A patio umbrella makes the backyard appear festive and welcoming. Getting out from under the sun and relaxing around a table in the cool shade of a patio umbrella appeals to nearly everyone. What could be better? Choosing a patio umbrella among the many styles and models available is an individual decision that will depend upon the style and color of the house, your backyard furniture and other aesthetic details, but some considerations are universal.
Patio umbrellas are sold by diameter, so the first consideration is size. The umbrella should ideally match the diameter of the table it will be shading. This creates aesthetic balance. If the umbrella is too small or too large, it will look mismatched to the furniture.
Durability is another important consideration. Materials today can be rip-resistant, mildew resistant and ultraviolet-protectant. Each of these features adds to the longevity of the patio umbrella. Additionally, a patio umbrella might come with a guarantee not to fade for three or more years.
If you live in a windy area and do not plan to take the patio umbrella down, you might consider a high wind model. This patio umbrella uses flexible fiberglass ribs instead of wood or metal. The fiberglass, much like a fishing pole, bends with stress and returns to its original form without breaking or stressing the canopy. A high wind patio umbrella might be rated to withstand winds up to 55 miles (88.5 km) per hour or more.
Virtually any patio umbrella of quality will feature a stainless steel mast with tilt feature for blocking sun at low angles. The standard patio umbrella has a crank handle for opening and closing the canopy, while a pop-up patio umbrella works like a rain umbrella; a metal sleeve slides up the pole and locks into place to extend the canopy.
Separate from the umbrella itself is the umbrella stand. This is a base that sits beneath the table. The umbrella pole passes through a hole in the center of the table, down into the stand where a nut tightens it in place. Stands are designed to give the patio umbrella stability and keep it from tipping the table over in breezy conditions.
A patio umbrella is a great way to make your backyard more enjoyable and beautiful. Patio umbrellas are available everywhere patio furniture is sold, and it is an investment you will enjoy every time you sit beneath it!