your patio furniture.

Score: 17.5/20


Movability

Wrought iron is far heavier than aluminum, and is probably on or below par with the movability of wood furniture. Since wrought iron is commonly seen in bistro sets and not full dining sets, movability is more manageable, but moving a bulky bench or table can be a hassle.

Score: 14/20


Durability

Wrought iron is durable because of its strength and weight, which makes it perfect for windy regions. However, iron can rust and while, according to Lowes, “many modern metal frames are rust-resistant and rust-free,” it’s probably a good idea to apply paste wax or naval jelly, as referenced for steel furniture, to prevent rusting if you’re furniture is not rust-free or rust-resistant.

Score: 15.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain wrought iron furniture, use the aforementioned rust-preventative measures, and also try sanding over rust spots that appear. Basic cleaning can be done with mild soap and water, but one caveat is that wrought iron furniture has a tendency to develop cracks after some time of use. To deal with these cracks, it’s recommended to apply a paint coat, which may not resolve the issue totally.

Score: 15.5/20


Comfort

Wrought iron chairs, while aesthetically pleasing, are somewhat uncomfortable without the addition of cushions. For wrought iron, dark taupe cushions make for a subtle color accent.

Score: 15.5/20

The Weigh-In: Wrought Iron

Plastic


Aesthetics

While plastic furniture comes in a variety of colors, one of its main drawbacks is that its less aesthetically pleasing. It does not look as upscale or great as some of the other options we’ve looked at so far. Plastic furniture does, though, give the owner some flexibility location-wise. Since plastic is waterproof, putting plastic furniture poolside is a common spot, and because of its low price, restaurants and businesses tend to use plastic furniture outdoors. Some outdoor plastic furniture is also made of recyclable material, an added bonus if you’re conscientious about the environment.

Score: 12/20


Movability

Plastic chairs and tables are lightweight and easy to move to suit the owner’s needs. They are also normally constructed so that you can stack them easily.

Score: 20/20


Durability

Another setback for plastic furniture is its (lack of) durability against wind. While waterproof, the odds of your plastic furniture staying in place (or intact, for that matter) are low when dealing with serious weather.

Score: 10/20


Maintenance

Maintenance is a breeze if your plastic furniture is intact. Simply wash with a mild soap and rinse with water to clean these pieces.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Plastic does not make for the most comfortable chairs out there, and while we reference cushions as a great way to add some comfort to your seating, cushions aren’t normally used on plastic chairs. Plastic furniture can be great if you’re using it for short periods or need to be able to sit relatively comfortably and relocate placement often.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: Plastic

 

PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)


Aesthetics

PVC patio furniture, like plastic, is not as aesthetically pleasing or of comparable quality to some of the other materials we’ve looked at. That said, PVC patio furniture is great for poolside lounging since it’s waterproof. Common PVC furniture uses rubber, mesh, or cushioned seating between the PVC foundation, but there is not often a wide variety of colors to be explored as far as the furniture goes.

Score: 10.5/20


Movability

PVC is pretty movable since it’s lightweight, but not as movable or lightweight as plastic furniture.

Score: 19.5/20


Durability

PVC won’t rust, but UV exposure will begin to cause browning on its surface. While it’s more durable than plastic when it comes to wind resistance, PVC patio furniture should still be stored indoors during the off-season or covered.

Score: 11/20


Maintenance

Easy to maintain by washing with soap and rinsing with water. May need additional maintenance with UV discoloration.

Score: 19/20


Comfort

On par with plastic furniture.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: PVC

Final Standings

Overall


Aesthetics

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Wood – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wrought Iron – 17.5
  5. Steel – 16
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 10.5


Movability

  1. Plastic – 20
  2. PVC – 19.5
  3. Resin Wicker (tie) – 19
  4. Aluminum (tie) – 19
  5. Wood – 16
  6. Steel – 14.5
  7. Wrought Iron – 14


Durability

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Steel – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wood – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. PVC – 11
  7. Plastic – 10


Maintenance

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Plastic (tie) – 20
  3. PVC – 19
  4. Aluminum – 18
  5. Steel – 16.5
  6. Wood – 16
  7. Wrought Iron – 15.5


Comfort

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Aluminum (tie) – 20
  3. Wood – 18
  4. Steel – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 12

 

Most First Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Resin Wicker (98)

 

Most Last Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Wrought Iron and PVC

Median pick:

 

 

 

 

Steel

Solid Investments:

 

 

 

 

Aluminum, Wood

All About Patio Furniture

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Introducing: Ravenna cushions

It’s nearly August, and the patio season is in full swing. There are barbecues, pool parties, family gatherings and long evenings galore. The patio is getting more use and you may have the desire to refresh, renew, or redecorate. Add a few notes of color or a new element to spice things up. Nothing is more satisfying than making the area you’re spending more and more time in a haven. However, your patio furniture may be well-loved (or expensive) and not quite in need of replacement. To enliven your patio without a full redesign and achieve a level of patio perfection and satisfaction, we recommend taking a look at replacing your cushions, switching out your umbrella or adding a hammock or frameless bean bag chair.

Ravenna cushions

Our Ravenna cushions offer a wide variety of colors and features, perfect for any patio furniture material or style, including benches/loveseats, chaises, and dining or lounge chairs. An addition to the Ravenna cover collection, which includes covers for patio furniture and other outdoor gear, our new Ravenna cushions use a color palette based on the original colors of the Ravenna line. Delina Wells, our Designer and Market Trend Analyst notes that:

“With the decision to add cushions under our existing Ravenna line, I wanted to make sure the new colors felt right moving forward with our existing Ravenna color palette: Dark Taupe, Espresso and Mushroom.”

The result was the creation of an inviting color palette that pulls it colors from familiar and naturally found hues. Here are all the great color options for Ravenna cushions:

Dark Taupe
Empire Blue
Espresso
Mallard Green
Mushroom
Spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake Sornsin, our Product Development Merchandiser (and the fantastic spokesman featured in the video above), reinforces that the goal of the Ravenna cushions is to “stay true to the Ravenna aesthetic,” while also being an affordable option for cushions.

One great feature that came from the nod to the Ravenna aesthetic is the introduction of waterfall seams, which increases comfortability and durability.

“Sitting on a cushion without piped seams at the front helps prevent any annoying scratches or lumps under your legs as you sit. Since there’s no seam at the front of the Ravenna cushions, there’s also a lower chance of water sitting on the cushion and seeping into the foam.”

-Delina Wells

We mention that Ravenna cushions are feature-rich in our introductory video, and we believe that. Some of the other thoughtful features included in the cushion design are shown below:

 

  • Gardelle One Fabric System: Gardelle One is a solution-dyed durable woven polyester fabric with a protective water repellent coating and water-resistant laminated backing
  • Water-Repellent Coating: Resists stains and helps keep rain out and your cushion foam protected
  • Patented Attachment System: Adjustable belted hem with click-close straps provides a tight, customizable fit to keep your cushion where you want it
  • Durable Stitching: Bound interior seams are engineered to provide strength and durability at the most demanding joints
  • Locking Zippers: Zippers lock to keep a tight closure and make stuffing the cushion easier
  • 3-Layered Seat Foam and Solid-Core Back Foam: Foam is designed for comfort and support, with outer layers of open-cell foam enclosing a high-density core that is resilient but conforms to your shape
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

Delina is a particular fan of the click-close straps, one feature from the covers we thought would have a great impact on the functionality and usability of the cushions. Jake agrees that the click-close straps “steal the show,” but points out that one underrated feature of the cushion is the locking zipper, which “makes switching out covers much easier as the zipper helps keep your place as you stuff the cushion.”

For more information on our Ravenna cushions, check out the collection on our site.

covers

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Our Ravenna cushions were developed as an extension of the Ravenna cover collection and adhere to a warm, inviting color palatte that while gorgeous,, may not quite suit everyone’s taste. For someone looking for a more intense and modern pop of color, we recommend our Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Our Montlake patio furniture collection.

The Montlake FadeSafe collection adds a classic look to your patio and ensures a strong resistance to fading. It is also water-repellent and utilizes hooded air vents to ventilate condensation out from underneath the cover.

Click-close straps to secure your Montlake cover on windy days.
Air vent to keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and product details, see our Montlake and Ravenna collection pages on our patio furniture covers page on our website.

Hammocks

Hammocks can make a great addition to any patio. A comfortable, durable, and beautiful option, adding a hammock to your patio will create a more homey, relaxing environment. Our hammocks come in two different styles: Brazilian and quilted. Note the difference in style and build below!

Montlake FadeSafe Quilted Hammock – Heather Indigo Blue
Montlake FadeSafe Brazilian Hammock – Heather Indigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We offer a variety of color options in two stripe pattern, a 2-tone Stripe (right) and a Mutli-Color stripe pattern (left). Check out the full selection on our site.

Happy hammocking!

Umbrellas

Montlake FadeSafe Umbrella in Heather Indigo.

Finally, adding an umbrella to your patio will complete your patio perfection process by giving your backyard shading for those exceptionally sunny days, as well as by providing an additional aesthetic element to your setup.

We offer both aluminum and natural bamboo umbrellas. Learn more about each material, as well as color options on our Montlake FadeSafe Patio Umbrellas main page.


We hope you consider these options to perfecting your patio and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Summer Wine Pairings

There is an art to pairing food with wine. Nuanced undertones, blushes of flavor, hints of spices, and lingering tastes commingle with personal preferences and memories to create deep interactions that lead to strong opinions. Trying new combinations of wine and food is an endeavor that can be intimidating, but is rewarding upon success.

There are certain accepted pairings; you have red wine with red meat and white wine with most fish, chocolate goes well with red while other desserts trend with whites, etc. Finding the perfect balance of flavors between a dish and a wine is an accomplishment and feels like a victory of sorts. It improves a meal you likely already love, provides a point of conversation, sets up a full dinner lineup for future special events, and is an entertaining experience unto itself.

We wanted to share some of our favorite wine pairings as places to start an adventure (or at the very least a very good evening) this summer. We had several people take on the task of completing this image with some wine and food combinations:

Imagine the slow summer sunset settling over your home, the light catching the edge of your cushions and umbrella as the shadows from your house begin to eclipse the patio. Sitting in a comfortable seat, perhaps a frameless chair by a hammock, you swirl a glass of wine that perfectly finishes your meal, waiting for the stars to appear and the cool air to settle.

Some lovely pairings came to mind and we’ve got those below. We’ve also included a recommended brand or vintage to try if you’re unsure where to start with each varietal/blend. These are not perfect combinations or even liked universally amongst our pairing team, but each has found its way into each of our particular palates this summer.  Read through, find some that intrigue you, experiment, and share!

For an infographic about wine, including red wine vs white wine, click here.

To learn about wine tasting, click here.

Amanda’s Assortment

Sparkling Brut with Mac & Cheese

2007 Extended Tirage Brut

Cheese and wine go together ALL the time … every time. The next time you have a bottle of Brut, make a homemade béchamel sauce for your noodles and if you’re feeling fancy, lump some lobster or crab in there. The balance of salt with the fish and cream of the cheese compliment a more mineral-based Brut. If you’re looking for a nice bottle that won’t break the bank, try Schramsberg’s 2014 Blanc De Noirs ($23) which is a complex brut made of red Pinot Noir grapes. Its name White from Black is just as it suggests. If you have a bit more cash to spend, one of my personal favorites is a brut from Oregon’s Argyle winery – 2007 Extended Tirage Brut ($75). Their 11 yr old Fall barrel brut packs a punch that is nothing but soft and will leave wine lovers with goose bumps.

 Chardonnay and Bacon

Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay

Most people want to always go red with meats, but go big with a full bodied Chardonnay so it can hold up against bacon that packs a big punch of flavor. The best region to buy a buttery, oaky chardonnay is California. Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($32) is well balanced with citrus and oak with a long finish. Unoaked is growing MORE popular every day after the oak bomb of the 90’s and another option from the Russian River Valley is Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay ($29). There’s no oak on this beautiful Chardonnay, but it’s so rich, you won’t even notice and will enjoy the pure personality of chardonnay.

Fruity Riesling and Spicy Tacos

2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling

Switch out the beer for an easy drinking Riesling with tacos this summer, it’s less filling! The fruit balances out against the heat and a hint of citrus found in most Rieslings will pair well with any guacamole. The best most surprising Riesling I’ve had lately came from 2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling ($12) from the Columbia Valley. It’s a dry Riesling that isn’t the sugary/entry wine people start out with. This one is hints towards sweet but brings you back quickly with a crisp finish and goes amazing with any kind of protein.

Red Blends with Burgers

Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet

At your next BBQ, break out the blend! You never really know what people will load their burgers with, so a red blend is the best bet so that you aren’t tipping too far into one varietal. Mark Ryan’s 2016 The Dissident ($38) over delivers on tasting notes that is mouth-filling in the various grapes used that balances each blend with each other.If you’re in the mood for a lighter side – give Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet ($27) a try and make sure you do the proper Molly Dooker Shake before you pour out.

Tawny Port and S’mores

Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port

If Summer had a dessert – it would be S’mores and wine’s would be Ports. If you’re looking to pair just the description alone can probably sell you “Ripe berry fruits with a delicate nuttiness and subtle mellow notes of chocolate, butterscotch and fine oak wood. Smooth and silky on the palate and full of ripe figgy, jammy flavors which persist on the long finish.” Enjoy the long and warm structure of the Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port ($33). Hints of nut with orange peel and cocoa on the nose are a perfect after dinner sipper that packs a punch.

 

Brad’s Best

Barbera and Spinach Chicken A La Fresca

2015 Tempo Vero Barbera, Monferrato DOC

Served at room temperature – From the Monferrato region of Piedmont, Italy. “Tempo Vero” translates from Italian to English as “Real Time,” a name that celebrates winemakers who seek to preserve Italy’s history in liquid form. This 2015 Barbera is from the Monferrato DOC in Piedmont – one of the classic wine locales in Italy. Vibrant with notes of strawberry, cherry, wood, and bright acidity on the palate, it pairs wonderfully with foods like cheese, salami and pasta with cream sauce. Other pairings include – pizza, pork, lamb and veggies.

Touriga Nacional with Beef Tacos

2016 Field Theory Touriga Nacional

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Paso Robles, California. Field Theory highlights curious varietals from unfamiliar places, like this Touriga Nacional from Pomar Junction Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA. The result is a light, early-drinking red with a fresh, fruit-forward flavor. Pro tip: On a warm day, drink slightly chilled. Pairs well with beef, cheeses and veggies.

Pinot Noir with Chicken Cordon Bleu

2014 Porter & Plot Pinot Noir

Served at room temperature – From Sta. Rita Hills, California. Porter & Plot showcases the unique, nuanced individuality of California’s most exceptional vineyards and appellations. In this case, we’re talking about Sta. Rita Hills – an AVA in California’s Central Coast that is highly regarded for luscious, round and premium wines made from Pinot Noir. Enjoy blue fruits, along with a silky texture, and nuances of earthy spice. Pairs well with poultry, pork, cheeses and veggies.

Tempranillo and Palomino Chicken

2016 Copycat Tempranillo

Served at room temperature – From Clarksburg, California. Tempranillo is a grape native to Spain, but this funky-fresh example is a modern one from Clarksburg, California. Thanks to whole berry fermentation (as opposed to the grapes being destemmed), this Tempranillo is more easy drinking than most. You’ll enjoy juicy blue and black fruits, and a little spice that is almost always present in Tempranillo. This red doesn’t require food, and is prime for drinking young. With that said, it pairs well with pasta in red sauces, pork, cured meats and veggies.

Gamay and Grilled Salmon 

2016 Les Bobos Gamay

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Beaujolais (province) in France. Many people associate Burgundy with Pinot Noir, and rightfully so. But in the Southern part of Burgundy in the region of Beaujolais, Gamay is the star and it is not to be ignored. Gamay and Pinot Noir have many things in common, like being light-bodied, easy-drinking, food-friendly and often a great mix of both fruit flavors and complex herbs and spice. This particular example of French Gamay is just that. Gamay wines are often un-oaked and meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh. Pairs very well with poultry, fish, cheeses and cured meats.

 

Heather’s Hoard

Ice Wine with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2016 Goose Ridge Riesling Ice Wine

Ice wines are some of the sweetest wines you come across and are often viewed as desserts onto themselves, which is why they are largely considered dessert wines. They pair well with fruits (that match the natural undertones of the wine) and can take the edge off of an extremely spicy meal. I think that an ice wine with a small serving of ice cream can add a level of depth and maturity to an all time favorite. With ice cream or on ice cream…is there truly a difference?

Gewurztraminer and Szechuan Chicken

B Lovely Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer has a surprisingly nuanced flavor (given the difficulty of reading or pronouncing the name). The main undercurrents in Gewurztraminer tend to be tropical fruits and spices. In the variety listed above, lychee, pear, and honeysuckle are strong. It is a sweet wine with a bright spirit. It pairs well with dishes that include fragrant spices–ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander, curry, etc. As far as a full meal is concerned, I think it works well with a Szechuan Chicken or Chicken Asado; however, I do like this as a dessert all on its own.

Riesling with Chips & Guacamole

2016 Eroica Riesling

Riesling wines are well received as one of the most popular white wines, and are favored as being palatable by both wine lovers and beginners. Riesling is one of my go-to’s for an evening drink because of how well it pairs with other foods. I’m especially fond of pairing Riesling with latin and asian dishes, and it goes surprisingly well with salty or fried foods, like onion rings. Chips and guacamole, while not a meal, have the salt, spice, and variety that can be lost if you use an aggressive wine.

Syrah with Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah

Syrah varietals are powerful red wines that can range from medium to full bodied, with low to high tannin levels depending on the region in which the grapes were grown. Syrah will often have notes of blackberry, blueberry, and violet, with rich, earthy undertones of leather and punchy spices like pepper, mint, and anise. Due to the acidity of a Syrah, they don’t always pair well with cheeses and tend to do well with beef, pork, and probably chocolate. Bacon-wrapped filet mignon checks two of those boxes so it’s my choice for a summer grilled dish to pair with Syrah.

Merlot with Pizza

2014 Reserve Merlot Pheasant Run Vineyard

Merlot wines are smooth Bordeaux reds that favor fruity undertones (plum, cherry, and currants especially) with notes of chocolate, herbs and occasionally hints of cedar or other woods. Merlots can be difficult to pair with foods because they’re not as acidic or have the tannins of bolder reds, and can be overwhelmed or overwhelm other foods. Merlot pairs well with red meats, red sauce dishes, fish, shellfish and as well as mushroom dishes. As Amanda, mentioned, cheese does pair well with most wines; in this case, it lends to a fulfilling experience of a red wine and pizza.

Have a favorite pairing of your own? Let us know.

Summer Wine Pairings

A Matter of Taste: Wine

 

We believe in taking time to truly enjoy experiences and are choosing to share some of our knowledge regarding a particular indulgence, wine, in infographic format.

 

Click here to read more about wine pairings

Click here to learn more about wine tasting

Want to make your own haven for an evening getaway or after dinner drink? Check out some of our offerings in the Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Frameless Furniture
Make your home the ultimate location to relax and unwind with a glass of wine.

Umbrellas, Cushions, and more
Reinvigorate your patio so you’re ready for an evening of fun.

A Matter of Taste: Wine

Everyone’s Taste

There are so many ways to enjoy wine. One of the best ways to get into the wine scene is to try a tasting. Especially if you are new to wine in general, it’s a great place to start to get a grip on your own palate.

They will pour from white to red, so that the boldness of big reds won’t dull the softness of a white.

1. Take a look!
Hold the glass up, give it a slight tilt and take a look at the color of the wine either against something white or natural light. Wine ranges vastly in colors that are telling of what the wine build is. From very pale straw color through ambers on their way to purples and even tawny, each bottle will have their own color.

**Fun Fact: The older the wine, the more variation in color you’ll find between the rim and center of the glass. For reds, the color by the edge of the glass can help indicate age. Young wines are more pink, while older wines move towards a brick color.

2. Swirl it around
(take a peek at the short clip above from Wine Folly’s co-founder, Madeline Puckette)
The next step in tasting is to swirl and agitate the wine in your glass. This allows your wine to open up. Most people take a close look at the legs of the wine, which really don’t hold any mysteries of the wine other than showcasing the alcohol level.

3. Give it a good sniff
At the beginning, wine can simply smell like wine. Give it another try with your nose right on the rim, if not totally IN the glass. Take a deep inhale and see if you pick up on any subtle or not-so-subtle notes. From whites to reds, your brain can only pick up on what it remembers smelling, so there really isn’t a wrong answer, and that’s why each bottle holds different scents for everyone. For instance, I can say a white wine has the smell of the pear tree in my friends yard, but you may pick up vanilla. And not all scents are those of foods, it can have a heavy tobacco or earth smell. This step allows a little preview on what your first few sips will bring.

4. Taste it
Take a sip, is it sweet or more dry? Notice how the wine feels in your mouth. Does it feel full? Check for acidity by seeing if it leaves you with a dryness or make your mouth immediately start watering? You can determine how the wine finishes by noticing how quickly it dissipates; does it fade quickly or does it linger?

5. Enjoy it!!!
This isn’t a true step, but do enjoy it. If you don’t have any wine tasting rooms near you, you can always try a bottle at home. Don’t peek at the back of the label. Open it up and go through the steps listed above and come to some conclusions of your own, and only then check the label to see if you picked up on any of the flavors they highlight.

After you get the basics down, picking up a bottle on the way home gets a LOT easier. Everyone’s palates are different and your taste will change again and again, which is half of the fun!

For an infographic on wine, click here.

For summer wine pairings, click here.

Everyone’s Taste