Are you excited for the arrival of warm weather and a new outdoor season? How about a new idea for an outdoor rug to freshen up your garden? Just as you show off a new look indoors, there are some great designs that can transform the outdoors as well. From large designs that cover your patio to smaller rugs that are great for layering, outdoor rugs are definitely cheaper and less effortful to replace your patio or deck. A rug can also help create ideas for your garden as it can divide a large space into a smaller area.
An outdoor rug idea can transform your outdoor space in a flash — and you can apply the same design principles to the selection and arrangement as you do indoors. “I love the look an outdoor rug gives a garden,” says Pip Probert, founder of Outer Spaces and designer on BBC2’s Your Garden Made Perfect programme. “It can give your garden a sense of life.”
Outdoor rug ideas
Look for natural textures – ideal for semi-covered areas or cottage garden ideas, while those made from recycled materials are great for your garden’s eco credentials. Apply the same design principles as indoors – a striped rug can make a narrow yard appear wider if you place the stripes horizontally, while you can direct the eye to another area with the stripes moving away from you (vertically). Likewise, you can use a rug to bring different elements of your garden together, such as enhancing the colors in your plantings.
“If you have young children, outdoor rugs are very helpful,” says Victoria Wade, founder and landscape architect. “Our little girl loves sitting on it on the patio.” Tasha Green, Director, Weaver Green; “An outdoor rug should be waterproof, UV stable, mold-resistant, and easy to clean.”
For some inspiration, we’ve put together our selection of the best outdoor rug ideas.
1. An outdoor rug can also be practical
A garden rug isn’t just for decoration – if you have French windows or sliding doors that lead to your patio, a tablecloth or rug will help trap some of the dirt from people constantly coming in and out.
Choose a design inspired by classic white and blue Mediterranean tiles, which can be echoed in your choice of the best outdoor cushions, adding a beautiful summer feel to your patio.
2. Try a tiled rug
Why not use patterned tiles to create a more permanent outdoor rug idea? Lay out your pattern first, arranging your garden furniture around a section of patterned tiles in a square or rectangular shape. This will create a more durable ‘rug’ – it will add color and pattern to the floor through the tiles.
Look to rugs for inspiration for your tiled version – either choose something symmetrical or random. You can also add mosaic or plain tile borders to draw attention to your unusual outdoor rug. Choose anti-slip tiles, which makes the area suitable for use regardless of weather conditions.
Buy now: Nostalgia anti-slip diagonal tiles, £43.47 per square metreBaked Tile Company
3. Use an outdoor rug to add a unique touch
Just as a rug can bring this color into a living space, so can one transform a neutral surface. Choose a warm yellow color that enhances your garden’s natural green foliage. Add a few coordinating cushions, planters and blankets and your garden will feel like it’s had a little makeover. Gray and yellow always go well together – but this may not be a combination you would choose in your interior. Try more ocher than sunny yellow, which will be less overpowering and more livable for a great boho garden idea. While choosing a rug design that has a lot of white will also help.
4. Layer for interest
If you’re looking for a garden rug idea that looks upscale, try a couple of designs in neutral colours, creating a boutique hotel garden vibe. It’s a great way to expand your outdoor living space beyond the normal size of your corner sofa when considering how to choose outdoor furniture.
Use double-sided carpet tape to secure the edges and prevent them from curling. Just make sure surfaces are completely dry before use and avoid using tape on any painted or stained surface.
Buy now: Danetti garden rugs are £149 eachDanity
5. Start your layout with a rug
A rug can anchor an outdoor theme, provide color, pattern and texture, and transform your porch or deck into a usable outdoor space. Find a Moroccan-inspired design that you can build your own design story around, adding a bench, wicker chair and even outdoor wall decor ideas. The soothing palette of washed shades will make you feel instantly relaxed when you step outside for a moment of solitude first thing in the morning. The soft carpet underfoot means you won’t even need to wear shoes!
Think about the look – a wide runner will lead the eye to your door, making a welcoming first impression for guests. Some runners can be up to 4.5 meters long – ideal if you have a large balcony.
Buy now: Smoky reed rug, from £138Weaver Green
6. Move a rug around your garden
Keep some outdoor rugs rolled up, ready for when you want to create a sunny nook in your garden theme – imagine waking up from an afternoon nap in this hammock and sinking your toes into a super soft rug? Use a bench or planter to secure your rug on both sides – you don’t want to chase it across the garden if the breeze blows.
Choose a palette inspired by a cottage garden, mixing delphinium blue, lavender and dark pink with natural textures.
7. Play with texture with an outdoor rug
A garden rug gives you the opportunity to mix up new textures – perhaps you need a touch of natural jute or a softer weave? Maybe your decorating idea is well… too wooden? An outdoor rug is an inexpensive way to change the look of your space, adding depth through new texture.
Do you need extra seating in your tiki bar? Why not encourage guests to sit on the floor with a soft rug and some floor pillows?
8. Work with a Scandi vibe
Be inspired by the Scandi summer house and create an outdoor living area that works from dawn to dusk. With simple garden furniture ideas, a cozy outdoor jute rug underfoot provides a wonderful textured base, from which you can build upwards, adding baskets, vases, cushions and throws to enhance the cozy look.
Jute is an all-natural carpet material, although it does not do well in very humid climates. It is best used on a balcony or semi-covered patio, and if it gets soaked, place it in sunlight to dry.
9. Go to the back
Get two looks for the price of one with a reversible garden rug. Or why not buy two and use them to divide up the spaces of your garden layout idea, turning the design into one? This will help the areas flow but still be different. When it comes to the size of the rug, 230 x 160cm should be large enough to corner a two-seater sofa – try placing the sofa legs on the rug, this helps to ‘ground’ it.
Buy now: GoodHome Malaita Jungle Reversible Rug, £30B&Q
10. Think about form
Not all garden rugs need to be square or rectangular. Play with the shape and add interest to the idea of the surface covered in a circular design. Jute is a great material for creating a country-style space, which can be enhanced with lots of baskets and wicker planters.
Need a quick fix for a garden event? There is nothing stopping you from bringing an indoor rug outside to an event, before cleaning it and bringing it back inside afterwards.
How do I care for an outdoor rug?
Waterproof outdoor rugs can be left outside all summer, but if they get wet, hang them on a line to dry. “We suggest not leaving one of our rugs on the grass or ground for long periods of moisture,” says Tasha Green, director of Weaver Green. “Bring it in to be washed/dryed and stored until the weather improves and you can take it out again.”
When choosing a rug, Tasha says to look for one that is UV resistant, so the colors stay put longer. “If your rug is placed under a piece of furniture – for example a coffee table – rotate it occasionally so that it is exposed to sunlight evenly across the entire rug where possible.”
Size, style, color… Any tips or trends?
“As long as the rug is UV resistant (i.e. treated with a stabilizer to protect it from long-term UV deterioration), you can choose any color or pattern,” says Tasha. “If not, avoid bright colors as they will fade over time when exposed to sunlight.” When it comes to size, there are lots of options – even a balcony garden idea can benefit from having a runner underfoot. Just like choosing a rug indoors, make sure your furniture is in contact with the rug and that there is space to pull chairs out from the outdoor dining table while keeping the chair feet on the rug.