Just how much of a difference can an umbrella change an outdoor space? It may not seem like much, but the right umbrella is the glue that ties all of the other pieces together, creating an attractive and welcoming patio. In contrast, the wrong umbrella will be just another unwelcome sight in a chaotic patio.
When it comes to selecting the perfect patio umbrella, there is no universal advice that is applicable to all situations. Different homeowners have different preferences and different elements already in place on their patios. It is entirely up to the homeowner to decide what he or she needs, and this guide will point you in the right direction.
1. Picking the Right Size
One of the most important features, if not the most important, is selecting a patio umbrella that is of suitable size. If it’s too small, then you will eventually invite sunlight to your table when you want shade. Conversely, too large of an umbrella can overpower a small patio, taking away from its natural aesthetic.
Hence, décor experts recommend that potential customers first measure the area that requires shade prior to making a purchase. The bare minimum size of an umbrella should at least be the width of the table. For the most optimal results, the umbrella should actually be 4 feet wider (2 feet on each side) to ensure that no unwanted sunlight will invade your shade.
Buyers who are already aware of their table size can reference this chart below to determine the most suitably sized umbrella.
|Table Diameter (inches)||Umbrella Diameter (feet)|
|30 to 36||6 to 8|
|38 to 48||9 to 11|
|54 to 60||11 or larger|
Typically, the size of patio umbrellas range from 4 to 11 feet. In some instances, manufacturers produce umbrellas that are as large as 13 feet in diameter. Having this much coverage allows you the luxury of pulling back chairs while still remaining in the shade.
2. Determining the Height
Now that you’ve determined the width, another important feature to consider is the height, especially if you plan on using the patio to host parties. The ideal outdoor umbrella needs to stand tall enough to accommodate tall adults, but should not tower so much that it loses effectiveness as a shade provider. To strike that right balance, landscape designers advise that homeowners find an umbrella somewhere in the 7 to 8 foot height range. Anything too high or too low will run into problems.
3. Selecting the Tilt Mechanism
Patio umbrellas are designed to shade users from the sun. However, they don’t always do that successfully because the sun is constantly moving. Therefore, to address the shifting of the sun, most umbrellas nowadays include a tilt function that allows an individual to adjust the angle of the umbrella for continued coverage. Depending on the model of umbrella, the tilt mechanism may not always be the same. Typically, there are three main styles of tilt systems: collar, auto-tilt, and push button.
|Push button||Pressing a button beneath the umbrella ribs lets the user adjust the tilt angle||IntuitiveProvides lasting results|
|Collar||Turning a collar lets the user adjust the tilt||Numerous tilt optionsSimple|
|Auto tilt||Rotating a crank lets user adjust the tilt||Manual setting not requiredCan be adjusted while seated|
Prior to closing the deal, shoppers ought to check the type of tilt that the specific model offers. In general, these three choices are all effective and the decision one needs to make is one based on personal preference. Some individuals might choose to the ease provided by the auto tilt style while others might decide on the collar tilt for a wider range of angles.
4. Selecting the Fabric
The canopy of a patio umbrella should not just be picked based on how well it looks with the other elements of your home, though this is still important. The material it is constructed from is also crucial in determining how well it works. Some umbrellas sport canopies made from breathable fabrics. These are optimal for use in the summer months since they allow water vapors through, which helps cool the users.
Outdoor umbrellas should have UV-resistant fabric that blocks the harmful rays of the sun, while being mildew-resistant. The most important consideration is to pick a fabric that has practical benefits. Brands such as Sunbrella have become a staple due to their large spectrum of features offered by its products.
5. Accounting for the Base
Since patio umbrellas need to remain fixated to the ground, it is necessary to have an effective base. A solid base as the foundation will provide stability and keep it standing during harsh winds. There are various sizes of bases for umbrellas (is this even a surprise anymore?). Taller umbrellas will require bigger and heavier bases. Customers need to make sure their base is sturdy enough to hold the umbrella up proudly and complete the look of your patio.
Photo Credit: pootpoot1999