Wood is a beautiful material, cherished for its traditional, natural look and its versatility. Choosing a timber for a project you want to do can be surprisingly difficult, with loads of different woods available, many of which you've probably never heard of before. It's an even tougher choice if you're planning on building something to stay outdoors.
Whether it's for decking, garden furniture, gates, fences or any of the other vast array of timber structures you might want to build outside, it's important to get the wood right. Apart from choosing something that looks good, it also needs to be strong, long-lasting, likely to keep its shape and resistant to rot and mould. It's a tall order, but there are a few kinds of wood that are great choices thanks to their inherent qualities.
This medium to light timber has excellent resistance to rot, especially the heartwood. It's an attractive wood that looks great in decking and anything decorative, and it resists warping and twisting well. It is, however, a softwood, so it doesn't have the resistance of a hardwood.
Another softwood, cypress works well if it's painted. However, it also has good inherent resistance to the damage caused by rot and insects, so painting is not a necessity but a choice.
Despite its name, this isn't necessarily a dark coloured wood but actually ranges from quite light in appearance to the darker side of medium. It's very tough, long-lasting and able to withstand weather and whatever else nature throws at it. Black locust is also a hardwood, so it is a good choice even where it might get regularly walked on or otherwise worn.
Teak is well known for its excellent, useful properties. It manages to be tough and hard-wearing while simultaneously easy to cut and work with. This attractive timber also has a fantastic reputation for rot-resistance, so you can rest assured that its outdoor capabilities are tried and tested. Termites don't stand a chance, and many other insects will also have a difficult time with this wood. A final positive quality of teak is that it ages well, darkening with time to look rather distinguished.
Medium to dark in colour, this tropical wood is widely used in outdoor applications. It has all of the properties you'd look for in an outdoor timber, so it won't need heavy treating and maintenance to keep rot at bay. Ipe takes on a pretty silverish tone with age.
Timber suppliers like Hayter's Timber & Paving can show you a wide range of timber suitable for building.