What to Look For in a Patio Umbrella

What to Look For in a Patio Umbrella


A snazzy addition to any outdoor space, patio umbrellas can jazz up a porch, sun deck, or courtyard. From sizes and materials to colors and shapes, there are various factors to ponder when considering a patio umbrella. With that said, nailing down the ideal garden parasol can be an overwhelming task. Here’s some savvy insight into what you should be looking for in a patio umbrella.


Round, rectangular, and square are the most common patio umbrella shapes. You’ll want to consider the amount of shade you’re looking to provide before selecting a shape. Though you may fancy an octagonal shape, a rectangular one may be more suited to your needs. If you’re looking to shade a dining area or larger section, consider a square umbrella. Conversely, round parasols complement lounging areas.

Pole Material

Much like the shapes of patio umbrellas, their poles come in three primary options as well: wood, steel, and aluminum. The latter is far and away the most robust of options and are often equipped with nifty crank lifts. This convenient feature makes aluminum patio umbrellas a hit. Steel is durable as well, but it’s far less impervious to corrosion than aluminum is. Wood, on the other hand, offers a timeless look. Above all else, wood pairs with surrounding furniture better than the alternatives.


Patio umbrellas are most commonly found in coastal environments. Where there’s water, there’s wind. It’s for this reason why heavier patio umbrellas are preferred. If you reside in a low-wind area, 65 pounds will do the trick. Windier climates, however, warrant a heftier option. In such instances, 75 pounds is sufficient. Patio umbrellas that weigh more will no doubt stand taller. If you opt for a 75-pounder parasol, you can expect the freestanding range to reach 11 feet.

Umbrella Material

The fabric of your patio umbrella will play an integral part in its longevity. Sunbrella is touted as the most hardwearing fabric. Resilient against harsh rays, Sunbrella material is an industry leader in outdoor fabric. Polyester is a close second. Hallmarked for its optimal performance, mildew-resistance, and varying patterns, polyester is ideal for those who are looking for a quality fabric at a reasonable price. Other fabrics include thatch and acrylic. The former is an untraditional option that offers a tiki-inspired vibe.


You’ll no doubt want the size of your outdoor parasol to suit the furniture you’re covering. If you’re screening smaller dining sets, chairs, or a sectional sofa, seven feet is plenty wide. Most people opt for nine feet wide umbrellas in case they’d like to expand on their seating areas. In any case, you’ll want to measure the furniture you’re shading in hopes of making an adequate selection.

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