What are the Best Features of a Patio Umbrella?

Outdoor areas are becoming popular in residential houses, with good indoor-outdoor flow being one of the main selling features for the modern family home. The perfect space for family time or entertaining guests, it is essential to get the indoor-outdoor vibe right.

Adding an element of shade is important to make the outdoor area comfortable and practical for use in hot weather and protection from the elements - whether that’s rain or shine.

If you want to provide cover, but not box in your outdoor space, a patio umbrella is an economical and practical choice. Your area needs to be functional but also look good - a quality outdoor umbrella gives you that diversity - you can choose whether you want it open or closed and they come in a range of colours, shapes and sizes, giving you the freedom to get the best fit for you.

The following are features of a patio umbrella, along with examples of spaces that have been enhanced through the addition of outdoor shade.

The Umbrella Canopy

This is the most important part of the patio umbrella - it's the shade cover! The fabric needs to be fade-resistant and made to withstand the sun’s harsh UV rays. If you use fabric with the right properties, you can choose any colour to complement your area without worrying about discolouration from the sun. To learn more about this read our Sunbrella article here.

Size

Make sure the size is fitting for the patio area. You have many different options, with single, double, triple and quadruple canopies available. If you are unsure about what would work with your space enlist the help of a shade designer, who will offer you free expert help. They will be able to create a shade plan that is specific to you. Get in touch with the shade experts for a layout plan.

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Umbrella Pole

There are different types of poles available for patio umbrellas - cantilever, centre pole, offset or wall mounted system.

1. Wall Mounted

Wall Mounted Umbrellas are perfect for compact places, use clever cantilever umbrellas that are mounted to the wall instead of the floor to keep compact spaces clear of mounts and poles.

2. Center Pole

The center pole umbrella is ideal for a table area, where the one-piece pole can sit in the centre of your table, this is the most traditional patio umbrella.

3. Cantilever Umbrella

And, of course, we have the cantilever umbrella. This is an elegant and practical option giving shade away from the pole, allowing ease of movement under the canopy. The latest umbrella on the block, they are fast becoming the most popular option.

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Ease of Use

Ease of use needs to be considered when choosing your patio umbrella. Is it easy to operate - to put up and down? Make sure you take a look at how it works, a supplier should have a video that explains how to use their umbrella. Things to keep in mind are the quality and strength of the materials used. Often a string or pulley-based system can perish outdoors, leaving the opening mechanism weak and brittle.

Storage of umbrella

Does it come with a good quality cover and is it easy to put on and take off? The great thing about umbrellas is they can be removed when not needed, which is handy if you have a multi-purpose outdoor area, or want to use the space in a different way. Also great to store if you don’t use your outdoor patio in the colder winter months.

Umbrella base and mounting options

The base of the patio umbrella is also important. The base needs to hold the umbrella in place to protect against high winds and not to tip over or present a danger to those around it. Also you should consider it placing in a way so as not to be a tripping hazard. Look for a base that won’t tip over and will support the weight of the umbrella. For an alternative, effective solution, consider fixing the umbrella via bolts into concrete or to a deck with a poured concrete ground fixing.

For more information on patio umbrella options and features, browse our umbrella products to find the best fit for you.

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