When I was about 10, my parents bought new patio furniture. It turned out to be a big purchase, but they didn't want to have to replace it after only a few years. So they bought the best on the market, and 30 years later, those pieces are still being used. Somewhat faded and showing signs of wear, sure, but overall still good looking and in decent shape. They've stood the test of time, as has the lesson I learned.
My husband and I thought there were three styles of outdoor furniture: the lovely but ubiquitous all-weather wicker look, the teak/wooden option, or the heavy wrought-iron furniture now favoured by our parents and their friends. Admittedly, we hadn't looked extensively (or at all), but we knew that a new outdoor dining set was in our future. We just had no idea it would be so cool - and not in one of these three categories.
Then we went to a friend's house for dinner on a random Sunday evening. Walking into their recently re-landscaped backyard, I gasped. "I love your table!" "Thank you!" my friend replied. "We just got it, and it was on sale." And thus our search ended before it even began. The next day, we were the proud owners of this Tribu Mirthe dining set (at 40% off):
Of course, it's not to everyone's liking. It's modern, heavy, and very, very white. (But it can be power-washed, and doesn't even need to be covered in snow. Now that is something.) For those who want the resort-cool of the wicker weave, there is always this look, by Restoration Hardware (but if you're buying, go first to JANUS et cie, who make the chairs you sit on here):
Or if you want to go retro, be inspired by my parents' long-lasting set. This is available, again, from Restoration Hardware:
You just need to make the purchase at the right time of the year. Now. And hopefully we won't see you again for 30 years.