How to Choose an Outdoor Umbrella

Patio umbrellas shield you from the sun's harmful rays and offer a functional way to make your deck or patio more stylish. The way you use your patio umbrella helps determine which style of umbrella makes the best choice for your space. With so many canopy colors to choose from, it's easy to discover one that will coordinate with the rest of your outdoor decor and accessories. Choose a patio umbrella that features a color that pairs with your existing outdoor cushions, curtains, or home exterior.

Market Vs. Cantilever Umbrellas

Market umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas are the two most common types of patio umbrellas on the market. Octagonal umbrellas are commonly referred to as market umbrellas and are a popular choice for use in the center of an outdoor dining set.

When you're trying to shade a sitting area, a cantilever umbrella makes a great choice. The base can easily be tucked out of the way and the shade is large enough to extend over outdoor lounge furniture or an intimate bistro set. These umbrellas are also a solution for outdoor dining tables that don't feature a central hole to accommodate a traditional outdoor umbrella.

Anchoring Your Patio Umbrella

Your patio umbrella requires a supportive base to keep it upright. Frequently, cantilever umbrellas come with integrated bases. If you feel as though your cantilever base requires additional support, add umbrella weights designed to fit on top. Market umbrellas, on the other hand, usually require an umbrellas base sold separately. Look at the specifications of the base to make sure it is suited for your size umbrella.

Outdoor Umbrella Materials

A patio umbrella's durability depends largely upon the materials it is made from. Aluminum umbrellas are lightweight yet strong enough to hold up to windy days. When you are looking for something a little more traditional, an umbrella with a solid wood support pole makes a strong choice. When you select an outdoor umbrella constructed of wood, look for the type of wood that it is made from. Teak, eucalyptus, and bamboo are particularly resistant to the elements, extending the lifespan of the patio umbrella.

Features to Look For

No matter which style of umbrella you choose, there are certain features that help to increase functionality.

  • Vented Top: Umbrellas with a vented top panel allow heat to escape, thus keeping the space underneath a little bit cooler.
  • Tilt Mechanisms: Enjoy shade exactly where you need it by selecting an outdoor umbrella with a tilting function. A hinge located on the support pole allows you to tilt the canopy of the umbrella as the sun shifts across the sky, making it fully functional from sunrise to sunset.
  • Integrated LED Lights: Your umbrella can be a functional addition to your night-time dining experience when you select one with integrated LED lights. These lights can be solar powered or electric, depending upon the availability of an outlet in your space.
  • UV Resistant Materials: You want an umbrella that isn't going to fade with exposure to the sun. Choose an outdoor umbrella with UV resistance to keep the color looking vibrant for seasons yet to come.
  • Crank Operation: Traditionally, umbrellas are put up manually or with the use of a pulley. Make opening your umbrella even easier by selecting one with a crank operation.

Caring for Your Outdoor Umbrella

Keeping your patio umbrella looking like new is easy when you take proper care of it. An outdoor umbrella cover is a sleeve that slides over your umbrella when it is closed, protecting the material of the canopy from the elements and insects. Make sure the umbrella canopy is dry prior to placing it inside the cover to prevent mold and mildew from forming. These covers should be placed over your umbrella between uses and during storage. If you live in a dusty or salty region, hose off your umbrella regularly to clean the material.

Take your outdoor entertaining to the next level by enhancing the comfort of your space with a patio umbrella perfectly paired with the functionality of your deck or patio. At west elm, you'll discover everything you need to make your outdoor room as comfortable as your indoor spaces. Outdoor rugs, luxurious furniture collections, and patio umbrellas are just a few of the items that can transform the look of your outdoor living area.

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