While sunshine is packed with vitamin D, sitting in it all day can get toasty (plus, it’s bad for your skin). Especially when summer comes around, you want to enjoy your outdoor space beneath a little shade. Fortunately, you have plenty of ways to keep the rays at bay, including patio umbrellas. Made with weather-resistant fabrics, these large umbrellas will expand the possibilities of your outdoor living space. What options do you have when ordering a portable, shade-creating umbrella? Let’s take a look:
Components of patio umbrellas
The pieces that make up a patio umbrella are numerous. Most parts come with your purchase, but some are sold separately.
The structure that supports the canopy, umbrella frames come in both center pole and cantilever designs. Comprised of a pole, rods/ribs and stretchers that hold the umbrella’s shape, frames come in several material options, such as wood, fiberglass and aluminum. Additionally, many frames are designed to tilt, giving you more control over the direction and angle at which your umbrella faces – after all, the sun isn’t always directly overhead.
Fabric fits over the frame, ultimately creating the shade you desire. Patio umbrella fabric is designed to withstand weather conditions, such as rain, and block ultraviolet rays. In fact, some fabric causes water to bead, making it easy to blot away when you want to fold up or store your umbrella.
Patio umbrellas are versatile in that they can be installed in several ways. You may recall seeing outdoor furniture that includes an umbrella – the pole sits into the center of a dining table. You can do that with modern patio umbrellas, but you have freestanding options as well.
Patio umbrella bases, made from materials like molded plastic, cast iron and steel, support the frame, allowing you to create shade wherever you need it, whether it’s over your poolside lounge chairs or near your outdoor dining set. Most bases are sold separately.
You can find umbrellas that feature a two-tiered look in which the center or topmost portion is slightly raised from the rest of the fabric. This construction allows wind and heat to escape out from under umbrella, making it less likely that the umbrella will blow away and cooler for those sitting underneath.
Types of patio umbrellas
To fit in with your backyard décor and meet your shading needs, patio umbrellas come in a few different styles. These include:
A popular style of umbrella around the world, market umbrellas traditionally feature a center pole design, have a wind vent at the top and offer a sleek, simple look. Often inserted into the center of an outdoor dining table, these umbrellas can also be used free standing with a base; for many options, the base needs to be purchased separately.
Some market umbrellas are designed to tilt, allowing you to angle the top to block the sun, no matter the time of day.
Instead of featuring a pole that rises to the center of the umbrella, off-set varieties are supported by a pole and base located on the side. The pole holds the canopy from above, allowing the canopy to hang overhead. This opens space under the umbrella for furniture and prevents the pole from getting in the way. This type of patio umbrella is ideal for shading a defined space in your yard, whether it’s a lounge section by your pool or an outdoor living room set.
Additionally, some off-set umbrellas do come with a base, but many will need to be purchased separately as well.
While many people choose their patio umbrella fabric based on color and pattern, it’s also important to pick out the right type of material for your outdoor space, as different fabrics have different benefits. Here are some fabrics to consider:
“Acrylic is one of the most popular umbrella fabric choices.”
Mildew-resistant, quick-drying and soft, acrylic is one of the most popular umbrella fabric choices. Sunbrella® is one well-known manufacturer of acrylic fabric. Along with being easy to clean, this option repels water and resists fading. Acrylic canopies also provide significant UV protection for those relaxing underneath.
Another synthetic fiber, olefin has many of the same benefits as acrylic. It’s fade resistant, fast drying, easy to clean and stain resistant. While, olefin isn’t as soft as acrylic fabrics, it is generally less expensive.
Polyester is the strongest of the synthetic fibers, and it’s quick-drying. However, it’s more prone to fading than other types of umbrella fabrics.
Between fabric and design choices, you can find a patio umbrella that suits your shading needs and the aesthetic of your yard.
What type of patio umbrella will fit in with your outdoor living space?
Click here to browse our selection of top quality patio umbrellas. Add style and shade to your backyard.