Your Summer Guide: Selecting The Perfect Patio Umbrella

With Summer upon us, 'tis the season for pool parties, grilling, and making lasting memories with the ones we love. This means it’s prime time for entertaining! With hot days and warm nights, it may be time to stock up on your hosting essentials.

A vital outdoor item that will provide much comfort for your guests and an escape from the rays is a patio umbrella. Umbrellas don’t only supply shade, but add a luxurious feature to your poolside oasis or outdoor dining area. There are so many different variations and styles of umbrellas to choose from, so we’re going to give you the skinny on how to plan and pick one best suited for you.


A standard umbrella (left) compared to a cantilever umbrella (right).

Shape and functionality definitely come into play when it comes to the right umbrella for your home or business. A standard umbrella has all the usual features and functions that you would expect from a patio umbrella. The stand will either have a crank or manual lift option. As the sun moves, it can be awfully pesky to avoid. If your standard umbrella has a swiveling or tilting shade, it can prove very useful in this instance.

Cantilever umbrellas, or offset umbrellas, take practicality to another level. Because cantilever umbrellas have a pole and base that is attached to the side rather than the center, they allow for various decor and furniture arrangements. Our cantilever umbrellas provide 360-degree rotation with multiple tilt positions for personalized shade. These umbrellas typically feature larger canopies that supply greater sun protection. Check out the difference here:

Umbrella Sizing

Follow these measurements for an accurate umbrella sizing for your space.

First, let’s discuss which size will work best for your backyard or business environment. An umbrella that is too large can be overwhelming and throw off the entire balance of your outdoor arrangement. Your umbrella should typically extend over your dining table by 2 feet on each side. Here are some examples so you can gauge which size you may need:

  • Table = 30-36 inches — Umbrella = 6-8 feet
  • Table = 38-48 inches — Umbrella = 9-11 feet
  • Table = 54-60 inches — Umbrella = 11 feet or larger

Base Sizing

Utilize the right base to add shade to any outdoor seating arrangement or dining area.

The base of your umbrella is one of the most important factors. If your base is not heavy enough, your umbrella will flop, fly, and be carried away by swirling winds. Another useful addition would be a base support. This will further stabilize your base to combat conditions that may throw your umbrella for a loop. Below, you can find some size recommendations to keep your base steady:

  • 20 lb. Base – Used for smaller table umbrellas. Only suitable for 6′ table umbrellas.
  • 30 lb. Base – Used for 6.5′ table umbrellas.
  • 40 lb. Base – Minimum weight for free standing umbrellas up to 4.5′. Can be used for table umbrellas up to 7.5′.
  • 50 lb. Base – Accommodates up to 7.5′ freestanding outdoor umbrellas. Can also be used for table umbrellas up to 9′.
  • 70+ lb. Base – These bases can be used for most freestanding umbrellas up to 11′. If you live in areas that experience high winds, you should consider a commercial cantilever outdoor umbrella.

Fabrics & Materials

Umbrellas like this 11' Umbrella by Galtech are a great way to add a pop of color to your space.

Trying to select the right color, style, and texture of your umbrella can be daunting with so many options to choose from. Everything including metals and materials are customizable to match your space. Let’s make it easier for you to narrow it down.

Weather has a huge impact on material choices. If you live in a climate that is often windy, a fiberglass body provides flex, so it might be your best bet. Likewise, aluminum is very durable and is still a viable option. It is also lightweight, making it easy to move, arrange, and style your patio as you please. Aluminum is often powder coated as well to make it rust-resistant. This means that you won’t have to worry about any weather-related deterioration.

Many umbrellas are available in an array of colors, such as these Suncrylic fabric options.

As far as fabrics go, you’ll want to look for a few key phrases that will indicate a quality outdoor umbrella. All weather, waterproof and fade resistant fabrics, and breathable designs that prevent mold and mildew are highly recommended. Sunbrella is one of the most well-known names in outdoor fabrics. They began making awnings in the early 1960’s and have now graduated to making fabrics for umbrellas as well. Browse our best umbrellas made with Sunbrella fabric here.


Accessories such as integrated lighting can easily upgrade your umbrella's look and function.

There are a few different options as far as umbrella accessories go. Something that can really kick your evening ambiance up a notch is lighting. Nothing says Summer nights quite like the soft glow of string lights or lanterns. To capture the same sensation, we offer umbrellas with built-in lighting or a separate attachable component for easy and convenient illumination.

To keep your umbrella lasting through the years, it is good practice to keep it protected from weather and any other wearing conditions it may be introduced to over time. A simple solution would be to keep it covered while not in use. Take a glimpse at several of our other useful accessories and add-ons here.

Do you feel like an umbrella expert yet? If not, have no fear. Our website provides tons of options to suit your backyard paradise. Follow this guide and you’re sure to have a winning outdoor experience every time.

These 7.5' Square 101 Series Umbrellas by Jardinico are perfect for lounging poolside.

Look through more of our top umbrella brands like FIM Umbrellas, Galtech International, and Jardinico for tons of quality products. For additional information on our selection of umbrellas, or for any other inquiries, please feel free to contact us. Call Starfire Direct at (866) 578-8538, email us by filling out this simple form, or live chat with our team. We would love to bring your vision into a reality.

Main Image: 13' Octagonal 401 Series Cantilever Umbrella by Jardinico


Starfire Direct

The talented and knowledgeable staff of Starfire Direct pride themselves on being experts in the field of fire features, outdoor living, and beyond. Always at the forefront of upcoming trends and industry breakthroughs, the team at SD is ready and willing to help you make your dream space a reality, once piece at a time. Our business is helping you to Reignite Your Life.