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As warm weather approaches, it’s time to start dreaming of outdoor living. Picnics at the beach, dining al fresco at your favorite restaurants and enjoying beers or a bottle of wine on the patio.

Honestly, now that COVID-19 has effectively changed the way we experience the outside world, we can even bet some of you are already living it up in your backyards with the help of your best patio heater.

The latter might be a little surprising to non-Americans. The United States is in a unique position worldwide in that a whopping 86% of people in the USA have an outdoor living space, from patios to balconies. Because of this, the outdoor furniture industry here in the states accounts for just under 50% of the worldwide market.

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What do those figures mean? The United States has developed a unique taste for creating outdoor living spaces, complete with couches, lounge chairs and even coffee tables. These spaces offer a place to relax, soak up some rays and socialize with friends. 

If you’re in the midst of creating your outdoor living room, one of the most important pieces for tying everything together is the coffee table. Much like your indoor living room, these tables offer a place to keep food and drinks or a place to put your feet up. But, because these tables have to live outside through all types of weather, they need to be constructed from special materials. Here are a few of the most popular: 

  • Acacia Wood: Non-treated wood begins to look weathered after just one season outdoors. However, acacia wood that’s properly treated is lightweight and durable. Plus, it’s affordable and stylish.
  • Metal: Tables made from rust-resistant metal are durable and usually heavy enough that they won’t move in the wind. Most often the metal used is a coated aluminum that’s still light enough to be repositioned if necessary.
  • Wicker: This lightweight material is good in wet environments as it dries easily and is quite permeable. It’s also durable enough for use through several seasons, but affordable enough that it can be replaced when necessary.
  • Resin: As a synthetic material, resin can be given different properties, but it’s particularly useful in outdoor settings. The lightweight material is easy to clean, and it is usually available in several colors to make matching it to your existing decor easier.
  • Stone: Perhaps the most stylish and popular material of outdoor tables, stone is incredibly durable and can be left outside in almost all types of weather. It is the most expensive table material on our list, but it will last for years.

If you’re ready to add an outdoor coffee table to your patio, balcony or porch, consider our eight favorite pieces, listed below.

   1. Christopher Knight Home Catriona Coffee Table

BEST OVERALL

Christopher Knight Home is one of the most popular outdoor furniture brands at the moment, and we’re big fans of the company’s patio furniture sets because they’re affordable, easy to assemble and durable. Their chic and simple designs combined with the fact that you can order their pieces through Amazon Prime make the brand a winner, especially when it comes to stylish outdoor furniture. This Catriona Outdoor Coffee Table boasts an industrial design. The top is made from sustainable acacia wood and complemented by a dark brown metal base. It sits just 18 inches high, making it ideal for matching to most modern outdoor patio lounge sets.

© Provided by SPY best outdoor coffee tables christopher knight

Buy: Christopher Knight Home Catriona Coffee Table $136.80

   2. Hermosa Outdoor Acacia Wood Coffee Table

BEST BUDGET

Stylish outdoor furniture doesn’t have to cost an entire paycheck. The Hermosa Outdoor Acacia Wood Coffee Table is a fun and functional piece that will add an extra breath of life to your patio this summer. It boasts the same acacia wood you’ll find in many more expensive options, but it seemingly has a much larger face than other outdoor coffee tables thanks to its square dimensions. Treated for use outdoors and sitting at just 18 inches high, this medium stain table will look stellar next to your existing patio set.

© Provided by SPY best outdoor coffee tables hermosa

Buy: Hermosa Outdoor Acacia Wood Coffee Table $81.33

   3. Sun Vue Outdoor Living Patio Coffee Table

BEST METAL TABLE

As mentioned above, coated aluminum is one of the most popular materials for outdoor tables due to the fact that it’s lightweight and durable against the exterior elements. This Sun Vue Outdoor Living Patio Coffee Table is the first metal piece on our list, and it boasts all the benefits of the best outdoor coffee tables. The frame is rustproof, easy to assemble and weighs far less than you would guess. However, it does sit about 24 inches high, meaning it’s a few inches taller than many of the other outdoor coffee tables on our list. That being said, it’s great for people who like to entertain guests or eat outside.

© Provided by SPY Sun Vue Outdoor Living Patio Coffee Table

Buy: Sun Vue Outdoor Living Patio Coffee Table $459.55

   4. Grand Patio Round Steel Patio Coffee Table

MOST COLORFUL

If your outdoor furniture needs a splash of color, look no further than the Grand Patio Round Steel Patio Coffee Table. This weather-resistant steel table offers a streamlined style for your outdoor living room. It boasts a circular top sitting at about 16 inches high and at around 8 lbs. While this might be an extremely stylish piece, it was designed for the rigors of year-round outdoor use. It’s completely UV resistant and refuses to peel under any circumstances. It holds up to 50 lbs so a couple of inches of wet will do no damage whatsoever.

© Provided by SPY Grand Patio Round Steel Patio Coffee Table

Buy: Grand Patio Round Steel Patio Coffee Table $49.99

   5. Orren Ellis Hiari Coffee Table

BEST CEMENT TABLE

You’re going to need a couple of buddies to physically get this into your backyard, but trust us, once you do, you’ll realize you made the right choice. This ombre cement coffee table weighs over 100 lbs and sits completely circular. What you see is what you get, so there is zero setup required with this one. This is definitely a statement table that will have heard turning whenever you have guests. It’s mentioned that you should take it inside whenever the weather starts to give an attitude, but we suggest you just cover it when it rains or snows. Same difference, right?

© Provided by SPY Orren Ellis Hiari Coffee Table

Buy: Orren Ellis Hiari Coffee Table $899.99

   6. Darby Home Co Kristy Metal Coffee Table

MOST DECORATIVE

For a real dose of classic patio style, the Darby Home Co Kristy Metal Coffee Table does the trick. This fully welded aluminum table comes in an antique bronze hue that is reminiscent of long afternoon teas spent in the English countryside. However, unlike its older counterparts, this table is made using a five-stage powder coating, so it’s rust-resistant and can withstand most weather conditions. It sits 18 inches high, and one of the best features on this piece is the smaller lower shelf for holding additional snacks or for use as a footrest.

© Provided by SPY best outdoor coffee tables darby home co

Buy: Darby Home Co Kristy Metal Coffee Table $199.99

   7. Alper Outdoor Coffee Table

ON SALE

Furniture from Urban Outfitters is 9 times out of 10 gorgeous, but also 9 times out of 10 expensive. Luckily, you can get the Alper Outdoor Coffee Table for over $100 off right now — but hurry up, they’re almost all gone. This striking patio coffee table has an industrial look to it and sits perfectly on smaller city balconies and terraces. The top is made from concrete and is topped (or bottomed) off with dowel legs.

© Provided by SPY Alper Outdoor Coffee Table

Buy: Alper Outdoor Coffee Table $559.99

   8. World Market Round Black Metal Zeke Outdoor Coffee Table

BEST BASKET

When you think of the word basket, you probably think about wicker. But, that ain’t the case with World Market’s round metal outdoor coffee table. This geometric table has a ton of open space that mimics the look of a basket. It’s weather-ready because rain and snow will quite literally fall through to the floor instead of piling up on top. It will look gorgeous in your yard and will definitely pair with whatever other furniture you have nearby.

© Provided by SPY Round Black Metal Zeke Outdoor Coffee Table

Buy: Round Black Metal Zeke Outdoor Coffee Table $199.99

   9. Hampton Bay Torquay Outdoor Coffee Table

BEST WICKER

Not every patio calls for a rectangular coffee table. That’s especially true if your outdoor furniture boasts a curved design. In that case, consider the Hampton Bay Torquay Outdoor Coffee Table. Although designed to be matched with the Torquay Outdoor Sectional, this round table blends with many of the most current outdoor furniture styles. The frame of the table is made from sturdy steel for durability, while the top is covered in weather-resistant wicker. In addition, there is a convenient shelf built into the lower section of the table for all your outdoor living needs.

© Provided by SPY best outdoor coffee tables hampton bay

Buy: Hampton Bay Torquay Outdoor Coffee Table $229.00

   10. Steve Silver Celeste Stone Coffee Table

BEST STONE

Stone tables are all the rage right now. The finality of stone means they’re durable, perhaps justifying the occasional high price point. Also, the grey color in which most such tables are sold blends well with the natural elements and several styles of outdoor furniture. This particular stone coffee table features a homey look with its wooden legs. The sturdy construction and fun look of this table make it an instant classic that can be used for decades to come. That being said, we recommend using outdoor furniture covers with this particular coffee table.

© Provided by SPY Steve Silver Celeste Stone Coffee Table

Buy: Steve Silver Celeste Stone Coffee Table $326.86

   11. Bungalow Rose Yerkes Stone/Concrete Coffee Table

BEST SPLURGE

You’ve curated your outdoor space with the best of everything, but is it missing something? Every “room,” even those found outdoors, deserves a statement piece, and that’s what the Bungalow Rose Yerkes Stone/Concrete Coffee Table is for your patio. This round, solid concrete table boasts textured cast details finished in a light grey whitewash. It pairs well with wicker, wrought iron and most other patio sets, but it is heavier than most outdoor coffee tables at 123 pounds. However, this coffee table requires absolutely no assembly and is delivered straight to your door, minimizing the amount of lifting and moving.

© Provided by SPY best outdoor coffee tables bungalow rose

Buy: Bungalow Rose Yerkes Stone/Concrete Coffee Table $1895.00

  

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Want pandemic relaxation? Here’s why spending time in outdoor garden spaces might help

As a CEO for a multimillion dollar company where he spent hours in front of a computer screen, Abhi Arora battled stress and anxiety attacks. He found a remedy and refuge in the serene garden spaces designed by his friend Rishi Kumar.

Now, the Southern Californian duo have started Healing Gardens, a business that lets people rent their own Los Angeles garden spaces AirBnB-style.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more people have been spending time outdoors. But it’s not just exercise that can make us feel better. Experts say there’s evidence to suggest that being outside can make us feel happier and more connected to one another as people.

Finding health in nature 

Research articles in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Health Promotion International and Environmental Science and Technology have suggested there are correlations between spending time outdoors and having better mental health and an improved sense of well-being.

Many of those articles cite work by biologist Edward Osborne Wilson that human beings have an innate connection and attraction to nature.

Sean Patrick Goldy, a psychological science doctoral student at the University of California Irvine, said that one of the effects of being in the outdoors is the psychological notion of awe, or a feeling that you are in the presence of something vast that breaks your frame of reference for understanding the world.

It can be something physically large, like a giant skyscraper or a towering forest, or perceptually vast, like seeing a piece of artwork and understanding the great detail in it. Goldy notes that walking down the neighborhood block for 15 minutes or watching the sunset in their backyard can be awe-inducing.

Studies show that awe is often associated with feelings of connection to others, generosity and sense of place in the universe — and those feelings of connection may be particularly important in a time when people feel especially isolated, Goldy said.

“Feeling connected to others, feeling close to others and a sense of belonging is one of the most powerful predictors of well-being in people’s lives, whether it be psychological or even physiological,” Goldy said.

  • A woman rests at Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A statue of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology and animals, at Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Young women take pictures at the Yoko Ono Wishing Trees at Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Nanny Ada Santicao visits Arlington Garden in Pasadena with her charge Lila, 16 months, on Friday, April 16, 2021. Santicao often takes Lila to the garden finding a new spot each time to settle in for a while. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A blue jay visit a Yoko Ono Wishing Tree at Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Abhi Arora, CEO of Healing Gardens, visits Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. Arora, who recovered from stress by spending time in gardens, cofounded the garden booking company so others could find peace in a garden. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Judy Klier and her friend Marcia McDonald, both of Spokane, Washington, and Klier’s daughter Jess, of El Sereno, in Pasadena walk the Arlington Garden Labyrinth on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Abhi Arora, CEO of Healing Gardens, visits Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. Arora, who recovered from stress by spending time in gardens, cofounded the garden booking company so others could find peace in a garden. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Wildflowers bloom at Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • One of many sitting areas in Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Scoping out your own relaxation space 

Arora thinks sensory experiences make a garden relaxing. Unlike that computer cubicle with its single object of focus, nature offers different shapes and textures and sounds to take in. That kind of environment can instantly feel more relaxing.

Now he wants to share those feelings of relaxation and peace to more people.

Healing Gardens offers more than 20 gardens in locations from Glendale and Inglewood to Temecula, with rentals in the $25 to $180 range, and activities that run from “Personal Time at a Garden,” a 90-minute session where guests can read, do yoga or meditate in a garden space, to a “Date in the Garden” package, where couples can pack a picnic and reserve an entire garden to themselves for 2½ hours.

Arora and Kumar hope to expand their garden rental service to the country’s major cities by mid-summer.

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