The right umbrella can keep you looking and feeling cool

13 May, 2014

A patio umbrella does more than just keep you cool. It can be a dramatic accent to your outdoor decor, and become the finishing touch on any theme you’ve designed. You can instantly add style and comfort to your patio or deck, and a bit of shade can make spending time outdoors even more enjoyable. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your sun shade by taking a look at the list below. It will give you some ideas on how to choose just the right umbrella for you:

The materials
The material you choose for your patio umbrella will depend a lot on where you live. If your backyard sees high winds, you may want to opt for a fiberglass design, versus aluminum. Fiberglass frames tend to bend with the wind, so you won’t risk your umbrella flying off in the middle of your dinner party!

The fabric is an important feature as well. You want to choose something that will stand up to whatever kind of weather your area throws at it. The last thing you need is rain dripping through onto your guests, or the color fading from the sun! Patio umbrellas can be found in a range of colors to suit your landscape, decor and style. Choose an umbrella with a bright color to pop against your garden background., Or, pick something more subtle like beige or grey that allows it to blend in seamlessly.

The size
The size of umbrella that you choose depends on how much space you are looking to shade. An umbrella that is too large for your patio will feel cramped, and one that is too small won’t provide much relief from the summer sun. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose an umbrella that is the width of your patio table, plus 2 feet on either side.

The height
The height of your umbrella is also an important feature. You don’t want it to be too tall, or it won’t keep anything cool! But if it’s too short you risk bumping into it, which is never fun when you’re enjoying the outdoors. The standard height for patio umbrellas is about 8 feet, which leaves room for your taller guests to walk beneath them. You can even opt for an umbrella that has a tilt-option, so you can adjust it depending on where the sun is and who needs to keep cool.

The base
The base is an important feature of the umbrella, so pay attention when you’re choosing one. You want to select an umbrella with a strong, substantial base to keep it from tipping over. The larger and taller the umbrella, the larger the base should be.

Free-standing versus table-anchored
Free-standing umbrellas are great if you plan to move them around to different parts of your patio or deck. Some come with wheels to make moving them easy. But, if you spend most of your time outside at the table, chatting or dining with friends and family, a table umbrella is your best bet. These are anchored at the center of the table and can keep everyone cool, comfortable and out of the sun.