Patio umbrellas are in the middle of a fashion makeover! The typical round awning or drape style of beach umbrella is being replaced on fashionable patios and gardens with designs taken from markets and quaint cafes and bar patios. Many patio dining and side tables will have an umbrella hole, or you can place the umbrella in a stand or base if it doesn't come with one.
The ideal patio umbrella - also called sunbrellas - will be easy to open, close and tilt in any direction and have a well-constructed rib structure that will prevent it from flipping up in strong winds as well as having minimal contact with the umbrella fabric to reduce friction and wearing. You'll also want a good base as an anchor so strong winds won't lift and carry it to the garden on the opposite side of your house. I have seen this happen!
Umbrellas most commonly have a wood or aluminum powder-coated frame and rib structure, and are available in the broadest range of colors and fabric designs. You can even buy the frame and the cover fabric separately.
The fabric you choose for your outdoor patio umbrellas should provide UV protection and have a high color retention quality under prolonged exposure to light and sun, as well as being water and moisture resistant.
If your patio table umbrellas do get left in the rain, be sure to leave it open to let it air dry before closing it or storing it away to avoid mold and mildew. Most patio and garden fabric products can be cleaned with warm, soapy water, rinsed well and then air dried.
Patio umbrellas can seem surprisingly expensive for such a basic accessory, with some frames selling separately for about $150, a canopy for almost $300, and the complete umbrella for as much as $400 to $700. But you can find discount patio umbrellas, so shop around!
If patio umbrellas are not exactly what you are looking for, perhaps canopies are more suited to your needs?