A Carpenter Tracing Outlining a Timber

Eucalyptus, Is It the Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture?

Choosing outdoor furniture is tricky, especially if you want it made from wood. You'd like a type of wood that withstands the elements, and this is pretty hard to find.

Teak is the popular choice for outdoor furniture because of its natural resistance to moisture. However, finding sustainably sourced teak can take time and effort. Although there are ethical and certified sources of teak wood, they often come at a hefty price tag. What then are your options?

Here enters Eucalyptus wood, which, according to some people might be the next big thing to teak wood. But why consider Eucalyptus for outdoor spaces at all? What exactly does it bring to the table? Read on to find out. 

Get to Know Eucalyptus Wood

Eucalyptus isn’t just one type of tree. It refers to a diverse group of flowering trees and shrubs, encompassing around 700 species, many of which are native to Australia where they are commonly known as gum trees. Some eucalypti are cultivated in forestry plantations outside the country like South Africa and Brazil for their oil, pulp, and timber.

Perhaps the two most common Eucalyptus species in the market today are Rose Gum (Eucalyptus grandis) and Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus). 

  • Rose Gum

Eucalyptus grandis is a commercially popular hardwood timber known for its rapid growth and impressive size. At full growth, it can reach around 50 meters tall, but the biggest ones go over 80 meters, with a diameter of approximately 1 to 3 meters at chest height.

Rose gum wood features rich warm colors varying from pale pink to red-brown. It's typically straight-grained with a moderately coarse texture.

With a natural resistance to moisture and a Janka hardness of 1,260 lbf, rose gum is strong and durable. This makes rose gum a popular choice for flooring, paneling, and outdoor applications like fencing and decking. Its sapwood also shows some resistance to lyctid borers. 

Forest of eucalyptus tree in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Forest of eucalyptus tree in Sao Paulo, Brazil - image by Alfribeiro from Getty Images Pro via Canva


  • Blue Gum

Eucalyptus globulus is among the most extensively cultivated eucalypts, as it is the primary global source of eucalyptus oil. Like other eucalyptus species, blue gums are fast-growing and can potentially reach astonishing heights. But they may also be stunted as shrubs, depending on growing conditions.

Blue gum has less favorable lumber qualities than rose gum despite being denser. It's also challenging to season and prone to internal stress issues that may affect stability and cause tear-out. The timber may still be used for general construction, for example, fence posts and poles and furniture parts like veneer. With some excellent craftsmanship and some consideration for maintenance, it can do well as outdoor furniture.

Advantages of Eucalyptus Furniture

Eucalyptus wood brings together beauty, strength, and sustainability in a way that makes it a strong contender in the outdoor furniture market. But note that not all eucalyptus species feature the same qualities, as you may have observed between Rose Gum and Blue Gum.

Let's take a closer look at the general benefits of outdoor furniture crafted from eucalyptus wood.

  • Natural Beauty

Eucalyptus wood has a beautiful grain pattern and rich color variations. Whether you prefer the warmer tones of Red Gum or the lighter and more contemporary appeal of Blue Gum, what's certain is that natural wood matches outdoor spaces pretty well. 

  • Weather Resistance

Some eucalyptus wood species contain natural oils that repel moisture, rot, and even insect infestation. This inherent resistance may potentially reduce the need for frequent application of harsh chemicals and sealants. 

  • Rapid Growth

An advantage of eucalyptus species is their rapid growth, making them a more renewable resource than other wood varieties. There are also eucalyptus plantations that are sustainably managed. 

  • High Density

Eucalyptus is a strong type of wood that can endure outdoor conditions, although it can vary depending on the species. With appropriate maintenance, eucalyptus furniture can have a longer lifespan both indoors and outdoors.

  •  Cost-Effective

Eucalyptus furniture may cost more than some softwoods like pine. But it is more affordable compared to popular hardwood options, particularly teak, even if it's imported. It's also readily available as there are eucalyptus plantations. 

Wooden Furniture on Wooden Platform
Outdoor Furniture on Wooden Platform - Photo by Hai Vu


Disadvantages of Eucalyptus Furniture

While eucalyptus offers a multitude of benefits, it's important to consider its potential drawbacks before making a purchase:

  • Susceptibility to Sun Bleaching

Lighter-colored eucalyptus species such as Blue Gum could experience sun bleaching over time, leading to changes in appearance. To prevent this, place your furniture in partially shaded spots or cover it with a protective sheet when not in use. 

  • Maintenance Needs

Eucalyptus generally needs less maintenance than other wood types. Still, it benefits from regular cleaning and oiling to keep it looking good and lasting long. Of course, you also need to protect it from extreme weather conditions. 

  • Some Issues

Although eucalyptus is fast-growing and considered relatively more sustainable than many hardwood species, its sourcing still presents some environmental concerns. Eucalyptus species grown outside of their native environment (mainly Australia) could potentially become invasive and compete with local species.

Is Eucalyptus the Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture?

Eucalyptus is a strong contender for outdoor furniture. But it's not the single best option out there. Other species like teak, known for its durability and weather resistance, as well as redwood and cedar for their resistance to decay, can be better options for outdoor spaces.

But some simple measures of care and maintenance can help your eucalyptus outdoor furniture last longer:

  • Occasional Oiling: Apply a penetrating oil, like teak oil, once or twice a year to help replenish the wood's natural oils and maintain its appearance.
  • Sun Protection: Place your furniture in areas with partial shade (or a covered patio) to minimize sun bleaching, especially for lighter-colored eucalyptus species like Blue Gum.
  • Winter Storage: Consider storing your furniture indoors during winter to minimize exposure to freezing temperatures and snow.

But overall, eucalyptus offers a compelling combination of benefits for outdoor furniture. If durability, aesthetics, and sustainability are what you seek, eucalyptus is worth considering.


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