Your Ultimate Outdoor Sectional Buyer’s Guide

Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |

Dive into our ultimate buyer’s guide and navigate the world of outdoor sectionals with ease and confidence.

haven sectional in ashe

Your Ultimate Outdoor Sectional Buyer’s Guide

Investing in an outdoor sectional is a fantastic way to elevate your patio, deck, or backyard into a chic and comfortable living space. With its versatility and design, an outdoor sectional serves as the ideal centerpiece for relaxation, conversation, and entertainment in the outdoors. But how do you navigate the vast world of outdoor sectionals and make an informed choice that will suit your specific needs?

To help you traverse this journey, we’ve crafted an exhaustive buyer’s guide for outdoor sectionals. This guide is packed with everything you need to know before purchasing, from sectional size, to frame materials, to cushion types, and more. Prepare to dive into the world of outdoor sectional furniture with us!

What Is an Outdoor Sectional?

An outdoor sectional is a specialized type of furniture designed for use on a patio, deck, or other outdoor entertaining space. The uniqueness of an outdoor sectional lies in the design and the materials used in the construction of the sectional. A good outdoor sectional will be made from weather-resistant materials such as fade-proof and stain-resistant Sunbrella fabric, it will use quick-drying reticulated foam in the cushions to help keep mold from forming, and it will have a frame that can stand up to the elements. Frames made from teak, powder-coated aluminum, or resin-wicker are all good options.

Outdoor sectionals come in an array of attractive styles, catering to diverse tastes. If your outdoor space leans towards a sleek, minimalist vibe, there are modern outdoor sectional designs that will complement it perfectly. If you’re looking for something more traditional or rustic, you’ll find an equally wide array of options. The finishes and colors of these outdoor sectionals are just as diverse, ranging from neutrals to vibrant hues, matte to glossy, allowing you to match any outdoor decor seamlessly

This range of choices extends to the functionalities of outdoor sectionals as well, with options such as sectional sofa sets with built-in side tables, or designs that prioritize accessibility, ensuring that there’s an outdoor sectional for every need.

Some top design elements to look out for when buying an outdoor sectional also include seats with non-slip bases to prevent bottom cushions from moving, and added features to keep backrest cushions in place lik ties or cushions designed to slip over the frame as designed in Neighbor’s Bluff sectionals.

non-slip cushion base

Types of Outdoor Sectionals

The variety of outdoor sectionals is extensive. Each design has its own unique characteristics and benefits, which can cater to different spaces, tastes, and functional requirements. Let’s look at some of the common types of outdoor sectionals.

L-shaped Sectional

An L-shaped outdoor sectional takes on the form of the letter “L.” It typically consists of two sofas placed at a right angle to each other, creating a unified, cornered piece of furniture. L-shaped outdoor sectionals are ideally suited for outdoor spaces with an angular configuration or a distinctive corner, as they maximize the seating capacity while remaining space-efficient.

L-shaped sectionals can be designed as either a sofa with an ottoman attached at one end, or they can be a true L-shaped couch with a chair back on the L-side. Having a back on the “L” of the sectional can make it more comfortable if multiple people are sitting on the furniture.

L-shaped outdoor sectionals offer a plethora of material options such as rustic wood, sleek metal, or elegant wicker. This choice of materials allows for great flexibility in design, aesthetics, and durability. All-weather fabric options, specially designed to be weather-resistant, further enhance the durability of the sectional, enabling it to withstand the elements while providing comfort.

One downside of a non-modular L-shaped sectional is that you are not able to change from a right side L-shaped sectional to a left side L-shaped sectional, or from a left side L-shaped sectional to a right side L-shaped sectional. This means that if you move, your outdoor sectional may not fit the new space.

U-shaped Sectional

A U-shaped outdoor sectional is a robust and expansive type of outdoor furniture. As you might guess, it’s designed in the shape of the letter “U,” with three distinct extra seating areas that create a semi-enclosed space. This design is perfect for larger gatherings, facilitating conversation by allowing everyone to face each other.

The U-shaped outdoor sectional is an excellent choice for larger outdoor living spaces, such as spacious patios, expansive decks, or pool areas. The enclosed design creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere, inviting people to settle in and engage in relaxation or conversation. Material choices, such as teak, powder-coated aluminum, durable and color core wicker, enhance both the aesthetic and functional features of the U-shaped sectional, further contributing to its popularity.

Like L-shaped sectionals, U-shaped sectionals can be designed as either a sofa with an ottoman attached at both ends, or they can be a true U-shaped couch with a chair back on all components. Having a back on all seats can make the sectional more comfortable for a larger group.

Curved Sectional

A curved outdoor sectional is a type of outdoor furniture that is uniquely designed to fit into curved or circular outdoor spaces. Unlike the traditional straight sectionals, a curved outdoor sectional is made up of several curved pieces. These can be configured into diverse layouts to create an inviting seating area that also adds a visually striking element to your outdoor space.

Curved outdoor sectionals are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors, from compact designs for small patios to grand setups for expansive outdoor spaces. These sectionals are a popular choice among homeowners who aim to establish a stylish yet functional outdoor living area for relaxation, entertainment, or simply to enjoy the natural surroundings.

Bluff modular sectional

Modular Sectional

A modular outdoor sofa is the epitome of flexibility and customization in outdoor furniture. It consists of several individual pieces — corner chairs, armless chairs, and ottomans — that can be rearranged in countless configurations. This adaptability makes the modular sectional the ideal choice for those who love to experiment with their layout or have changing needs for their backyard space.

These sectional pieces feature an adaptable design and are often crafted from weather-resistant materials such as teak, wicker, rattan, or metal, ensuring durability and long-lasting use. The design of modular outdoor sectionals prioritizes comfort, featuring plush cushions and ergonomic shapes, so users can relax and unwind in style.

With a modular sectional you get the best of all these designs, and can create your own L-shaped and U-shaped sectionals that fits your space perfectly. At Neighbor, our modular sectionals are also unique in that our patented design makes the sectional both look and function as though the frame is one seamless piece of furniture with the benefit of being able to change configuration down the road.

Finally, a benefit of modular sectionals is that you can always add-on a piece as your space changes. This is both a more sustainable and a more economical way to go about buying a lasting piece of premium outdoor furniture.

Consider the Size and Layout

Choosing an outdoor sectional is not just about aesthetics and material — the size and layout of your outdoor area are crucial factors in your decision-making process as well. An outdoor sectional that’s too large for your space can make the area feel overcrowded and claustrophobic, while one that’s too small might look incongruous.

Start by assessing your available outdoor space. Do you have a spacious patio that can accommodate a sprawling U-shaped sectional, or is your area better suited to a compact L-shaped one? Do you envision a standalone sectional, or are you thinking of complementing it with an in-line table or lounge chairs? Remember, it’s essential to ensure that there’s enough space for your friends and family to move around comfortably. Buying modular pieces can provide some peace of mind though — after all, you can always add to the sectional later!

in-line teak table

Evaluate the Material Options and Their Durability

When selecting your outdoor sectional, it’s crucial to consider the material, as different materials offer varying levels of resilience against the elements. Backyard furniture is typically subjected to sunlight, moisture, and temperature changes, so the material needs to be able to withstand these conditions — especially if you’re investing in a high-end piece that you want to keep around over the years.

Metal sectionals, often crafted from rust-resistant aluminum, offer a sleek, modern aesthetic and sturdy construction. Wicker sectionals, especially those made from color core synthetic, weather-resistant wicker, provide excellent durability and come in a variety of styles and colors. Wood sectionals lend a warm, natural look to your space, with teak being a popular choice due to its durability and weather resistance. (Psst! If you’ve got your eyes on teak, definitely take a look at this teak sectional from our Haven collection.)

Compare Prices Across Different Retailers

Once you’ve identified your preferred style, size, and material for your patio sectional set, it’s time to start shopping. Keep in mind that prices for outdoor seating can vary greatly across different retailers, so it’s always wise to compare prices, read customer reviews, and look for deals or discounts. Sometimes, waiting for seasonal sales or promotional offers can result in savings as well.

Also, bear in mind the potential hidden costs that could arise in your shopping journey. Factors like shipping fees, installation costs, and necessary additional accessories (such as protective covers or maintenance products) can add to the overall price. Many businesses also charge restocking fees to return items. Consider these aspects in your budget planning to avoid any unwanted surprises. However, while it’s important to search for a good price, remember that the quality, comfort, and durability of your new outdoor sectional shouldn’t be compromised or you’ll be buying a new one sooner than you want.

Tips for Maintaining and Storing Your Outdoor Sectional

Your outdoor sectional couch, just like any other piece of furniture, will last longer and stay in better condition with proper maintenance. Regular cleaning with mild soap and water will keep your sectional free from dirt and stains. You should also consider using protective covers when your furniture is not in use, especially during inclement weather.

In terms of storage, it’s best to keep your outdoor sectional sofa in a covered area during the off-season. If storage space is a concern, consider a modular outdoor sectional, as it can be easily disassembled and stored in smaller pieces as needed.

haven modular sectional in canvas

Final Thoughts

Selecting the perfect outdoor sectional couch for your outdoor space involves careful consideration of several critical factors, including the material, size, style, and functionality. This decision should not be rushed, as an outdoor sectional is more than just a piece of furniture. It’s an investment into the aesthetics of your outdoor living area and the quality of the moments spent there.

Take your time to evaluate the different types of sectionals, consider the layout of your outdoor space, and weigh the pros and cons of each material. With careful consideration and a clear vision of your ideal outdoor space, you can make a confident, informed decision and invest in an outdoor sectional that brings you joy and comfort for many years to come.  If you haven't checked it out already, Neighbor's haven sectional could be a great option for your outdoor space!

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