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7 best outdoor rugs to spruce up your garden, patio or campsite

These waterproof furnishings make for a snazzier outside space

<p>Extra points went to those treated to prevent sun bleaching and staining too </p>

Extra points went to those treated to prevent sun bleaching and staining too

Soft furnishings in the garden is a trend that continues to dominate. From plush sofas to cushions, throws and even rugs, there are tons of ways to transfrom your outdoor space into another living room.

And yes, we know what you’re thinking. It’s all very well on a bright summer’s day, but what happens when the unreliable British weather suddenly switches to a downpour? Well, these rugs are all waterproof. They’re made mostly from plastic – polypropylene more often than not – and are durable, weather-resistant and pretty lightweight.

The good news is that these garden rugs aren’t going to be as painfully expensive as spenny indoor ones either. Thanks to the budget-friendly materials, it’s not a huge outlay to invest in a rug for your garden. And you’ll be able to find a waterproof rug in whatever suits your tastes, from bold modern prints to something more classic. Even if you only have a small side return, there are slim runners in most designs.

Rugs vary in texture from firm mats to plush deep-pile rugs, so you have your pick there too. Something to note is generally the thicker the rug, the longer it takes to dry out. We got caught out a few times padding outside in our socks to find we got very soggy underfoot.

Of course, always read the care label to check what you’re taking on, but we found most rugs withstand a hose down, and some even go in your washing machine if they need a good clean.

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How we tested

We tested rugs of all shapes and patterns to find the ones that transformed our patio area. We wanted something that truly lifted the space, and made it more comfortable too. We looked at how easy they were to clean and how quickly they dried after being stuck out in the rain. Extra points were awarded to rugs that were thoughtfully treated to prevent sun bleaching and staining. These are the ones to buy.

The best outdoor rugs for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Made Drax rug: £200, Made.com
  • Best for putting under furniture – Dunelm linear outdoor indoor rug: From £39, Dunelm.com
  • Best runner – The Rug Seller giant linear stem Orla Kiely runner rug: £99.99, Therugseller.co.uk
  • Best for vibrant colours – Habitat plastic woven outdoor rug: £12, Habitat.co.uk
  • Best for easy care – Ruggable outdoor loma royal blue rug: £249, Ruggable.co.uk
  • Best subtle waterprood rug – Wayfair Helga graphic flat woven indoor/outdoor rug: From £19.99, Wayfair.co.uk
  • Best bold design – Carpet Right county chevron rug: From £32.99, Carpetright.co.uk

Made drax rug

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Size: 160cm x 230cm, 80cm x 250cm, 80cm x 200cm

This rug is gorgeously plush. So much so in fact that as soon as we stepped on it we had to take our socks off to feel our toes sink into it. We know what you’re thinking – how is that practical outside? But trust us, it just works – it didn’t pick up any dirt (despite our kids’ best efforts) and looked as good as new after weathering some fairly brutal spring showers. It does hold onto water for a while after a downpour though.

This rug is made from 100 per cent polypropylene, so is suitable for outdoors, but to be honest would work just as well indoors. The Berber-style design, complete with tassel edges, will bring your garden bang up to date for this summer season and then once the weather gets cold can be brought inside for the winter.

Dunelm linear outdoor indoor rug

Best: For putting under furniture

Rating: 8/10

Size: 120cm x 170cm, 160cm x 230cm, 200cm x 290cm

Thanks to the low profile on this rug, it’s ideal for sitting under furniture such as your outdoor tables or a bench. It’s also really hard wearing, and dries very quickly after a soaking from the rain. We liked that it’s a neutral palette, while having a modern design, and it makes a more subtle impact than other rugs we tried. If you have it inside your home it’s treated so you can use it on floors with underfloor heating, and it has a non-slip coating on the underside too.

The Rug Seller giant linear stem Orla Kiely runner rug

Best: Runner

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 60cm x 200cm

This is a gorgeous rug if you want to cheer up a little side return or pathway. The Orla Kiely design made an immediate impact on the little yarden we tried it in, giving it a face lift with only the effort of unrolling it. The pile is quite thick at 6mm, so it feels more luxurious under foot than some other rugs we tried, and quite carpet-like. It’s made from 100 per cent polypropylene too so it’s totally weather-resistant.

Habitat plastic woven outdoor rug

Best: For vibrant colours

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 170cm x 90cm

This rug is much more akin to a plastic mat, but it feels really durable. It’s made from plastic straws and is totally water-resistant, so it doesn’t feel soggy underfoot for very long at all. It’s also incredibly lightweight, so it’s easy to move around your garden. The design is bright and modern, with a bit of a fiesta feeling to it. It might not be the biggest rug we tried, but it still made an impact on our patio. The bright colours are UV protected, so it shouldn’t fade in the sun either. Although we think it’s probably best to stow away through the worst of the winter weather as it’s not super robust.

Ruggable outdoor loma royal blue rug

Best: For easy care

Rating: 9/10

  • Sizes: 90cm x 50cm, 150cm x 215cm, 185cm x 275cm, 245cm x 305cm, 275cm x 365cm, 75cm x 215cm, 75cm x 305cm

This rug from Insta faves Ruggable feels like a lot of thought and care has been put into it. It comes with a “Ruggable pad” – which is a non-slip underlay that velcros to the back of your rug to make it more plush and, well, non-slip.

It also has quite a low profile, despite the dual layers, so it’s great to put under furniture. It’s definitely not deep pile, but still feels nicely cushioned under foot and check out all those sizes – you’re spoilt for choice here. Although we tried it in blue, this particular design comes in a few colours and beyond that Ruggable has a blinding choice. The rug is water resistant – spills will slide off it – and it can be machine washed. It’s also treated to resist colour fading and mould too.

Wayfair Helga graphic flat woven indoor/outdoor rug

Best: Subtle waterproof rug

Rating: 8/10

  • Sizes: 160cm x 230cm, 80cm x 150cm, 120cm x 170cm, 200cm x 290cm

This rug is subtle and bright – perfect for a space where you want to brighten things up and bounce some light around, and the subtle green check pattern adds extra interest. It’s a medium thickness, out of the rugs we tried, and has a slightly rough texture to it. Think hard-wearing-carpet-on-stairs texture. It’s stain-resistant, which is particularly vital on such a light-coloured rug, and suitable for underfloor heating if you decide to bring it indoors. We found that it dried pretty quickly in the morning sun after an overnight downpour.

Carpet Right county chevron rug

Best: Bold design

Rating: 9/10

  • Sizes: 800cm x 1500cm, 67cm x 2000cm , 1.2 x 1.7m, 1.6 x 2.3m

This bold pattern made one of the biggest positive impacts on our garden décor of all the rugs we tried. It’s certainly no wallflower, let’s put it that way. It’s made from 100 per cent plastic, so it’s great for resisting stains and hosing off, but it did take most of the morning to properly dry out after a rainy night. It doesn’t feel plasticky to touch however – it’s like a rough, hardwearing fabric, with plenty of texture to it. And something we really liked was that it seemed like it had plenty of life in it, and we’re pretty sure it wouldn’t be a rug that was a one-summer-only affair.

The verdict: Outdoor rugs

We loved Made’s rug – it’s plush and with a gorgeous design. We couldn’t quite believe that it was an outdoor rug. Every time we walked on it we said “ooh”, which is the sign of a good rug if you ask us.

For something with a slightly lower profile, Ruggable’s rug is brilliant for care and quality. On a budget? Carpetright has got you covered with its huge, gorgeous rug.

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