When you Google Rattan, the definition that appears is “the thin jointed stems of a palm, used to make furniture”. The majority Rattan garden furniture is constructed from modern synthetic woven rattan. Originally Rattan garden furniture was made from natural rattan palms however whilst the material looked great it was not as good as a material for garden furniture. The main reason for this is because natural rattan become brittle and loses its colour and shape over time, a complete contrast to the synthetic rattan we have today. Synthetic rattan is durable, waterproof and won’t discolour. Synthetic rattan garden furniture is pretty much maintenance free so that is why it has become such a proper material to use in garden furniture. If it gets dirty, you can hose it down. In winter and during heavy rain, you can keep it outside. The one thing you must ensure is that if your garden does contain natural rattan furniture, they are kept out of the rain and undercover over winter.
The difference between rattan and wicker
Sometimes, people mistake rattan for wicker and vice versa. Wicker is an Ancient weaving process that uses bamboo, reeds, rushes or willow. Any product that is made with woven vines or stems is referred to as wicker. Wicker baskets and bowls were found in ancient Egypt and also Pompeii. The word wicker is believed to be of Scandinavian origin coming from the words wika, which means "to bend" in Swedish and vikker, which means "willow."
What's better, natural or synthetic Rattan Garden Furniture?
Natural materials do have a certain charm about them and most people agree that natural materials add extra warmth to manmade synthetic materials. However, when it comes to Rattan, most people find it hard to tell the difference between the synthetic material and natural material. Both types are available in a wealth of styles, shapes, designs and colours. They give the garden a highly elegant and sophisticated look and the aesthetic appeal of the furniture is influenced by the design rather than the material.
Like most natural materials, natural rattan is not best suited at withstand the exposure to the outdoor extremes. Natural Rattan is not really suitable for outdoor use at all and must not be directly exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. Natural Rattan must also not be exposed to rain either so as a material for Garden Furniture, the furniture would need to be stored and covered. Synthetic rattan on the other hand is specially designed to be resistant to the outdoor elements.
When it comes to comfort, there is not really much difference between Natural Rattan Garden Furniture and Synthetic Rattan Garden Furniture. The main things that influence the comfort are the size of the furniture, design and style.
We all love maintenance free products so when it comes to natural and synthetic rattan, both are very easy to care for. Both require only routine cleaning to keep them looking pristine. As synthetic rattan does not need to be lacquered or stored indoors to protect it from the effects of the weather, it is a little more convenient that natural rattan.
Synthetic materials tend to have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to eco-friendliness and environmental concerns however this does not mean that natural rattan is better for the environment or is a more eco-friendly option. Due to the rising demand of rattan products, many rattan species are threatened with extinction.
There is no significant difference in the cost of natural rattan garden furniture and synthetic rattan furniture. The only thing to consider is expect to pay a little more for a high quality product and quality garden furniture is built to last, not to mention will also look better and more sophisticated.
At Hilltop Garden Centre in Coventry we stock a wide variety of Garden Furniture. We have a friendly team available to help you select the right products for your garden, so do not hesitate to contact us for any help or advice.