Why You Should Trust Us
The original author of this guide, Kalee Thompson, lived for more than a decade in Los Angeles, where the near-constant sun fuels an equally constant quest for more and better shade. After moving into her home there in mid-2010, she went through three 9-foot backyard patio umbrellas, each purchased for less than $100. The first was never the same after an epic 2011 windstorm. Carelessly left up, that umbrella was lifted by the wind and converted into a dangerous projectile that stabbed into a neighbors hillside . The second and third umbrellas simply got shredded by some combination of temperamental Santa Ana winds and incessant UV damage, after a little more than two years of year-round use.
Kalee examined the umbrella inventory at local stores, including Costco, Home Depot, IKEA, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Walmart, and systematically examined the much more extensive online offerings from the same, as well as from Amazon, Armstrong Garden Centers, Crate & Barrel, Design Within Reach, Lowes, Overstock, Restoration Hardware, Target, Wayfair, and West Elm. And she looked at the models from upscale umbrella suppliers Tuuci and Santa Barbara Designs the latter company makes gorgeous umbrellasincluding some that look like flamenco skirts or a shade for a popsicle cartthat are so expensive the prices go unlisted in the companys printed catalog.
To Our Valued Customers
We regret that due to technical challenges caused by new regulations in Europe, we can for the time being no longer accept orders from the European Union. If you reside in the UK you can continue to order from our UK websites or shop from our locations and partners. Visit West Elm at www.westelm.co.uk and Pottery Barn Kids at www.potterybarnkids.co.uk.
Matters of consumer privacy and rights are paramount to our brands and we will continue to work diligently to make our products available to you. The pace of global regulations is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our products everywhere.
We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding. Thank you for your patronage.
Upgrade Pick: Abba Patio Steel Market Patio Umbrella Base
*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.
For those who prefer a super-minimalist, ground-hugging base, the Abba Patio Round Steel Market Patio Umbrella Base is by far the sleekest one we tested. But it is also the most expensive for its weight, just 55 pounds . The base is an ultra-thin and flat solid steel disc that measures 27.5 inches in diameter, wider than most bases we tested. After about a year of using this base through the powerful Santa Ana winds in Los Angeles, our tester says its been really stable, even in really windy conditions.
Other than being frustrating to grasp and lift the disc before the neck is attached, the Abba Patio base is intuitive and simple to put together. It comes with a hefty 6½-inch-long hex key for securing the neck to the base from the bases underside, and the umbrella pole inserts directly into the shaft of the neck and secures with two screw knobs, like our top pick. The hex key gave an extra bit of leverage that made us feel confident in the sturdiness of the connection. And the double screw knobs were the nicest ones we encountered in testing, made of sturdy, smooth plastic and generous in size for good leverage, making it both faster and more pleasant to screw the umbrella pole snugly in place.
The base will work with an umbrella with a pole diameter between 1 and 1½ inches.
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Also Great: Hampton Bay 10 Ft Aluminum Auto
*At the time of publishing, the price was $109.
The Hampton Bay 10 ft. Aluminum Auto-Tilt Market Outdoor Patio Umbrella is a great option for about half the price of our top pick. The Hampton Bays canopy is made of Olefin, a durable and thick fabric thats more affordable than the popular Sunbrella fabric. Like our top pick, this umbrella has a lightweight yet sturdy aluminum pole, but the ribs under the canopy are made of steel. Even in high-wind conditions on a balcony in San Francisco, the Hampton Bay opened up smoothly enough. It also comes standard with the easier-to-use crank-tilt mechanism for tilting the umbrella, which is a pricier additional feature in our top pick. The pole comes with a two-year limited warranty, which is the same as on our top pick. But the Hampton Bays Olefin fabric doesnt have the robust five-year warranty of Sunbrella fabric, which is the option we recommend in the Treasure Garden umbrella.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
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Budget Pick: Sunnyglade 9 Patio Umbrella
The Sunnyglade 9 Patio Umbrella is a good budget option if you need something cheap that will do the job for a few summers. The fabric on this canopy is made from polyester, which will not be anywhere near as durable as Sunbrella fabrics. But in our dirt tests, we had to really massage the particles into the fabric to get them to set. This umbrella comes in a reusable plastic sheath, which you can store the umbrella in to extend its life. Most of the other umbrellas we tested came in a single-use plastic package. The manufacturer does not claim fade resistance, and we correctly expected that this red umbrella would eventually lose some of its color. One tester, who has been keeping the umbrella out under LAs glaring rays for about a year, said the color has faded. But she said this has diminished neither her enjoyment nor the umbrellas performance. Well keep an eye on long-term fading and durability as we continue testing.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
Fabric: An umbrella is only as good as its canopy, and material largely dictates overall quality. Usually found on pricier models, Sunbrella is a top choice among experts because the brands durable performance fabrics resist the elements and provide true sun protection. They are designed with innovative technology that dyes them at the fiber level to be UV- and fadeproof, allowing them to retain their beauty even when exposed to direct sunlight, says Kirk Fitzsimmons, director of industrial sales at Sunbrella. They are also easy to clean and resistant to mold and mildew. To further size up the sun-protection factor of a canopy fabric, he suggests looking for third-party accreditation vetting, like Sunbrellas Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation for UV protection.
Mechanism: There are various mechanisms to lift and tilt the canopy on an outdoor umbrella, and certain ones make more sense depending on typical use and the type of setting. Consider the size of the umbrella and how often you are putting it up and down, says Fitzsimmons. A pulley might be the right choice if youre adjusting your shade frequently throughout the day, whereas a crank is a great option for an umbrella that sits near the pool and is opened just once or twice per day.
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Once You’ve Figured Out Size And Coverage How Do You Find A Patio Umbrella That Fits The Rest Of Your Patio Style
“If you want your umbrella to meld in the natural setting, think neutral colors like white, gray, and beige or even subtle greens and blues. If you want your umbrella to make a statement, check out umbrellas in vibrant colors or patterns,” said Yost.
“If you’re in a city, we prefer a bold, fun pattern to add a pop of color to the gray cityscape, but if you’re near a lake or beach, the piece shouldn’t compete with nature,” said Lee.
Pro Tips For Styling A Patio Umbrella
If youre starting from scratch, choosing an umbrella first can be a great way to dictate the vibe of your space, says Owens. For example, if youre going for a fun colored umbrella with tassels, youll likely want to carry that maximalist style throughout the rest of your patio. Looking for something more subdued yet with a bit of personality? I love seeing bold color on patios or by the pool, but a classic stripe is a great way to add a little pattern and whimsy, says Fenimore.
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How Do You Maintain A Patio Umbrella
Umbrellas crafted from high-quality materials can stand up to water, sun, and wind. Still, a few small steps can help make your umbrella last longer. Wipe down the canopy and stand once a month with a soft cloth and a gentle cleanser.
“Finding an umbrella with fabric with the color as part of the material, and not dyed, will help retain the color in outdoor conditions,” Yost said. “When it comes to extending the life of your umbrella, it’s a great idea to store it when it’s not in use. Either bring it in a garage, or you can find an umbrella cover for the material and the stand.”
Just make sure everything is fully dry before you pack it away.
Modern Outdoor Patio Umbrellas Sun Shades & Umbrella Stands
For those who love the sun but don’t love the sunburn, a modern outdoor umbrella is a must in any outdoor relaxation space. Set a alongside the edge of an inground pool with a rectangular outdoor umbrella. Or, try something a little more unique with a hanging outdoor umbrella featuring a graceful arc and a tropical feel. Add a couple of outdoor lounge chairs underneath and voilàa comfy oasis. When you’re ready for a change of pace, adjust the outdoor umbrella to your liking: higher for more exposure to the sun, and lower for less. Another good spot for a unique outdoor umbrella: over your . Shade open-air eating areas with a white patio umbrella to reflect sunlight away or a striped patio umbrella to create a classic beachy look. Serve up refreshing snacks and a round of iced drinks in to keep your guests cool. For city dwellers who miss the coast, no worries an outdoor sun shade is sized just right for use atop penthouses and in outdoor lofts. No matter what style you choose, modern outdoor umbrellas and sun shades add a practical and pretty finishing touch to any sunny spot.
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What Size Umbrella Is Best For Your Space
“Think about the sun pattern in your yard,” said Lenhart. “Even if you have a large space, you might not need a huge umbrella if you’re able to angle it to block the sun and shade the area you are enjoying.”
In addition to sun pattern, consider the size of the space where you’d like to place the umbrella, as well as the surrounding foot traffic. “Do you have room for a standalone umbrella, or should you look for a table that allows for an integrated umbrella? A good rule is to allow for three feet around the umbrella to circulate,” said Blythe Yost, a landscape architect and cofounder of online landscape design service Tilly.
Our Patio Umbrella Research Methodology
We determined the best patio umbrellas through a combination of research and expert input. We spoke with Kevin Lenhart, a landscape architect and design director for online landscape design service Yardzen Melissa Lee, the founder and creative director of design firm Bespoke Only Danu Kennedy, design director of creative design firm Parts and Labor Design and Blythe Yost, a landscape architect and cofounder of online landscape design service Tilly.
Using insights and brand recommendations from our experts, we chose two to three options per category, keeping a variety of sizes and prices in mind.
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Creating A Shoppable Landscape Design Tailored To Your Style
Yardzens award-winning online exterior and landscape design service is tailored to homeowners across the U.S.. Our design process begins with understanding your outdoor space and styleand a discussion of your budget and vision to minimize surprises when it comes time to build.
Our top-notch designers then develop a personalized vision for your yard, shared through 3D renderings, 2D plan drawings, and plant and material lists. Your design will capture the look, feel, and function you are hoping for, and will be outfitted with materials and elements from our retail partners that you or your contractor can actually purchase.
Once your design is complete, well help you connect with a local contractor from our Pro Network of vetted professional contractors to install your new design.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
Although you can order the Treasure Garden Market Aluminum umbrella in near-infinite styles, ordering certain options may involve a delay of several weeks, and stock has been in and out for certain styles.
Southern California in-store experts Bawsel and Hoodless both said that even though a Treasure Garden umbrella is likely to last a decade, some fading of the fabric is occasionally noticeable after about five years. Sunbrella manager Allen Gant III explained that red umbrellas, due to inherent qualities of the dyes, can be more susceptible to fading than other colors, particularly in places with notably harsh year-round sun.
Two of our testers have reported that the push-tilt button on their umbrellas broke during use. One tester told us, We rarely use the button, and Im not even sure how it broke, but now the umbrella wont stay upright. Fortunately, it occurred within the one-year warranty, and she will receive a replacement umbrella. Another tester believes the button broke because I accidentally knocked it over pretty hard while cleaning it one day. Our tester admits this was a user error on her part and hasnt looked into fixing it yet since she rarely uses the feature.
The umbrella does not come with an umbrella cover. You can add one on to your order, but it will cost you an extra $42.
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Outdoor Patio Umbrellas Provide Style And Sun Protection
Add an outdoor patio umbrella to your backyard entertaining space for easy shade on sunny days. Look for an outdoor umbrella from a popular brand such as . Be sure to opt for a yard umbrella that meshes with your , whether it’s round or rectangular. Working with a dining surface at pub height? Try an outside table umbrella tall enough to block out the sun as you enjoy cocktails or lemonade. Tilt-frame models allow for adjustment depending on the sun’s trajectory. If you’re looking for a large patio umbrella to shelter your , try a 10′ cantilever umbrella with a telescoping armeasily adjustable based on your needs. Be sure to add an umbrella base for sturdy support. For extra mobility, consider an outdoor umbrella stand with wheels that’s easily movable during casual lounging or backyard barbecue parties.
Also Great: Shademobile Rolling Umbrella Base
*At the time of publishing, the price was $176.
At a maximum of 125 pounds, the utilitarian Shademobile Rolling Umbrella Base is far heavier than any other umbrella base we tested. While it is less convenient to set upit is the only one in our test group that you have to fill yourself, and requires screwing shut after fillingits four wheels allow you to reposition your umbrella more easily than many other bases.
The Shademobile is made of high-density polyethylene, which will most likely have more longevity than the plastic of less expensive bases. The Shademobile arrives empty, weighing just 22 pounds. Once you fill it with bricks and/or sand, it can weigh up to 125 pounds, making it an extremely stable choice for a standalone 9- or 10-foot umbrella. Though the company advises against using this base for cantilevered umbrellas, its stable for even 12- and 13-foot upright umbrellas, according to company head David Taylor, who argued that his base makes an upright umbrella more versatile than many cantilevered models. Its almost like the tail wagging the dog, he told us. The base is as important as the umbrella, because of the added functionality. Although this model could fit beneath many dining tables, because of its size, it doesnt make sense to buy this type of base if your umbrella stays over your tabletop.
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Traditional Vs Cantilever Umbrella Which Should You Buy What Are The Pros And Cons Of Each
“The biggest pro of traditional umbrellas is that they get the job done at a relatively low price. They stand up to harsh and windy conditions and require little maintenance. They also tend to be less expensive,” said Lenhart.
Danu Kennedy, design director of creative design firm Parts and Labor Design, likes cantilever umbrellas because “you don’t have to interrupt the seating connectivity to place the umbrella, but they tend to be a little more clunky whereas a traditional model is perhaps more easily worked into the aesthetic.”