The great outdoors always provides inspiration and increases the scope for more ambitious projects in scale, form and logistics, the “sky is the limit”.
Like all things outdoors they are at the mercy of nature, in all its forms and guises. As a result careful consideration must be given to the use of fixtures, fittings and finish. As a rule, these should be made of non ferrous materials such as brass, copper or stainless steel, as iron or steel react with the acids from the tannin in the wood causing unsightly staining and premature decay with the timber becoming “nail sick”.
Paints, varnishes and other surface coatings look good short term but require long term maintenance, sanding back and refinishing every few years. Also moisture gets trapped beneath these finishes and unable to escape, rot will set in unseen.
There are a number of proprietary oils and preservatives available which when applied are absorbed by the wood thereby creating a barrier. This type of finish usually has to be applied on an annual basis.
Quite often the best policy is do nothing other than ensure good, year round, air circulation and let the item in question grow old gracefully. At the end of the day nothing is forever.