Wood is a traditional material for garden furniture. The wood can left bare or painted. White wood gleams against foliage. Ethical considerations should rule the choice of timber for wooden furniture. The standard wood used for good-quality garden furniture was oak. It is a durable hardwood which, unpainted, acquires a soft silvery sheen out of doors. Where it is rubbed, oak wood takes on a faint polish, redolent of peace. Tropical hardwoods have now taken the place of oak in the manufacture of hardwood furniture. Many tropical woods are significantly more durable than oak, but their use has provoked an avalanche of protest from the environmental lobby. It is argued, rightly, that tropical timbers often come from rainforest clearance, which is unjust to the native populations and will cause permanent harm to the global ecosystem. When this is so, I certainly would not want the booty in my garden. But there are certification schemes and tropical hardwoods can be sourced from sustainably managed forests - in particular look out for FSC certification (Forest Stewardship Council).
Painted wood bench
Natural wood seating