Arizonans love the greenery and splendor of the picture-perfect desert landscape, but not as many are thrilled by the monsoon season that makes the lush environment possible. The Sonoran Desert, which comprises a large portion of Arizona and the Valley area, is the wettest desert on Earth thanks to its two distinct rainy seasons.
Forecasts call for a particularly wet monsoon season this summer and while the downpours are slated to begin mid-June, now is the time to prepare your patio for Arizona’s wild elements. Here are three things to consider to protect your outdoor living space:
Bring It In or Cover It Up
Fungus loves moisture. When precipitation and humid air join forces on a rainy day, soaked wood furniture becomes the perfect breeding ground for mildew. Treating a mild case of mold infestation is possible with diluted bleach (and some good luck), but preventative measures, like sealing, are best for maintaining natural wood.
There is very little natural wood furniture sold in Arizona because, when treated, it rarely lasts and, if left untreated, it wouldn’t make it through the season. Furniture made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) materials are on the rise. This eco-friendly material can be found in resin wicker styles and in recycled lumber that looks and feels like natural wood. Outdoor furniture made with recycled HDPE will not absorb moisture and is impervious to mold.
When rain is in the forecast, homeowners wonder whether to cover furniture pieces, or move them to a sheltered location, like a garage, a weather-proof shed or indoors. Getting ahead of the storm is what matters most. The decision is less of a concern for HDPE outdoor furniture because HDPE withstands storms better than other wood and wicker furniture. After the storm, simply wipe the HDPE frames dry and the furniture is ready for use.
Preventative measures for umbrellas also center around whether to leave them outdoors or store them inside and, with either decision, covers will reduce the chances for damage from a storm or during storage. Heavier umbrella bases, while costing a bit more upfront, make your umbrella more resistant to strong winds. Unexpected wind gusts can cause umbrellas to act like a sail. For this reason, umbrellas should always be closed when not in use, with the canopy tied to the frame.
Spray the Cushions
Comfortable cushions on sturdy furniture frames are a welcome luxury when lounging outside, but cuddling up on pillows speckled with dust or mold is less than inviting. Keeping cushions stored and out of reach from moisture is not always possible, especially when unexpected rain arrives while away from home. Cushion fabrics can be kept fresh with cleaning solutions mixed at home, or spray cleaners that remove dirt. An easier option, with less upkeep, is investing in cushions that already have a waterproof, dustproof, and stain-resistant fabric, like Paddy O’ Furniture’s signature Bliss Cushion. Its fabric easily washes clean with a gentle spray from a garden hose, and the water does not penetrate the fabric. Most good quality patio cushions have some level of water resistance. If, however, they take on water, they should be placed on their side for the best drainage results. Always dry the furniture frames before replacing its cushions.
Powder Coat the Metal
April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring rust to furniture frames made from iron or steel. The better choice is furniture made with powder coated aluminum. Powder coating creates a durable barrier between moisture-sensitive metals and rainfall. Maintenance is relatively simple: A regular wipe-down with a microfiber rag and diluted dish soap is usually sufficient. A protectant spray will safeguard and enhance the appearance of the frames after cleaning. Using an abrasive surface cleaner (like a rough towel, pressure washer or scrub brush) may scratch and remove the coating over time, defeating the purpose of the barrier and potentially introducing rust. Should rust form on the metal, remove it carefully and refinish the area.
Valley residents are aware of the unpredictability and extremes that come with living in the desert. Extreme weather, however, does not necessarily spell the end for your patio investments. Make the most of your furniture purchases year-over-year by being proactive and protecting your pieces.
David Swartz is Vice President of Sales for Paddy O’ Furniture. He began his career in 2018 as an Exterior Design Guide, and became Store Manager for the company’s flagship showroom in North Scottsdale that same year. David was promoted to Regional Manager in 2020, and became Vice President of Sales in 2022. Paddy O’ Furniture operates seven locations in the Phoenix metro area and one location in Nashville. With seven locations Valley wide, Paddy O’ Furniture provides Arizona customers with a broad selection of outdoor furniture, including tables, dining sets, chairs, sofas, loveseats, umbrellas, firepits, and more. At the center of it all is the exclusive Bliss Cushion, designed and developed by Paddy O’ Furniture and made in the USA. With a fabric that is waterproof, dustproof, and stain-resistant, the Bliss Cushion offers conforming support with resort-style comfort. It’s easy to clean and comes with a five-year residential warranty. Paddy O’ Furniture provides a worry-free purchase process, which is supported by its legacy of customer care, integrity and innovation. For the eighth year in a row, Paddy O’ Furniture has been voted Arizona’s #1 Outdoor Furniture Store. For more, visit paddyo.com.