• What Timber Should You Use for Garden Projects?

    The summer is finally here. As we enjoy the late nights and warm days, many of us will take the opportunity to complete some much-needed garden repairs and finish a few forgotten DIY projects.

    However, whether you are repairing the garden fence or building a shed, knowing what kind of wood to use is essential. Not all woods are the same, some are more suited for particular uses than others. Before you head off to your local builder supplies merchant, read this guide to learn what timber you should be using for garden projects.

    What Properties Should Outdoor Timber Have?

    When used indoors, wood can last essentially forever. It’s very low maintenance, requiring little in the way of care and attention and will remain strong and durable for decades.

    However, outdoor projects and structures are exposed to the elements and as such, are far more vulnerable to damage and degradation. Adverse weather, unpredictable temperatures, and even plant or animal life can damage wood quickly and often irreparably.

    This is why it’s so important that you choose the best timber for your garden projects. Choose the wrong type, and your lovingly crafted garden bench or planter might struggle to make it through the winter.

    For outdoor timber, one of the first attributes you should look for is water resistance. Water causes wood to rot, so look for the least absorbent wood type when planning your garden project. The timber will also need to be strong, able to withstand heavy winds and stormy weather.

    Finally, you should look for wood that is resistant to insects. Insects can burrow into and destroy timber, so look for a dense wood that can effectively keep insects out.

    European Oak

    Oak has been one of the most popular species for construction for centuries. The fact that some buildings are constructed using oak frames should give you an immediate clue as to this timber’s suitability for outdoor projects.

    If you’re looking for timber to use in your garden project, European oak could be the perfect choice. It’s incredibly strong and durable, able to withstand all manner of damage. Additionally, it looks fantastic, making it a welcome addition to any garden.


    Cedar is another popular choice for outdoor work despite the timber being classed as a softwood. Western red cedar is one of the most commonly used varieties, but alternatives like Alaskan yellow cedar are becoming increasingly popular.

    The biggest benefit offered by cedar is that the material comes loaded with special compounds called thujaplicins. These are chemicals that occur naturally within the wood and act as a defence against attacks by insects and infections from fungus, making cedar an excellent choice for garden projects.

    Douglas Fir

    Douglas fir is another softwood that sees a lot of outdoor use. This is because of the fact that, despite technically being a softwood, fir is actually incredibly strong and durable. What’s more, it also contains the same compounds found in cedar to protect against fungi and insects.

    Fir is an affordable option, making it the perfect choice for DIY newcomers who don’t want to risk messing up an expensive timber. It’s versatile and easy to work with, it can be cut and managed efficiently and it holds paints and finishes well.


    Are you looking to start a garden project or maybe finish one you’ve been putting off for years? Whether it’s a new garden chair or a half-built garden fence, choosing the right timber is absolutely critical. You want timber that is strong and durable enough to survive the wear and tear of life outside, one that does not absorb too much water, and, ideally, one that is resistant to insects and fungus.

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