If you're in charge of providing furnishing for a public park or for a shared outdoor area in a condominium complex or subdivision, you want to ensure you take your time to shop and really compare items. You may have more choices for street furniture than you realise, and it's good to consider all factors before you invest in your money or taxpayer's money. Note a few factors you don't want to overlook when choosing outdoor furniture for public areas.
1. Dominant population
It's good to consider the dominant population that you'll be servicing with street furniture, as this can affect your overall choices. As an example, elderly persons may prefer benches with a strong, supportive back, whereas benches along a jogging trail may be able to forego backs as joggers may only use them for a quick break. Opt for pieces meant for the most dominant population and use in the area.
Park benches along a public pond may only be used by those feeding the ducks, whereas benches in playgrounds may be used by children during play and may suffer more wear and tear. Benches in a dog park may get scratches from pets. Consider how durable you need the street furniture to be when shopping, and then consider plastic or PVC materials for high-traffic areas, as these are typically stronger than other materials.
Along with use, note if the furniture will be covered under a pavilion or if it will be out in the open. Wood may be more likely to fade than plastic when in direct sunlight, and steel is prone to rust, whereas aluminium does not rust. This makes aluminium the better choice in tropical areas for any metal pieces.
Sustainability refers to how easy it is to replace materials after they've been harvested, and it's good to think of the most eco-friendly or sustainable choices you can when choosing street furniture. Bamboo grows much faster than most other types of woods, so it can be a good choice for wooden park benches. Concrete is made of easily sustainable materials including gravel, sand, and the like, and it can be painted and smoothed to be very comfortable and attractive for seating.
If you are choosing any type of plastic, note how easy it is to recycle the material so it doesn't wind up in a landfill when a piece needs to be replaced. Do some research on the sustainability of the materials you're considering when choosing street furniture so your pieces have the least possible impact on the environment.