Patio Umbrellas 101

Patio Umbrellas 101

Umbrella shopping is often robbed of adequate planning and forethought. Umbrellas are typically displayed with patio furniture, so they are purchased absentmindedly as if part of a set. This is a mistake because there are many options to consider in the vast world of umbrellas, and buying an umbrella with a set is a recipe for mediocrity.

Patio Umbrellas 101

patio umbrella

Side or Center Mount?

The average patio umbrella emerges from the center of the table, and it is generally out of the way but does limit some table space. Side-mount or cantilever umbrellas are projected from an arm that holds the umbrellas over the table. This is particularly practical for patio lounge sets or sets with generally low-lying furniture. The central entertaining area remains free of obstruction, but they do take up more room and place a ground hazard to the side of the seating area.

Tilting or Not?

As with anything in life, the more working parts there are, the more propensity there is for breakage. That is why many commercial, hearty umbrellas don’t have much room for adjustment. For home patio sets, not being able to tilt the umbrella could mean the difference between blistering sunshine and peaceful shade. It is a trade-off, but depending on where your patio umbrella is going to be located, a tilting umbrella could be crucial for adequate shade.

Double Top/Vented Umbrella

Umbrellas with double tops or vents are important for two reasons: cooling and wind. The heat of the sun blaring down on certain materials all day can make it very warm underneath the shade of an umbrella. This is particularly bad if you are keeping food on the table. A vent or double top allows the heat to escape. Vents also prevent the umbrella from becoming a sail in the wind

Pole Material:

A wooden umbrella pole is very glamorous image, but it is heavy. If you rarely remove your umbrella, weight may not be a big issue. If you regularly bring your umbrella into storage, you may want to opt for a lighter pole. If you don’t consider the ease of use when picking out an umbrella, it will take away from the enjoyment of your patio experience.


Do you want to crank the umbrella open or lift it until it reaches a desired point? There are automated options that make this option moot. The most important thing to consider with patio umbrella mechanisms is quality and ease-of-use. You should not dread opening or closing the umbrella, and the mechanism should have the quality to last years.

Pick Out the Right Umbrella and Enjoy Your Shade

Bringing shade to your patio is part of the luxury of patio sets, so make sure you are not just throwing the umbrella displayed with the patio set into your purchase. There are many options available for patio umbrellas, and a successful patio needs the perfect patio umbrella.

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