strong marquee

Wet Weather Ruining Your Al Fresco Fun? We've Got You Covered - Literally!

Published: 18/06/2021

For a truly British affair, an outdoor gathering in the UK simply wouldn’t be complete without a spot of rain or the odd and wholly unexpected shower! However, instead of packing up and heading inside at the first sight of grey rain clouds, why not take a look at our selection of top tips, ideas, and popular products for weatherproofing your garden get-togethers? Designed to help keep yourself and your guests dry and cosy while enjoying some time in the great outdoors, a passing drizzle needn’t spoil your al fresco fun!

Below, we’ll guide you through creating a comfy, warm, and welcoming outdoor space that you can take advantage of no matter the weather. We explore everything from glorious garden awning to speedy pop up gazebos that can prevent your party from becoming a washout - you’re welcome!

Protect your patio from the elements


Regardless of the size of your garden or outdoor area, patio awning can be installed in almost any outdoor space, making it a popular choice of rain protection for a wide variety of homes. Patio awning allows you to extend your living space and can provide you with protection from strong sunlight as well as undesirable wet weather. Mounted models that are specifically designed to hang over a decked or paved area are among some of the most common you can find, protecting you and your guests from the elements without ever encroaching on your space - bonus!

However, you’re not restricted to hanging models only. Yes, the beauty of garden awnings is that they really do come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and styles! This includes freestanding garden awnings that don’t require a nearby wall and are therefore perfect for covering entertaining spaces in the middle of your garden, alongside on-trend pergola awnings that have a fixed framework with support posts to provide more stability to the structure. While the list goes on, many awnings are typically retractable, allowing you to bask in the sun while it's out and conveniently cover your entertainment area when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

If you’re searching for patio awning that’s practical, attractive, and affordable, then you can’t go wrong with this striped retractable model from vidaXL. Suitable for installing over your terrace, balcony, or garden, this eye-catching awning is both water and dirt-repellent thanks to the low-maintenance polyester canopy. Fitted with a convenient hand crank that can be used to manually raise and lower the garden awning, this popular pick is a great choice for many outdoor areas and families. Plus, the almost nautical design is reminiscent of sunny days at the seaside, giving your garden that summer vibe we’ve all been craving over the last few months of wet weather!

For those who really like to party, garden awning can be a fantastic way to keep the festivities going despite poor weather. From allowing the barbequing frivolities to continue unimpeded to covering any electrical equipment like karaoke machines or electric patio heaters, garden awning has many practical purposes. Plus, they also look brilliant and can be snapped up in various colours to suit your chosen outdoor colour theme.

Don’t pack up the party, pop up a gazebo!

pop up gazebo

Just like garden awning, gazebos come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colours - with some models being more permanent than others. However, our favourite kind of gazebo has to be the temporary pop up gazebo! They take only a matter of minutes to put up and don’t involve any fiddly installation processes or hundreds of components, so they’re also incredibly convenient if an unexpected downpour begins to ruin your outdoor activities. So, the next time the weather decides to rain on your parade, think pop up and carry on!

Most pop up gazebos also offer protection from the elements, however the degree of durability will vary depending on both the manufacturer and the model. If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable pop up gazebo, we recommend this magnificent marquee from Birchwood. Measuring in at a generous 2x2m and featuring a sturdy steel frame and a waterproof Oxford fabric, this nifty gazebo offers plenty of space and protection for your tasty dishes, decorations, and many other party essentials.

Elevate your outdoor dining experience

garden parasol on decking

There’s nothing worse than plating up a banquet of irresistible BBQ goodies and having the heavens open on your al fresco feast! To prevent your outdoor dining table from transforming into a babbling bird bath, we suggest opting for one of our fantastic garden parasols. These handy outdoor items can be picked up in a wide range of colours, materials, shapes, sizes, and styles to suit your current garden dining setup. Not to mention, no matter which parasol you pick, we have plenty of parasol covers to maintain the pristine condition for as long as possible.

One of the most popular picks is the traditional, common wooden parasol (also referred to as a garden umbrella) that sits perfectly in the centre of round outdoor dining tables. Many of these models come with a handy tilt function and are even height-adjustable to keep you family cosy. Alternatively, there are also contemporary aluminium cantilever creations that come with a curved arm. This sought-after feature allows them to be opened up, repositioned, and adjusted with ease on the outskirts of your table.

An example of this popular style of garden parasol is this Cantilever model from Tectake. Featuring a fantastic 3.5m diameter, a crank cable system, and a protective sleeve, this modern marvel is perfect for large families. If you’d prefer a parasol without a stand, you can even discover wall-mounted versions that are installed directly to the side of your home. This style is ideal if you’re particularly short on space or desire a more permanent outdoor rain cover.

Before you snap up a suitable garden parasol, you should ensure it comes complete with a base (unless you’re searching for a replacement parasol only). Typically, garden parasols are weighed down and held in place by either several hefty metal plates or a plastic container filled with water. While the more reliable option is often the metal plates in inclement weather, water-filled parasol bases are generally more affordable, so it’s worth bearing them in mind if you’re working with a stricter budget.

Steer clear of unwanted weather with shade sails

shade sail

While shade sails are specially designed, as you might expect, to protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays, they can also keep the rain from spoiling your outdoor soirées. Although they’re not fully waterproof, they are showerproof and, if installed properly, water should slide off the surface instead of dripping through the permeable material. To achieve this, it’s important to angle the surface to create a slope during installation.

When it comes to protecting yourself and your guests from the sun, you can expect the material to absorb over 90% of the harmful UV radiation. This gives you brilliant all-day protection while the breathable fabric and airy design allows air to move freely. Unlike canvas sun shades, hot air can easily escape through the permeable material of many shade sails, preventing that sauna-like swelter you’ll experience under many other outdoor covers.

A popular example of this style of sun sail is this charming canopy that boasts mildew resistance and peerless UV ray protection. Complete with D-rings on each corner, you can easily secure this stylish triangular-shaped sail to three stable anchor points using the three included 1.5m ropes. Regardless of whether you’re searching for shade or rain cover, this contemporary champion can deliver the best of both worlds!

Cover all bases - literally!

hot tub with cover

When the gloomy rain clouds appear and start covering your garden in glittering raindrops, you should think about covering more than just your outdoor entertainment space! Garden furniture and other popular outdoor appliances are often quite expensive and need to be protected to ensure they last for many more years to come. This is why you’ll find an extensive range of covers across a number of our outdoor furniture and appliance categories. 

From garden furniture covers and BBQ covers to fire pit and outdoor heater covers, we quite literally have all your garden cover requirements… well... covered! Regardless of whether you have a large outdoor dining area or an assortment of garden appliances in your backyard, the key to preventing the moody British weather from spoiling your fun is to ensure they’re all protected from the elements. Not only will this extend their lifespan, but it’ll also let you enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather!

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