Supplement Feature - April 2014
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Bling It On!

Accessorizing With Site Furnishings & Amenities

By Kelli Ra Anderson

Depending on the region of the country, materials best suited to endure the environment differ, but choosing wisely makes a big difference in long-term cost. In coastal areas, for example, stainless or heavy gauge steel makes good salt-resistant furnishings. In excessively sunny environments, materials must be able to keep their shape (making some plastic and composite materials a poor choice), and they should have UV-protective coatings to prevent fading. Upfront costs may be higher in the short term, but durability and what is saved in labor to replace or repair often makes them the affordable choice in the long run.

Wood does have its place. In many of Florida's parks, for example, Forgione said they use pressure-treated lumber. With a life span of up to 25 years, wood is a great economical choice, especially if left unpainted. "One of my favorite management practices is not a product," Forgione said. "Before we paint something, we consider, do we really need to paint the wood because once you start, you always have to."

Some find that a thick coat of polyurethane on a wooden table top is an affordable, beautiful solution, as well. Graffiti marks come off easily with a mild cleanser (preventing shadowing), and carving can be sanded off and restored with each annual re-coating.

Whether affordability, accessibility or aesthetics are among the highest determining factors in selecting site furnishings and amenities, they are not incidental; they are the finishing touch that make all the difference.