After an afternoon of soaking up the sun on a warm summer day, there is nothing like returning to a nice cool and relaxing shaded area where we can replenish ourselves with a yummy snack and an ice cold beverage. After reviewing so many options for outdoor living spaces the last few weeks in our What’s Trending articles, there is one more item that is an absolute necessity— an umbrella. Adding an umbrella will make sitting out in the warm sun so much more enjoyable.
When choosing an umbrella, take a look at the amount of sun, wind and other possible weather conditions to get the process started. Then, evaluate the space and the look you’re going for when considering type, material, tilt methods, frames, size and the base.
When browsing through the many available umbrella options Design Alliance has to offer, you’ll find Market, Commercial and Cantilever umbrellas will predominate. A market umbrella is a higher quality umbrella than typical residential umbrellas (mostly for home patios, fits through a table top and is attached to a base). Market umbrellas usually have a vented top and are used for residential and light commercial purposes. They are known for their octagonal shape and their wooden frame, and they come in a large variety of solid colors and stripes.
Commercial umbrellas are designed and constructed for heavy-duty use. They typically come in a standard design with only a few style options to choose from and are commonly used for restaurants or other outdoor events.
Cantilever umbrellas have their pole offset to the side of the umbrella and are secured to their own base. Most support 360° rotation and come in round, square and rectangular shapes. The umbrella extends over the table or seating area without a pole in the middle to get in the way.
Frames are generally constructed from aluminum, wood or fiberglass. Each material offers its own benefits, and the better option really comes down to personal preference and the environment in which the umbrella will be used.
Aluminum is the most common material used to make umbrella poles and frames. This metal is lightweight, durable, and has a nice appearance. It is also economical, and patio umbrellas with aluminum frames are typically much less expensive than other types of materials. Additionally, aluminum is resistant to corrosion, so it can stay outdoors during all types of weather. Aluminum umbrella frames generally come in a variety of configurations for opening, closing, and tilting.
Wooden frames are perhaps the most expensive type of material available. The wood frame has a sophisticated appearance. Most wooden umbrella frames have been treated to handle the weather outdoors, but they are not as durable as aluminum frames. Wooden frames won’t be able to handle extended exposure to rain, sunlight and cold temperatures.
Because of the nature of wood, fiberglass frames and poles are perhaps the most durable. Fiberglass is lightweight, flexible, and resistant to wind and weather. Because the umbrella is flexible, it can bend slightly during heavy wind and won’t break. Also, because fiberglass is non-corrosive, it will last for a long time, making it a good investment in the long run.
Tilt methods are very important. Since the sun moves across the sky, the ability to adjust shading angles is a must. The most common tilt methods are crank, push button and collar tilt. A crank tilt is very easy to use. The crank is used to open the umbrella and tilt it. Once the umbrella is open to desired amount of shade simply stop cranking and the umbrella then locks into place automatically.
A push button tilt is a more affordable option but is harder to adjust. The crank on these umbrellas will not control the tilt. Instead they have a button that is pushed manually to get the umbrella at the desired angle.
The collar tilt is a simple system. The umbrella is simply twisted at the collar to adjust the frame angle. There is no need to get up to adjust the tilt, and it can easily be done while sitting at the table. Rotating the collar in the opposite direction will move the umbrella back to its original position.
Next is to choose the right size for the umbrella. A standard umbrella is 8.5’ tall and it should extend well beyond the edge of the table so everyone at the table receives ample coverage. Refer to this chart for reference when picking out a size.
Table Size (diameter)
Umbrella Size (diameter)
|30-36 inches||6-8.5 feet|
|38-48 inches||9-10.5 feet|
|54-60 inches||11 feet and up|
When selecting a base, the outdoor area’s weather conditions should drive your decision. In most cases bases are sold separately. The purpose of the base is to hold the umbrella in position so that it does not fall over or blow away. The base must be weighed down in order to make this happen. The amount of counterweight needed to anchor the umbrella depends on its size. Umbrellas that have a diameter of less than nine feet will need about 50 pounds of counterweight, while umbrellas that are larger than nine feet will need 75 pounds or more. There are plenty of stylish options to choose from.
Design Alliance offers umbrellas year round that complement any outdoor space. Take a look at a some of the beautiful options carried from some of our vendors. With so many options to choose from you’ll certainly be able to fuse the creativity of outdoor design with environmental practicality. Contact Design Alliance for orders and inquires today!