By Debbie Watson
We all know that the British summertime can be fraught with temperamental weather: one minute it’s glorious sunshine, and the next, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. The perfect solution is a covered outdoor spot that can cope with all kinds of weather (sometimes all in one day), providing shade from the sun and protection from the wind and rain. Here are a few of our suggestions:
The simplest way to implement shelter in your outdoor space is with a parasol. They’re by far the most affordable way to add shade to an exposed outdoor area, and they’re incredibly flexible too: they can be moved with the sun throughout the day, there’s no need to have them outside all year round and they don’t need much storage space when folded up. If you only need a little bit of cover then this is the obvious solution; all that’s needed is a couple of comfortable outdoor armchairs in which to relax.
Should you require a little more shelter from the midday sun, then a canopy could be the answer. Here, we’ve created a canopy over our Easthampton Double Day Bed by attaching a sheet of lightweight fabric to two wooden poles fixed into the ground, which should provide enough cover to ensure you don’t get sunburnt when you inevitably doze off! To provide protection from the rain, swap the fabric canopy for one made from water resistant material (just make sure the poles are sturdy and secure enough to take the extra weight).
We love dining al fresco but it can be very frustrating when you’ve just sat down to eat, only to witness blue sky turn to grey clouds, followed by the inevitable onslaught of rain. With covered dining areas such as the ones pictured below, you can dine outside whatever the weather. Add indoor accessories (such as cushions and throws) to ramp up the comfort factor, safe in the knowledge they’ll be kept warm and dry.
Glamping is something of a phenomenon at festivals in the UK, allowing you to spend a night or two sleeping in the great outdoors but with all the home-comforts that being inside inevitably brings. If you want a large outdoor space that is covered but don’t require something all year round, then a yurt is the perfect compromise.
For something a little more permanent, how about a shed? Banish any images of your dad’s ramshackle potting shed at the bottom of the garden filled with spider webs, broken flower pots and an old bike: modern sheds can become whatever room you need them to be. We transformed our shed into a summer dining room (using indoor furniture and accessories) for maximum enjoyment of the garden with a minimal chance of getting rained on!
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