How to rainproof your garden

Let’s face it, the British weather keeps us on our toes. We’ve all had times when we’ve just got the garden furniture out, only to find the heavens have opened. The answer? Think of your outside space as not just for summer, but a place where you can snuggle up too. Here are some tips to add shelter and warmth, so you can enjoy alfresco evenings...whatever the weather.

Cover your bases

Use fences and hedges to provide shelter from all angles. By surrounding your seating area with various windbreakers, you’ll guard it from all the elements. Want to make it more inviting? Choose scented shrubs, such as lavender or rosemary.


patio roof

Raise the roof

Create a room outdoors with a roof or canopy. There are various options, depending on your budget. You could splash out on a specialist company that will attach a retractable glass version, which uses electronic sensors to open and close. For a simpler, more cost-effective alternative, you can buy a polycarbonate model. Some companies even offer a DIY kit with instructions, so you can erect it yourself. Or just get down that timber yard!

 

Construct a garden room

Still not convinced your patio will provide enough cover? It might be worth considering a summerhouse. It doesn’t have to be a large construction, just big enough for a couple of chairs and a table. Add some lighting to give it a really cosy feel, and run inside when the weather turns bad. There’s something very pleasant about listening to pattering rain from the comfort of a wooden shelter.

Put up an umbrella

Parasols are a great option for adding shade in strong sunlight, but they also provide an easy way to keep the rain off. Opt for an overhanging model, as it will give you more flexibility. You can move it to different areas of the patio and swivel its canopy according to your needs. A parasol is a much less permanent solution than an arbour or roof, so it works well in our changeable climate.

Prep the plants

Each of the seasons bring a different opportunity for extreme weather conditions. Plants that are more tender can be given extra insulation to survive low temperatures by heaping mulch over them in autumn. Also, tie up weaker stemmed plants, so that stormy weather doesn’t split them. Avoid plants with delicate flowers, like peony or magnolia, which will be battered by heavy rains.


Fortify your furniture

Rainfall can be problematic to garden furniture. It‘s not just the uncomfortable dampness, but the fact that it can sometimes seep into cracks and joints, causing wood to swell. From painting to varnish, adding a layer of protection is a good way of extending the life of your prized deck chair or picnic table. Don't fancy the challenge? You can get waterproof covers from most garden suppliers or...waste not, want not, dig out that old tarpaulin that's been festering at the back of your garden shed, he deserves to see the light!

We live in a country that is gloriously wet. If you're green-fingered you will appreciate the rain, it helps our gardens grow and puts fruit and vegetables on our tables. With a little care and attention, you can create an outside space that will give you a chance to fully enjoy the heavens opening (without the need to change your socks).


 

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