Marketplace Features

Guide to Choosing the Right Umbrella

October 29, 2020
London Camaclang

This is our easy guide to determining what sun & rain protection suits your outdoor lifestyle.

1. Determine the size and shape

Time to step outside and bring a tape measure with you! How much cover are you looking for? If you are throwing shade on a lounge or play area, you are most likely looking for an umbrella that covers as much of the space as possible. More umbrella means more outdoor space can be enjoyed all year round.

For an outdoor table or cooking surface, we recommend allowing some buffer in your shaded area. The extra space ensures that your space stays covered wherever the sun is in the sky. About 2 feet should be sufficient.

What about umbrella height? Your umbrella should be 7 to 9 feet tall regardless of the type of area you are shading.

2. Gauge the level of rough weather

Patio umbrellas are made to survive in all kinds of weather. While you should always try to close your umbrella when the wind picks up, it's not always possible. If you're in the Pacific North West like us, you know that the rain can be constant during the winter months!

Gauging the amount of wind and rain your umbrella will need to withstand is a good starting point to choosing your umbrella material. An aluminum frame can withstand storms and bad weather, and it's lighter weight structure is good for people looking for a more versatile outdoor space.

If the umbrella will be outdoors all the time, aluminum's anti-corrosion properties will keep it looking shinier for longer. On the other hand, steel umbrella frames are stronger. A steel umbrella will last you longer in a more demanding climate.

3. Find a sturdy base or choose a cantilever

No matter the kind of umbrella, you will need a good base!

Our freestanding umbrellas do require a separate base. These are heavier, since they don't have the support of a table or additional supports. Whether decorative, sturdy, or on wheels, the base makes sure that your umbrella doesn't fly away.

For an open space, a cantilevered, or offset umbrella might be the best choice for you. In this case, the supporting pole of the umbrella is off to the side, and attaches to the top of your umbrella rather than the bottom. Standard umbrella poles can often get in the way of you outdoor furniture, or block your beautiful view.

Offset umbrellas are also particularly useful in shading benches or lounging sectionals, where you want to keep the space feeling open and bright.

4. Choose your favourite colour

This is the fun part! Lounging your afternoons outdoors requires some beautiful backdrops -- including a thoughtful umbrella accent.

The classic neutral colours for umbrellas are a great choice for contemporary homes. An off-grey neutral, onyx or deep blue will help mask any stains or debris. Cleaning your umbrella can be as easy as a yearly treatment, and proper storage.

If you haven't already chosen an accent colour for your backyard, an umbrella might be a great starting point. Bright marigolds make us feel bright; light blues and greens feel akin to the natural views of the outdoors; and a bright poppy is a rich accent that certainly brings personality!

For all other considerations, reach out to our staff and let us help. Even if an umbrella isn't just right for you, we can always look at Shade Sails or Pergolas to complete your outdoor space! We'd love to learn more about your outdoor lifestyle and help find the right solution.