Cheap Dust Sheets vs. Tarpaulins for UK Gardens

British gardens are a haven for relaxation, entertaining, and cultivating a bit of green paradise. But keeping your patch in tip-top shape often involves protecting things from the elements. This is where two budget-friendly options come in: cheap dust sheets and tarpaulins.

While both offer temporary coverage, these workhorses have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Let's delve into the world of cheap dust sheets and tarpaulins to help you decide which is best for your UK garden needs.

Cheap Dust Sheets: Lightweight Protectors

Cheap dust sheets, often found in handy sizes like 12x9ft and 12x6ft, are constructed from a woven plastic material. They're lightweight, affordable, and readily available in DIY stores and online retailers searching for "cheap dust sheets UK". Here's a breakdown of their pros and cons:


  • Cost-effective: Dust sheets are incredibly cheap, making them ideal for one-time use or covering less critical items.
  • Lightweight and breathable: Their light weight makes them easy to manoeuvre and drape over furniture or plants. The breathability helps prevent moisture build-up underneath.
  • Disposable: When they become too dirty or damaged, simply dispose of them without guilt.
  • Multipurpose: "Economy dust sheet uses" are vast. They can protect furniture during garden parties, cover tools and equipment, or provide temporary shelter for plants from light frosts.


  • Limited weather protection: Dust sheets offer minimal defense against heavy rain or strong winds. They're not waterproof and can easily tear.
  • Puncture prone: Sharp objects or pet claws can easily puncture the thin plastic, rendering them useless.
  • Short lifespan: Due to their lightweight construction, dust sheets won't last long under constant use or harsh weather conditions.

When to Use Cheap Dust Sheets:

  • Short-term protection: Dust sheets are perfect for covering furniture during a summer barbecue or protecting delicate plants from a light overnight frost.
  • Indoor use: They're ideal for protecting carpets and furniture during indoor painting projects.
  • Disposable needs: If you only need a cover for a single use, a cheap dust sheet is an economical option.

Tarpaulins: Tough and Weatherproof Warriors

Tarpaulins, sometimes referred to as tarps, are heavy-duty sheets made from waterproof materials like polyethylene or canvas. They come in various sizes and thicknesses, offering a robust solution for year-round garden protection.


  • Durable: Tarpaulins are built to last, withstanding heavy rain, wind, and UV rays. They're a good investment for long-term protection.
  • Waterproof: Unlike dust sheets, tarps keep rain and moisture out, perfect for covering outdoor furniture, firewood piles, or sheltering tools and equipment.
  • Reusable: Their robust build allows for multiple uses over extended periods.
  • Multipurpose: Tarps have a wide range of uses in the garden. You can use them to create temporary shelters, build greenhouses, or even collect rainwater.


  • Cost: Tarpaulins are more expensive than dust sheets.
  • Heavier and less breathable: Their weight makes them trickier to handle and store. Poor ventilation can trap moisture underneath, potentially damaging covered items.
  • Storage: They require dedicated storage space due to their larger size and bulkier material.

When to Use Tarpaulins:

  • Long-term protection: Tarpaulins are ideal for covering garden furniture, equipment, firewood, or building materials throughout the year.
  • Heavy weather: They provide excellent protection from rain, wind, and snow, making them suitable for covering outdoor items during harsh weather conditions.
  • Creating shelters: You can use tarps to create temporary shelters for plants, tools, or even build a makeshift greenhouse.

The Verdict: Dust Sheets vs. Tarpaulins

The best choice between cheap dust sheets and tarpaulins depends on your specific needs and budget. Here's a quick guide:

Choose a Cheap Dust Sheet if:

  • You need short-term protection for furniture or plants.
  • You're on a tight budget and only require a single use.
  • You need lightweight, breathable coverage for indoor projects.

Choose a Tarpaulin if:

  • You need long-term, weatherproof protection for outdoor furniture or equipment.
  • You plan on using the cover repeatedly over time.
  • You require a heavy-duty solution for creating shelters or collecting rainwater.

Making an Informed Decision

Ultimately, the best way to decide is to consider your specific needs and priorities.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.