Rugs for the garden

The weather's been very wet in the UK so far this year, but when the sun comes out, so must the outdoor rug...which will make your deck/patio/lawn look so much more inviting. Choose rugs made from recycled polyester or other plastic - they're great for impromptu picnics and summer gatherings, as well as for sunbathing on. And even the odd summer downpour won't hurt them...

By Hari Dugall
Recycled plastic rug from nanimarquina

An outdoor rug is just the thing to perk up your exterior space. Spain's nanimarquina (see above) offers in/outdoor rugs made from post-consumer recycled PET plastic bottles and designs range from trad to colourful contemporary; availabale at Go Modern. For another pretty swanky designer range of large area weatherproof rugs woven, check out another Spanish rug company Now Carpets' range by Inma Bermúdez, woven in India from recycled polyester. For vibrant colour, Bristol-based weaver Angie Parker offers recycled PET plastic rugs perfect for in/outdoor use. Also check out Green Decore's PET outdoor rugs, Weaver Green, Hug Rug and the range at Wayfair.

We've not been a nation of outdoor rug users, but with some very attractive products on the market we're definitely starting to see the point to them.

They can make an outdoor space look far more attractive, provide a safe surface for toddlers to crawl around on, and be nice to sit or lie on.  

If you're after a weatherproof carpets with that real designer oomph, check out the eco-friendly kilim collection by Inma Bermúdez from Spain's luxury contemporary rug company NOW Carpets. Hand-woven in north India using recycled polyester, these rugs come in three stunning designs, Ethnic, Triangles and Mosaic, in a range of colourways. NOW Carpets is a fair trade and ethical producer and it's a member of Rugmark, which ensures no child labour is used in carpet manufacture. These kilims - which can be machine washed..hooray -  are intended for indoor use too, so you can enjoy them year-round. Prices from around £1,200. Three sizes: 6x9ft, 8x10ft, 9x12ft. (Shipping to the UK is available: email the company for info on how to buy).

Also don't miss British weaver and designer Angie Parker's new Bodacious eco rug collection, handwoven in India using recycled PET plastic. Stripey and colourful, and washable, they'll bring your outside space to life and inject some summer cheer into your day even when it's cloudy. 150x90cm runner £295

Arabian Nights orange recycled PET rug from Green Decore, from £42.
Molly stripe - quality plastic rugs by Sweden's Pappelina. The PVC plastic used isn't recycled but t
Triangles recycled polyester rug from NOW Carpets, now
Layers outdoor rugs, recycled PET, by Gan. Find at Chaplins
Fab Habitat's new Lhasa blue and brown recycled plastic rug - find this US brand in the UK at Wayfai
UK brand Weaver Green's rugs are very soft and tactile - made from PET plastic bottles, they feel su

Online UK retailers Cuckooland and Wayfair have eco-friendly outdoor rugs in lots of bright colours and exuberant designs from US ethical brand Fab Habitat. Its rugs are also made in India, woven from recycled plastic, including used polypropylene straws. Rugs measure 1.2x1.8m and they are very affordable, with prices starting at around the £40 mark. They're UV stabilised so won't fade and are mildew-resistant. Use indoors too - and Fab Hab rugs are also great to take to beach.

Another company that uses recycled PET plastic bottles to make rugs is Devon-based Weaver Green. Their rugs come in a good range of styles and sizes and are well priced. We've seen the products and can vouch for their quality - and can say you honestly wouldn't know they're made from plastic bottles! Hug Rugs are also made - in the UK - from recycled PET and while they have a pile, so aren't flat and wipeable, they are ideal to put outside if it's not raining. Should they get wet or dirty, just put them in the washing machine and clean up beautifully. From £45.99

Green Decore has a good range of recycled PET rugs too, in wonderful colours and patterns. Prices from £37.



Romilly recycled plastic rug, £149 from Heal's
Fab Habitat
Bristol's Angie Parker has wonderfully colourful PET plastic rugs
Mosaico rug in beige from NOW Carpets. Made in India from recycled polyester yarn
Shore Rugs' modern designs are woven in London using custom-made silicone cord. Long lasting and wea

You can also find terrific washable in/outdoor plastic rugs by Swedish manufacturer Pappelina, which sell in the UK at Cloudberry Living for £95. Pappelina says it buys high quality plastic from a Swedish manufacturer with eco accreditation and that while the plastic the rugs are made from isn't recyled, the rugs will last for decades and are recyclable.  

Another stylish outdoor rug collection can be found at Shore Rugs, and its soft, tactile and indeed stunning products are hand-woven in London from custom-made silicone cord. Silicone is a good material because it's incredibly sturdy and resistant to extremes of temperature - though its eco merits are strongly debated, it tends not to be considered a petro-chemical plastic because it contains silica. 

In her book 'Plastic Free', Beth Terry offers this easily understandable description of silicone:

'First of all, silicone is no more 'natural' than fossil-based plastic. It is a man-made polymer, but instead of a carbon backbone like plastic, it has a backbone of silicon and oxygen. (Note that I'm using two different words here: silicone is the polymer and silicon, spelled without the "e" on the end, is an ingredient in silicone.) Silicon is an element found in silica, i.e., sand, one of the most common materials on earth. However, to make silicone, silicon is extracted from silica (it rarely exists by itself in nature) and passed through hydrocarbons to create a new polymer with an inorganic silicon-oxygen backbone and carbon-based side groups. What that means is that while the silicon might come from a relatively benign and plentiful resource like sand, the hydrocarbons in silicone come from fossil sources like petroleum and natural gas. So silicone is a kind of hybrid material.'(Terry, p. 277)

Thus, while most plastics have a polymer backbone of hydrogen and carbon, silicones have a backbone made of silicon and oxygen, and hydrocarbon side groups - all of which gives them plastic-like characteristics.

So if your deck's looking dreary, your lawn in languishing or your patio needs perking up, a woven plastic rug could be just the ticket.

A Shore Rug, woven in London using silicone cord. Prices from around £200
Hug Rugs don't have to stay indoors. Made from recycled PET and washable, they're outdoor friendly