Protecting Patio Furniture and Garden Equipment Over Winter – Stop Rain, Wind & Snow Damage

As we know in the UK, rain is a regular occurrence. It can damage gardens, houses and of course soak through and cause problems with outside furniture. Patio tables and chairs are often constructed from wood, metal and similar materials and must not be left out in harsh weather; furniture can easily rust, be damaged by the wind and become brittle and weak.

Covering Furniture Outdoors

The easiest way is to store all your furniture together; find an area that is most protected from the weather in your garden. Stack the items neatly and make sure everything is secure. You may wish to tie the items together to keep them stable and stop any loose items from blowing away. You will need to purchase a strong tarpaulin (if you don’t already have one); ideally it will be at least 200gsm. Make sure the sheet you buy has eyelets around the outside and is UV stabilised. Cover your furniture completely and use a length of bungee to tie the tarpaulin around the bottom. Loop the cord through the eyelets and tie up to keep it tight and secure at the bottom. Make sure there is a substantial run-off for water and your items should be protected all winter through rain, wind or snow!

Market Stalls – A Beginners Set-up Guide!

Stall picture 

A guide to setting up your stall from purchasing the frame to selecting the correct cover.


Market stalls are a very popular and economical way of selling products; they are inexpensive and easy to run. The good thing is they can be set up almost anywhere and can be extremely portable and used in all weathers. A lot of business owners find the fact that, when compared with a static shop, overheads such as electricity and staff are drastically reduced. Of course you will need any applicable licenses; permission and paperwork from the relevant authorities will be requires to set up the stall at specific locations so please do not attempt it without them.

Here is a simple list of steps to setting up your shop; hopefully it will be a good starting point to work from.

  • The first step is to buy a frame. Make sure you measure the area in which you want to set-up; many people end up buying structures that are for too big for their purpose. Frames come in a huge range of sizes and each company differs in its approach to manufacturing.
  • It sounds silly, but please take advice from the company you purchased it from regarding setting the frame up. Often shipped out as do-it-yourself kits, the structures will have to be put together and it can be tricky so be sure to practice the steps involved before your first day of trading. Try not to modify it as companies will not accept returns if you have done so.Blue/White Tarpaulin
  • Finding a cover can be difficult; some bespoke sheets can be very expensive and cannot be used for alternative purposes. Manufacturers however do often do tops for their specific design. Make sure you find a decent grade sheet (at least 150gsm) as anything less will not tend to last very long. Covers normally carry a striped pattern (green, white, blue or red), however you do not have to stick to traditional methods; all sorts of patterns and colours can be used to help stand out from the crowd. If you wish to purchase a standard tarpaulin to go over your shop (it is very popular and usually the cheapest option) there there are a few simple rules and the diagram (below) can help you pick the correct one. Please make sure there is a water run-off when installing so that rain does not pool on top and cause damage.

Striped Tarps

Picking a Tarpaulin Cover

You need to know the length, width and depth (as shown in the diagram below) in order to work out the overall size of the sheet. Most will want to leave the front part of the shop open and therefore the sheet does not need to go over this part, unless you would like it to. The formulae for the correct size are as follows.

Side 1 – Height + Width + Height

Side 2 – Depth + Height

Market Stall Set-up Diagram

 Securing Your Tarpaulin

The suggestion is to use two methods. The first is using bungee/rope through the eyelets to secure the sheet to the poles of the frame. Once it’s secure you can then use metal clamps as extra protection, clipping any loose fabric to the structure.


The last thing to do is start selling. Good luck!

Windbreak: Creating Home-made Wind Protection.

Windbreak; Home-made

Windbreak constructedPeople purchase windbreaks for reasons such as protecting plants, patios and social areas, use at the beach and to create a better habitat for animals and pets. Pre-built ones can be expensive, flawed, cumbersome and poorly constructed. A great way to make sure you have the protection you want is to create it yourself. Windbreaks are easy to fashion from just a few simple things. I hope to help you with building one and give some advice on materials.

Shade netting rollIn regards to the right materials I recommend the use of windbreak netting and wooden poles. You can, of course, use metal poles and sheeting created from things such as PVC or polyethylene. The problem I have with solid plastic based sheets is that with strong gusts it can get damaged easily and blow over. The mesh in windbreak netting allows a small amount of air to pass through, leaving it a lot sturdier, longer lasting and not so battered in heavy weather.

Building your windbreaker

  • Windbreak netting comes in many widths and sizes, so depending on the area you need to protect you can select the correct size. The same goes with the poles; pick the height of the poles depending on the height of the net. I recommend a diameter of around 10cm if you wish the construction to be static and smaller poles of you want it to be portable and moveable.
  • The mesh will have eyelets either side, running down the length. Use those eyelets to create a preliminary mock-up  by tying the netting to the poles; 1m apart is a good distance but depending on the weather it is going to face you may want to move them closer. Please see diagram below.
  • Once you have everything in the correct position you can either staple the net or cable tie it to the poles to increase security.
  • You can use pegs and guy ropes to help secure your structure in a static position (in the same manner as a tent).
  • Windbreak netting also doubles up as shade protection as well, so you will be able to use it for that purpose also.


Windbreak; Home-madeProducts available from



How To Cover Your Newly Built Log Store

Log StoreWith the rise in Log Burners, many homes will have a place to store logs; a lot of these structures are similar to the picture on the left (open and without a roof). With the amount of rain that we get in the UK it is often hard to keep things dry without sacrificing the aesthetics of a structure. Builder’s sheets and polythene are often used to cover them and usually come in green, blue and bright colours and do not match the nice wood of the store.  There is, however, a solution – Canvas.

Canvas usually comes in light beige or a tan shade that looks great when covering wood; it is breathable meaning that it helps to keep condensation away from the wood . The waxed sheets will help to keep of water and the stitched design looks very classic.

The main issue you may face with a tarp is how to keep it all secure; this is easier than you think. You can firstly buy a length of bungee and create a loop around the bottom of the store, through the eyelets of the tarpaulin; pulled tight this will make sure that it is secured. Alternatively if the sheet is long enough you will be able to peg it to the ground, this will give extra protection against wind. There are a number of other ways you can attach your cover, nailing, shock cords and rope; people tend to be very creative with how they cover it.

Battling The Elements; Creating Areas To Enjoy Your Garden In All Sorts Of Weather.

Creating an area for outside eating and entertainment is a wonderful idea! Decked, paved and gravel areas are great for outside eating, parties, entertainment and for relaxation. As with the English weather as it is, it is tough to rely on when planning an outside gathering.  More and more people are building structures, awnings, gazebos and frames to maximise the time that can have in the garden. There are many ways to shield from windy conditions, intense heat (even though it doesn’t happen very often) and of course rain.  In this article I will make some suggestions as to how you may combat the problems caused by the sky.

Wind; a real problem if you are having a BBQ, reading a book and doing work in the garden. Papers can fly about, food can blow about and your hair goes everywhere!  There is a very easy solution – windbreak netting.  Make sure that you get a heavy duty net, one that will last a number of seasons, cheap stuff can rip and break easily in stronger gusts. A good quality product will be knotted for extra strength and will have eyelets to help secure it. The netting can be attached to poles (wood or metal), frames and many other surfaces. The good thing is that you can see through most brands, so you are not putting a great view at risk. Below are some pictures to show how it may be used.

Shade netting above seating area.

Outside garden area

You can kill two birds with one stone; by using a tarpaulin you can create protection from sun and rain. You can either create or buy a frame to sit over areas of your back yard or you can attach it to existing buildings or structures. I would personally recommend a heavy duty tarpaulin that is black on one side and silver on the other, the reason is as follows. With this silver side up it will deflect the sun and keep the area you are using cooler, the black looks great at the top of a structure – very roof-like. Having put one up you have also created an area that is protected from rain, just please make sure that you create a run-off so water doesn’t pool. Do not hang by the eyelets, tarps are often not strong enough and need support.

For other ideas and tips please comment below. People would love to hear what you’ve done!

Covering Your Classic Car; Do It For Less

Bespoke Car CoverA large population of the UK own classic cars. These are usually cherished motors, often passed down from generation to generation and whether it be a Triumph, Riley or Jag you will want it to be protected from the elements if it is kept outside, especially during damp conditions or snow.

Usually bespoke protection is available for your vehicle, this can be incredibly expensive though and many people simply can’t afford it. As with a lot of things though it is a possibility to make your own, matching or passing the level of safety achieved by bespoke sheets.

The first step is to prepare the interior. Buying several small dehumidifiers (the crystal type), usually only a few pounds, will help to keep the inside dry whilst it is covered. Moisture can often build up and damage interiors of cars. Make sure it is nice and clean inside and everything is clean. This also applies to the outside; it will need to be clean and dry before placing any cover on.  Any surface moisture can cause rust and damage paint and metal.

You will need to purchase a breathable cover. As it is only the first layer it doesn’t have to be expensive, just something soft as an initial level of protection. You can pick one up from eBay or Amazon perhaps, they are widely available.

The next step is to find something more heavy duty for the final layer. A heavy duty tarpaulin will be the most suitable, whether it is made of Canvas, PE or perhaps PVC. Please make sure you measure your car properly before you buy anything, it is important you purchase something that fits. In regards to tarpaulins something over 250gsm should be perfect, it will be able to protect against wind, rain and snow. Canvas usually aesthetically fits with classic cars; it can be customised with badges for particular makes and models of vehicles.

The last finishing touch is to make sure everything is fully secured with bungee or rope. Bungee is definitely preferred because when it stretches in winds it helps to take the stress away from the eyelets on the tarpaulin. You can create custom ties by adding hooks on the end to run underneath the car, or you can run bungee in a continuous loop, threading it in the eyelets creating a seal around the bottom.

Home-made Boat Cover: Save Some Hard Earned Cash!

Adverse weather conditions can have a variety of different effects on boat hulls, regardless of their construction. For something that is designed to spend a great deal of its life partly submerged in water they are remarkably susceptible to damage from rain, frost, and sunlight. If you’ve spent your entire life savings on one you’re going to want to make sure it doesn’t perish at the first sign of a rain cloud and there’s several ways in which you can do this. Most good marinas offer excellent storage options depending on the size of your vessel. For smaller boats, the option of a dry stack is available to you at the right storage facility. This offers protection from rain and damaging ultraviolet light from the sun, not to mention thieves and vandals who will struggle to damage a boat that’s several metres off the ground. Alternatively for larger craft, there’s the option of sheltered marinas which will help protect your investment from high winds. Unfortunately, dry stacks can cost upwards of several thousand pounds a year, and a sheltered marina offers no protection from rain and frost.

So you may consider purchasing a specialised cover, either custom made or one specific to your model. And there’s no doubt that they will do an excellent job, for several hundred pounds. An alternative low cost solution is a good quality heavy duty tarpaulin. There is a mind boggling range of available and hopefully this article will help you purchase the right one for the job.

Clear TarpIn terms of the tarpaulins construction, I’d recommend either one of a heavy duty polyethylene construction or one made of PVC, which are strong and puncture resistant, whilst remaining reasonably lightweight; it is also resistant to acid and oil which is perfect if your boat is to be transported by road. Any sort of tarp, regardless of its construction, will deteriorate fairly quickly in strong sunlight, so check for UV stabilisation for extra protection. If it has plastic eyelets then they will be easily damaged under tension, so make sure they’re metal ones and set in a reinforced hem. Your chosen sheet should be around 2 metres longer, and 3 times wider than your vessel. This should allow enough length to protect the entire underside of the hull, the keel and the bow.

To prevent damage from condensation you will need to allow a certain amount of air flow between the cover and the deck. The widely accepted method of allowing this is to construct a frame normally using 2 inch thick PVC piping secured to a wooden structure that will support the tarpaulin from underneath. A great money saving tip is to screw your frame together rather than nailing so it can be reused each winter. Make sure you allow sufficient padding on any sharp edges of the frame, puncturing your cover the first time you use it would not be ideal. I’d recommend securing your tarp using good quality bungee cord and hook ends across the underside of the hull and pull it as tight as possible to prevent wind intrusion, which could damage your sheet, especially during transport. You should never secure a tarpaulin using the eyelets alone, so you may wish to use shock cord over the top surface of the cover as well to reduce the risk of eyelets sustaining damage. Alternatively, you could use metal clamps, although I wouldn’t suggest doing this if your boat is to be transported by road. Regardless of how strong the clamps are there is a chance they could be shaken loose in transit.

Please find more information and products here.

How To Use Adhesive Tape : How to Fix Tarpaulins & Polythene

Tarpaulins and Polythene are often used to protect roofs, cover cars, and repair windows. They are often exposed to bad weather and testing conditions. As we all know too well things do not last forever; they can snap, rip, break and fall apart. Sheets often develop small holes and rips. Do not panic as there are items to fix it.

The first item that you should have in your toolkit is adhesive tape. Please make sure it is for use with PVC, polythene and polyethylene products. This will be used to secure any rips, cracks or small holes.
Make sure you dry any sheet before you repair; with water on the surface the tape will not stick correctly and your repair may be compromised. Apply the tape to both sides of the tear or cut, making sure that it is sealed correctly. Applying pressure will help it to stick properly. Leave to dry.

You can also stitch fabric tarpaulins together but that is not recommended at home. This is a job for a professional and should not be attempted by anyone with no prior experience.

Repairing tarpaulins at home can save you a lot of money. They can last a lot longer if you look after them and make repairs as soon as a problem appears.


How to use plastic hook ends.

Bungee Plastic Hook With CordThere is a very limited supply of  information on the net regarding these hook ends. The good thing is that installation is fairly straight forward. These specific hooks are designed to fit 6-8mm bungee cord.

Here is how to install…

  • Place the bungee cord through the grommet.
  • Put the bungee into the bottom of the hook
  • Push the grommet to meet the bottom of the hook and it should lock into place

The picture above should be a reference point, it shows the two parts of the hook.