If you enjoy spending time in your backyard, on your deck or patio, or around your pool, then you know that sometimes you need a break from the sun. That is why outdoor umbrellas are such a sought after accessory by many homeowners. An outdoor umbrella provides shade when you need it, keeping you cooler and protecting your skin from constant exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. Not only do outdoor umbrellas offer protection, but they are an aesthetic addition to your backyard space as well, and the type of umbrella you select typically sets the stage for the décor or style of your outdoor space.
There are two basic categories of outdoor umbrellas: outdoor furniture umbrellas and outdoor patio umbrellas. Among these two basic categories, are a number of different styles as well. What differentiates the two categories of umbrellas is how they are positioned. An outdoor patio furniture umbrella is made to work with an outdoor table.
The poles of these umbrellas are placed through a hole in the center of a table and then into an umbrella base that lies underneath the table. The umbrella can then be opened and provides protection and shade over the table. They are sometimes referred to as outdoor table umbrellas or outdoor market umbrellas as well, since they are made to fit through a table.
In contrast, an outdoor patio umbrella is a freestanding umbrella that has its own base, pole and canopy and can be positioned anywhere that it is needed. The pole of the umbrella extends from the base and then the umbrella canopy is overhead. In some models the pole remains vertical and in others, the pole is rounded or can be bent to position the umbrella over another piece of furniture or at any angle. Outdoor patio umbrellas do not necessarily need to be used on a patio. They can be used on a deck, near a pool, on the grass, or just about any place that has a level surface to hold the base. Outdoor patio umbrellas are sometimes referred to as outdoor offset umbrellas or cantilever umbrellas.
No matter which type of outdoor umbrella you choose, the umbrella will have three basic components: an outdoor umbrella stand, pole and canopy. If you select offset or cantilever outdoor umbrellas, the base pole and canopy will be part of one complete unit, although you will be able to select from among different canopy fabrics. If you select an outdoor market umbrella or table umbrella, on the other hand, you can usually select the base you want separately from the rest of the umbrella. This gives you the option of choosing a more decorative base, if desired.
One important thing to keep in mind when choosing an outdoor umbrella stand separately from the rest of the umbrella is that you have to make sure that you purchase one that is heavy enough to fit the size of the umbrella. Outdoor patio umbrellas stands come in a variety of different weights and the larger or taller your umbrella is, the heavier the weight of the stand should be. For example, if you have a small bistro table with a coordinating small outdoor umbrella, you should probably only need an umbrella stand of 35 lbs or less. Large outdoor umbrellas require stands that range from 40 – 100 lbs, depending on the size and height. If you are purchasing an outdoor umbrella stand for a freestanding umbrella that is not being placed through a hole in a table, then you should opt for stands in the higher spectrum of that weight range, or go with stands that are 100 lbs or more.
In addition to selecting the type of outdoor umbrella that best fits your outdoor décor and functionality, there are also a variety of accessories that you can add as well. Outdoor umbrella lights have become increasingly popular and offer an intimate atmosphere under your umbrella when the sun goes down. Outdoor umbrella lights are available in a variety of different styles, including those that wrap around the pole of the umbrella, those that hang from the support poles of the umbrella, those that can be strung around the edges of the patio umbrella, and there are also outdoor umbrella lights that sit at the base of the table where the umbrella goes through the hole in the table. Most outdoor umbrella lights are battery operated and there are now eco-friendly and solar powered umbrella lights available as well.
In addition to outdoor umbrella lights, other accessories include outdoor umbrella covers, to protect the umbrella canopy when not in use, replacement canopies if the fabric on your umbrella is becoming worn or outdated, outdoor umbrella fans to keep you cool on a warm day, and decorative accessories that can be hung from the interior of the umbrella support structure to add a bit of interest or whimsy to your patio area.
No matter what type of outdoor umbrella you choose, the addition of an umbrella in your backyard will offer protection from the sun and a cool getaway when the temperatures begin to soar.