These woods contain natural defenses against rot and insects, and should last around 20 years, but they are soft and easily damaged by foot traffic. Red cedar and redwood are both lightweight and stiff. Lighter-colored Port Orford Cedar is the hardest and most wear-resistant cedar. Like all woods, the sun soon fades their natural color to gray; only the regular application of sun-blocking finishes will stave off this process.
1. Red Cedar, from the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, $1.25-$2.75/lineal ft., depending on grade
2. Redwood, from the California Redwood Association, $1.50/lineal ft.
3. Port Orford White Cedar, from Ring's End, $1.50/lineal ft.