Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden rugs: waterproof for outdoor use on the patio reviewed on price and quality

When my better half first suggested buying a garden rug, I have to admit that I wasn’t completely on board with the idea. You see, to me, rugs were strictly for indoors and I couldn’t get my head around the thought of having one on my decking or patio. Then again, it took me until my mid-20s to try carrot cake for the first time, so let’s just say that experimenting with new things has never been my strongest attribute.

Anyway, long story short, my wife inevitably gets her way and we go about buying a garden rug. Never being one to just buy something without researching, I looked into outdoor rugs in search for the best garden rug for my patio and was surprised at all the options available.

Outdoor patio rug

After a bit of deliberation, and deciding that once again my missus was correct, we settled on a synthetic garden rug, and I have to say, after three years of use, I’m still happy with the decision, and can’t believe it took me all this time to invest in one. A good garden rug can really help to transform your patio, gazebo, or decking area, adding an extra touch of class, depth, and comfort, and will make your garden furniture feel like it is part of an outdoor room or dedicated space, rather than being isolated tables and chairs.

The trick is, buying the right one, and to help you with this important decision we have put together this page that includes information you need to know when choosing your outdoor rug, as well as our choices for the best garden rugs based on price and quality, and some other important factors you need to know when buying the best garden rugs which are as follows-

Best overall garden rug: Nourison Aloha garden rug – with the right combination of durability, comfort, and price.
Best large rug: Home Dynamix large garden rug– when you consider quality and price.
Most waterproof garden rug: Modern Style outdoor rug – so easy to mop up spills.
Best small garden rug: Nuloom marine hand hooked rug – The comfort this small rug provides makes it worth the extra you pay for it.
Best value: Paco outdoor rug – A good sized, good quality, outdoor rug for less than 25 pounds. What’s more to say?

What you need to know when buying the best garden rugs for your patio

In the following sections you’ll find lots of helpful information that’ll guide you in the right direction, and make buying the best outdoor rugs a much easier task. Some of this is just common sense, but we still think that you’ll find information here that will be new and of interest to you. Let’s start by taking a look at the different materials you can choose from…

Material

While traditional natural fibres like cotton and wool are the ‘go-to’ choice for many things, they are definitely not the best choice for garden rugs and should be avoided.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have no choice but to go for synthetic fibres, and there are some natural choices that make excellent outdoor rugs. Good natural options are seagrass, jute, hemp, bamboo, and sisal, but although they are fairly hard wearing, these materials can’t match synthetic fibres for longevity and easy maintenance.

My honest opinion though, is that you can’t beat synthetic materials for garden rugs. They are much easier to clean than natural fibres, will not be damaged by the weather as quickly, won’t soak up as much moisture and therefore be less likely to have problems with mould or rot, and are generally cheaper to buy.

It can be tempting to go for natural fibres as they are generally softer and look great at first. But, as the following photo shows, they can start to look a little worn after a while, especially if you have pets.

Natural rug looks great but isn’t so tough outdoors especially if you have pets

Synthetic materials to look out for are polypropylene, acrylic, polyester, and nylon. Out of these, polypropylene is the one you’re most likely to come across as it is very commonly used in garden rug making, thanks to its all-round durability and resistance to mould, UV, and pretty much everything else you can think of. Products like the Home Dynamix large garden rug are great examples of this.

Acrylic is the right choice if you want a really soft feeling under your feet, but not ideal if there’s a lot of foot traffic as these rugs can get crushed, and the same goes for polyester. Nylon, on the other hand, is good for heavy foot traffic and resistant to stains like polypropylene, but will heat up under direct sunlight.

Shape and size

Most outdoor rugs are either square or rectangular shaped, and both of these go with any kind of space, garden furniture style, and setup. As a rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong matching the shape of your garden furniture table with the shape of your garden rug, so square with square and rectangle with rectangle, simple enough huh?.

If you’re looking for something a little different, a circular garden rug can look amazing, but they are usually only found in smaller sizes like with the Nourison Aloha garden rug , and so won’t be appropriate for larger areas as they’d just look dwarfed by their surroundings. Both circular and square rugs can work well with round tables, but rectangular ones not so much. Check out the photo below to see how a small round rug can make a square table look better.

Even with square and rectangular rugs, there are things to think about. For example, the length vs the width of the area that’ll be housing the rug, and whether you’ll be sitting your garden furniture on top of it or not. I find that narrow spaces look great when the rug covers the majority of the area.

If you are planning on having your dining set or some other patio furniture on top of your outdoor rug, you need to think about how it will affect people sitting on the chairs. At the very least, the rug should be large enough for the front legs of each of the chairs to sit comfortably on, but if all four legs will be involved, you should have 24 inches or more from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug to give people enough room to move to and from the table without any problems.

Circular rugs can improve the look of a square coffee table

Machine-made or flatweave rug?

If you see in a product’s description or in reviews that a rug is machine made, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily inferior. It simply means that the use of machines has made it possible to mass produce these rugs and therefore keep the price lower.

Flatweave rugs are also manufactured on power looms just like ones labelled machine-made, so don’t let the name fool you. There is a difference between them though, as there is no thick pile on a flatweave garden rug, and the simple weaving technique tends to make them look and feel a little flatter than traditional rugs, as you can see in this photo-

Flatweave rug looks flatter than a traditional rug

If you want a bit more luxury, and are willing to pay the extra for it, then a hand hooked rug is probably the thing for you. Hand hooked rugs are easily identified by their wonderful, knobbly appearance, but it can be hard to find one of these rugs made with a material that is suited to being left outdoors. The Nuloom marine hand hooked rug is an exception to that rule, and part of the reason we included it in our reviews.

Colour and pattern

It’s important to choose patterns and colours that go well with your garden furniture and also the overall style of your garden. If you’re not great at figuring that sort of thing out, and believe me when I say that it took me a fair old while to get even slightly good at it, here’s a few tips. Now, obviously there are exceptions to what I’m going to say, and I’m no design expert, but here’s what I’ve found works well. Let’s start with colours.

When choosing colours you should be aware that brighter colours can be used to give the illusion that a smaller space is roomier than it actually is, and darker shades can bring the focus to a smaller area, even giving the feeling of a room without walls in some cases.

Colours that mimic the ground and sky such as greens and light blues can help to create a relaxed and tranquil feeling to your decking or patio, and earthy reds and oranges work well with wooden decking and furniture. Here’s a lovely look:

Lovely contrasting rug – nice little setup

As for patterns, I’ve earned that plain or very simple patterns are better for more traditional aesthetics, while stripes and more complicated arrangements tend to compliment modern furniture and surroundings. The patterns available for the Balajees USA rugs featured in our reviews are ideal for modern gardens and furniture for just this reason.

Colourfastness (resistance to fading)

When shopping for a garden rug, you’re bound to come across the term colourfast. Basically, all this is referring to is that particular fabric’s ability to resist fading and other distortion such as colours running into each other.

For outdoor rugs, it’s the weather that is the main culprit when it comes to affecting colours. Both UV from the sun’s rays and rain can affect how well the colour of your rug keeps up, so choosing a garden rug that has been created to resist these things is a top priority, and the main reason most people opt for synthetic rugs. Even a low-cost synthetic rug like the Paco outdoor rug will be highly weather resistant.

Quality rugs still have vibrant colours years on

Solution dyed rugs tend to hold up better than yarn dyed ones as the colouring is actually added in an earlier part of the manufacturing process rather than it being done after the rug has been made. Then there are various chemicals and treatments that rug makers use to help fight off the effects of the weather, and it’s much easier to get a long-lasting rug for a good price these days than it used to be.

How to maintain a garden rug

Even though garden rugs are made to be extremely resilient and hard-wearing, they can still look worse for wear without a bit of care and attention. With that in mind, here’s how to maintain a garden rug and keep it looking its best for years to come-

Keep up regular maintenance on your rug

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to maintaining an outdoor rug is to leave it too long between cleaning sessions, and this allows the dirt and grime to build up and settle into the fibres, making it much harder to clean.

Vacuum then clean

After a good shaking, give your rug a quick once over with some kind of vacuum, even a leaf vacuum or blower will do, followed by a scrub down with a bit of good old soap and water, and that’s all you really need to do as regular maintenance. Every 3-4 weeks is more than enough.

Have a decent stain remover at hand for more stubborn marks, but make sure that it won’t affect the colours of your rug. Most synthetic fibres are created to be able to handle stain removers, and even bleach in many cases, but I would still test any product on a small corner section before attacking any larger stains.

If you own a pressure washer – my petrol pressure washer is probably too much for this but my cordless pressure washer would be ideal, you can use it on a low power mode to clean your outdoor rug, and you might not even have to scrub it.

Make sure you dry it thoroughly

After cleaning, or any other time your garden rug gets exposed to a lot of water, take the time to dry it out properly under the sun. Doing this will prevent moisture from soaking right down under the synthetic fibres and potentially being affected by mould growth. This will happen out of sight too, so it’s a good idea to always dry your rug out this way.

 

 

What is the difference between garden rug and a standard indoor one?

The thing that separates a garden rug from a standard indoor one, is the rug’s ability to be left outdoors without being ruined in a short period of time. That means they have to be resistant to UV rays, have excellent water resistance, as well as being not susceptible to mould and mildew, and being easy to clean of course.

Garden rugs are usually used with garden furniture to create an inviting space that mimics the comfort and luxury usually reserved for indoors, and can give your balcony, patio, decking, and other areas of your garden, a new lease of life.

Another common reason that people give when asked why they want a garden rug, is that it’s to stop their surfaces being scratched or otherwise damaged by garden furniture, or even just by foot traffic. Metal furniture is particularly bad for scratching decking and soft paving stones, and a good garden rug can prevent a lot of that.

Patio rug to stop scratching on the decking and make it more comfortable under foot

Best garden rugs reviewed based on vibrant colours, design, quality and price:

So, here’s where we go in-depth on the products, deemed to be the best garden rugs for price and quality available in the UK. We’ve tried to be as objective as possible, and have included any flaws or things we didn’t like about these garden rugs, as well as all the good things. So, hope you enjoy them and find what you’re looking for.

This stunning, floral rug is just the thing to add a touch of class to your outdoor area, but is understated enough so as to blend easily with any kind of furniture or colour scheme.

The cool, light blue pattern has a slightly ‘washed’ effect, but rather than looking worse for this, it actually gives this rug a sense of character, and has a soothing and calming effect on you, just like when dipping your feet in a warm ocean.

When I saw this rugs price for the size, I half expected it to be very thin and flat, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It actually feels quite thick, and is really nice to walk on in bare feet.

It was a bit stiff and bumpy when it arrived, but that’s perfectly normal with polypropylene garden rugs, and it only took a few hours with the edges weighed down for it to settle. After that, there were no more issues in that department.

During our tests, we got this beautiful rug looking very dirty to see how it would clean, and with just a blast down with the garden hose and spray gun, it came up looking like new. On the other hand, it did take quite a while to dry out fully, but that’s not really something I can grumble too much about considering the soaking I gave it.

A great all-rounder, and available for an affordable price, this garden rug from garden Dynamix is one of, if not the, best you’ll find for the money and my choice as best large garden rug.

Pros

  • Good price on a larger garden rug without compromising on quality
  • Very easy to clean with a garden hose
  • Didn’t take too long to flatten out, and stayed that way afterwards
  • Feels thicker and more comfortable than expected

Cons

  • Takes a while to dry out completely after cleaning

Looking for something beautiful to use as a base for your patio bistro table? Or maybe just a smaller round mat to sit your favourite reading chair on that is also incredible to look at? Well, Nourison has got you covered with this lovely garden rug.

This really is one of the most eye-catching rugs that I’ve seen in a while, whether that is for outdoors or inside the house. In fact, the wonderful leafy pattern and mix of blue, cream, and grey shades of this rug, would look equally fantastic in any room or outdoor area. It’s actually so nice to look at, I almost felt sad placing furniture on top of it.

If round garden rugs aren’t your thing, or the area you want to cover wouldn’t quite match, you can get the same pattern in different shapes and sizes, including a 2.3ft by 8ft rug for narrow corridors and balconies, and a 3.6ft by 5.6ft that would be a perfect fit for in front of the sofa.

Just like with the Home Dynamix large garden rug we just reviewed above; I was impressed with how soft this product is considering it is made from very hard-wearing polypropylene, and hard-wearing it certainly is. Made from stain and weather resistant fibres, this is a garden rug that will still look fantastic after a solid year’s weather and hosing down.

The only downside I saw with this rug, at least with the round version we got our hands on, was that the shape made it difficult to get the edges to sit down flat and not curl up. We solved this problem by weighing the perimeter down with various objects and leaving it like that for a day, and it worked wonders.

The only other thing I would say is that you need to use rug pads if you’re on smooth surfaces as the rug likes to shift around a bit without them. Again though, this is not out of the ordinary, and I always suggest using pads to avoid friction and damage to both the rug and the surface below anyway.

All being said, I think this was my favourite out of all the rugs we tried out. The pattern is stunning, the colours are soothing and relaxing, and the quality of the rug is excellent for the price.

Pros

  • Truly beautiful looking outdoor rug
  • Softer than a lot of polypropylene outdoor rugs
  • Available in a good selection of shapes and sizes
  • Very good quality for the money

Cons

  • Took a couple of days and a few heavy objects to weigh the edges down flat due to the round shape

This rug is featured in the following video, so feel free to take a look:

Available in six different sizes, this product is just the thing for people who want an outdoor floor cover that has the looks of a natural fibre rug, but the stain and weather resistance of synthetic fibres.

The simple, understated pattern and colour scheme of this rug makes it incredibly versatile, and it will add a feeling of warmth to wherever you decide to lay it down. There are three colours to choose from: beige, brown, and grey, and all of them look fantastic, but I have to say that the contrasts on the beige rugs are the most attractive for my tastes.

At 8mm thick, there’s enough rug there to feel soft underfoot, and better than I would have expected for the low prices. In fact, I was impressed with the overall finish with this garden rug. There were no frayed edges or any of the common issues you get with lower cost rugs, and the overall quality was top notch, making this outdoor rug terrific value.

Like most, if not all, polypropylene rugs that are folded or rolled for packaging purposes, this one arrived with a few bumps and lumps, and the corners were curled. As always, the trick is to straighten it out, weigh it down, and just wait a day or two. Patience always pays off, and you’ll be left with a lovely flat rug that feels a lot more expensive than it actually is.

Vacuuming up surface dirt and dust was a piece of cake, and as the fibres aren’t very absorbent, you’ve got time to grab a towel or something to mop up any spills. Likewise, washing off muddy footprints and such is just a case of soapy water and maybe a brush if it’s quite thick.

It is a bit slippery though, I have to say, so invest in some rug mats to keep it in place. Either that, or use your furniture / garden furniture to pin the edges in place, but mats would be the better choice in my opinion.

Pros

  • Natural look and neutral colours means it’ll go well in any home and garden
  • Very easy to vacuum clean
  • Slow absorbing fibres make cleaning spills easy
  • Low profile but still feels thick and soft enough under your feet

Cons

  • Very slippery underside, so you’ll need some rug mats or double-sided tape to hold it place

It’s an uncomfortable truth that when buying a garden rug for an affordable price, you usually have to accept that it’s not going to be as soft as an indoor one. Well, that is unless you come across this one from nuLOOM.

Unlike the majority of outdoor rugs that are machine-made, this one is a hand hooked rug, and this gives it a thickness and softness that is a step above the norm. Now, it’s still polypropylene, and so isn’t as soft as a cotton or wool indoor mat, but considering it ahs been made to handle all that the outdoors throws at it, it’s impressively comfortable to walk on.

This garden rug is available in a variety of sizes, but the larger ones do get quite expensive. However, the smaller 2ft x 4ft version that can be bought for around 50 quid, would make an amazing floor cover for smaller spaces. Yes, it’s more expensive than some other small rugs, but the quality of this one is just so much better.

Take, for example, the extra details such as the slip canvas backing that is too often absent on outdoor rugs, leaving you to have to purchase rug mats to keep those products stable. Not so with this one, you can just lay it down anywhere and it stays put, even when kids are running around.

You can choose to go with either a gray or navy blue colour, but both have a white starfish pattern taking up the majority of the centre. Personally, I thought the grey looked better, but people who prefer bolder looking furnishings, with sharper colour contrasts, might want to check out the navy blue.

Pros

  • Hand hooked rug and has a density and comfort that is hard to match with machine made rugs
  • Anti-slip backing keeps the rug in place without the need for tape or similar
  • Hard-wearing and durable just like any other polypropylene rug
  • Excellent quality and finish

Cons

  • More expensive than machine-made rugs

If you want a hand hooked rug, but don’t have the budget, you can always give your trusty old mum a call and see if she’ll make you one, like this guy haha-

On a tighter budget? Or perhaps you just want an inexpensive outdoor rug that you won’t feel too bad about if something happens to it? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then the Paco indoor and outdoor rug could be right up your alley.

When I say this garden rug is inexpensive, I’m not kidding. The smallest size can be bought for less than twelve pounds, and even the 120 x 160cm version will only set you back around 23 quid. That’s a bargain in my book.

For that price, you’d expect more than a few flaws but I’m more than happy to report that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this outdoor rug, quality-wise. There are no frayed or tatty parts, and the finish looks as good as far more expensive rugs.

The only real problem that I can report is that the edges like to rise up a bit, even after weighing it down for a couple of days. It doesn’t lift by much, but that’s part of the problem. You don’t notice it, and then stub your toe or trip, so I would suggest getting some double-sided tape or similar to hold it down. You need something like this anyway, because there is no anti-slip backing.

The eight colours you can choose from are all fairly neutral, and there are no fancy patterns, so realistically, these rugs should fit in with just about any type of garden furniture. You can also choose from a rectangular or round shape, but the round ones are only available in a small 80cm size.

Pros

  • Very low-price tag makes them accessible to all
  • Quality is surprisingly good for the price
  • A good selection of sizes to choose from
  • Plain colours make it easy to match to garden furniture of all kinds

Cons

  • Edges can rise up a little and need taping down. It’s an easy job though, and you can use gripping tape like this-

Gripping tape to hold down the edges of carpets

With an affordable price tag and a great selection of colours and patterns to choose from, it’s not hard to see why these garden rugs from BalajeesUSA are among the best sellers on Amazon.

Already incredibly durable, thanks to their polypropylene fibres, Balajees have decided to give you even more longevity and bang for your buck by making them double sided. So, after years of UV, and the colours are starting to fade, simply flip the rug over and start again.

As mentioned, the prices are very reasonable too, and we got the 6ft x 9ft rug for just under 47 pounds. If you don’t need something that size, there’s a 5ft by 7ft option for around 36 quid at the moment.

For the price, the quality of these rugs is excellent, although there is a large fold /join down the middle that takes more than a few days to settle. They aren’t the thickest garden rugs available either, and are quite lightweight, so you’ll need to weigh them down or pin them under furniture.

Other than those small gripes, there’s not a lot to dislike about the Balajees outdoor rugs, and you’d be hard pressed to find a large rug like this one for a similar price and quality. What’s more, is that the patterns that are available to choose from are wonderful. From floral and multicoloured stripes, to artistic diamonds and a particularly beautiful, black and white rug that has a very distinct ‘eastern’ feel to it, they all look fantastic.

So, although far from perfect, these garden rugs are very good for the price. Just be aware that they are thin and very light, so if you’re looking for a nice, soft rug to sink your tootsies into, shell out the extra on something like the Nuloom marine hand hooked rug instead.

Pros

  • Low-cost outdoor rugs so you can get a large one inexpensively
  • An excellent choice of patterns that all look great
  • Overall quality is good for the money
  • Double sided rugs that’ll last a long time

Cons

  • Quite thin and very lightweight


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence.

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