Shelter With Style

Shelter with Style

The problem with our weather is of course its unpredictability – not such a problem for most, but for those of us who want to get the most out of our metal garden furniture, it’s a serious consideration.  Sitting down to eat round the aluminium garden table often reminds me of Goldilocks – it can be too wet or too hot, rarely is it just right.  The garden parasol rarely seems to be in the right position.  Increasingly though, there are a range of options for providing shelter with style.

At its simplest, a piece of calico strung up between four garden canes and positioned over the outdoor metal dining table can provide protection from the sun and give your dining experience a rustic charm.

Shade Sails

If you want something more permanent, but like the idea of the canvas sheet, take a look at shade sails.  They come in a range of sizes and colours, and all shapes from triangular, square and rectangular.  Something for every garden.  A great way to transform a patio area into a semi-permanent outdoor room since they really do offer protection from the rain, so long as you have one corner lower than the others to allow the rain to run off.    The best ones made from high density polyester and are machine washable, waterproof and block out 98% of harmful rays.  Check out the range from Kookaburra Shade Sails.


A cursory look around the web shows that semi permanent gazebos are everywhere at every price point.  Ikea offer a neat budget option with a fabric roof blocking 98% of the ultraviolet radiation and a steel frame with hand-woven plastic rattan corner panels to aid stability and durability.  There are resin weave gazebos and painted metal ones with a range of fabric options for the curtains.  I’ve always been a fan of the rusty look with cream curtains.  Just the job over a lovely metal garden set.

A Taste of the Raj

At the top end of the spectrum, I haven’t found anything to equal the Indian Garden Company’s, Maharani Tent.  Marrying traditional Indian design with specialist tent  and sail cloth manufacturers’ expertise, this garden tent has a sturdy lightweight aluminium frame, and a choice of fabric covers – either durable canvas that has been treated to make it weather resistant, or maintenance free, waterproof polyester.  Once erected, the tent can stay up all season.  It comes with an arched door, 7 side-panels and 8 curtains.  The interior is a thing of beauty – the wall and billowing roof lining is hand-printed and embroidered using traditional methods.  The garden tent comes in a range of sizes and you get to choose the patterns for the interior fabric.  It will set you back a lot more than the metal garden furniture you might put inside, but you’ll certainly be able to enjoy  it all the time …


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