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Garden Umbrellas

Updated on June 12, 2013

There’s something about an umbrella that feels so nice, isn’t there? On a warm, sunny day, spending time in the garden with friends or family, the shade from a garden umbrella is lovely, relaxing, carefree. Serve up a tall glass of iced tea or a gin and tonic with lime, and you are set to while away a summer’s afternoon. In the yard, the sun may be brilliant and hot, but here, underneath your garden umbrella, it is cool and perfect.

If you are looking for an umbrella for your garden, you might like a few tips on how to choose one and where you might go to buy it. Take a look below, and happy shopping!

Garden Umbrellas are a good addition to your home.
Garden Umbrellas are a good addition to your home.

A Good Garden Umbrella

What makes for a quality garden umbrella? What points should you specifically look for in an umbrella? First of all, of course, you want an umbrella top that will stand up to the elements. Umbrella tops come in a variety of materials, including weather treated canvas or other cloth, polyester, and vinyl. All of these materials can be sturdy and will make for different looks in an umbrella, but they should be thick enough to withstand the rigors of use. Will they hold up well on a breezy day? Will they keep their shape and strength and not dry rot or fade in the sun?

The garden umbrella pole should also be durable, whether made of wood, aluminum, or some other material. Make sure it is sturdy enough that it will not crack or bend or topple over in a sudden rain storm or on a particularly windy day. Also, make sure the pole is long enough for whatever use you may be putting your garden umbrella to. You will want plenty of head room and enough space beneath the umbrella to let in the breeze while keeping out the sun.

Finally, the hardware ought to be built to last. Many garden umbrellas can be tilted to follow the course of the sun or the changing breeze. Does the tilting mechanism snap tightly in place? Will it resist rusting and corrosion? Check the opening mechanism too to make sure the umbrella slides open smoothly. A smooth operation of the opener and the umbrella ribs can give you a great indication of the umbrella’s overall quality. And check that the ribs are heavy duty enough to support the weight of the umbrella top.

Finding a Good Garden Umbrella

Now that you know what to look for in a quality made garden umbrella, how to go about finding one? This will depend to a degree on how much you want to spend on a garden umbrella and the style of umbrella you desire, but here are a couple spots to check out to get you started.

First of all, you can stop by that source of almost everything under the sun, Target, to see some of the garden umbrellas that are available. Here you’ll not only find many, many umbrellas to choose from, Target also has a number of different umbrella bases to look at as well. Thus, you can mix and match the 9 foot Wood Market Umbrella with the Uptown Dining Umbrella Base or the fancier Tiverton 2008 Umbrella Base with the fashionable pink stripped 7.5 foot Patio Umbrella. This retailer has umbrellas in a wide range of prices too, so you can find one that matches your pocket book.

For some higher end options in garden umbrellas, take a look at some of the garden and patio specialty shops that feature designer umbrellas and accessories. For this type of garden umbrella shopping, try out the website at Umbrella Source. The people at the Umbrella Source will customize your umbrella according to your needs and specifications. These umbrellas are made with fiberglass, steel, or wood frames, and the tops can be made in a variety of colored and patterned fabrics. This retailer guarantees their umbrella fabrics against fading and staining for 10 years.

Classifying Umbrellas

For those just looking into the purchase of a garden umbrella, some of the terms used to classify these items may be confusing. Here is a basic run down of what these terms signify.

A patio umbrella is made with valances in the umbrella top. Valences are the flaps that hang off the perimeter of the umbrella, sometimes printed with the name of a café or restaurant. Beach umbrellas usually have these valances as well. Market umbrellas, on the other hand, do not have valances. This can be useful when sitting or standing space beneath the umbrella is more limited.

So, as you can see, the options in garden umbrellas are many. Choose your favorite and spend some cool time in the shade!

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    • Dale Nelson profile image

      Dale Nelson 8 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent advice and options to choose form. Thanks. Dale

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