Enhancing your outdoor space with a patio umbrella is a practical and budget-friendly way to add shade and style. However, selecting the ideal umbrella for your backyard can be challenging if you’re unsure about the specifics that suit your needs best. To help you make the right choice, here are seven crucial factors to consider when choosing the perfect patio umbrella that complements your lifestyle and outdoor setting.
1. Position and Placement:
Consider where you intend to place the patio umbrella to ensure it serves its shading purpose effectively. There are two primary options for umbrella placement: through-table and freestanding. Freestanding umbrellas work well in large outdoor areas, providing shade to various patio furniture arrangements. On the other hand, a through-table umbrella is placed in the center of a patio table and acts as a focal point for the outdoor space.
2. Sturdy Umbrella Stands:
The umbrella stand or base is crucial for providing support. Choose a heavy-duty base that can withstand various weather conditions. For freestanding umbrellas, opt for a heavier base than what’s required for through-table umbrellas to ensure stability and durability.
3. Size Matters:
The size of the umbrella is determined by its diameter. Measure the table, chairs, or area you want to shade before selecting the appropriate size. As a general rule, the umbrella should be at least 4 to 5 feet larger than the intended shaded area for optimal coverage.
4. Frame Material:
Select the frame material that best suits your needs and complements your patio’s theme. Metal frames typically feature push-button tilts or crank lifts, allowing you to adjust the umbrella’s angle. They come in various finishes like black, champagne, or white. Wood frames, often made of hardwood or teak, are manually operated using a pulley method and cannot be rotated.
5. Tilt Options:
Umbrellas come with three tilt methods – collar tilt, crank tilt, and push-button tilt. The collar tilt method is the most common and user-friendly, allowing you to tilt the umbrella by rotating a collar on the frame.
6. Quality Canopy Materials:
The primary purpose of a patio umbrella is to protect against harmful UV rays. The effectiveness of this protection depends on the quality of the canopy material. Common materials include PVC, canvas, and shade cloth. PVC canopies block 100% of UV light and withstand harsh weather conditions. Canvas canopies are durable and effective in blocking out the sun but require waterproof treatment. Shade cloth blocks 90-95% of UV rays and offers some resistance to rain but is not entirely waterproof.
7. Types of Patio Umbrellas:
- Center Pole: The most common type, supported by a central pole with ribs spreading from it. Best used with a solid and heavy base for stability.
- Crank and Tilt: Similar to center pole umbrellas, but with a crank device that allows you to adjust the umbrella’s angle. Ideal for large outdoor spaces.
- Cantilever: Hangs to the side of its frame, supported by a curved arm on one end. Perfect for shading large areas with dining sets or poolside furniture due to its 360-degree rotation capability.
- Pavilion: A square-shaped, corner-supported structure suitable for large outdoor spaces. Often used in beaches or parks as temporary dining and entertainment areas.
By considering these guidelines, you can confidently select the perfect patio umbrella that complements your outdoor space, providing the shade and style you desire. Enjoy your time outdoors under the protection of a well-chosen and stylish umbrella!