How to Choose the Right Outdoor Umbrella Size
In this article, you'll discover information to help you:
- Types - Understand the different types of patio umbrellas
- Shapes - Learn which outdoor umbrella shapes and sizes work for your space
- Bases - Select the right patio umbrella base weight and pole height for your layout
Outdoor umbrellas are a must-have patio accessory, shielding back decks and poolside lounge areas from harsh sunlight and summertime drizzles. Their bright hues, strong fabrics and eye-catching patterns also add a pop of color and unique style to your layout. To add one of these chic and practical patio coverings to your space, consider what types, shapes and sizes would work best for you.
Types of Patio Umbrellas
While shopping for patio furniture, you may notice a few different outdoor umbrella options. Most stores offer three types of patio umbrellas, and each one serves a unique purpose. Before you can choose the right size umbrella for your space, you'll need to decide which of the following options would best suit your needs:
As the name suggests, patio table umbrellas shield your dining table from the sun and rain so you can enjoy outdoor meals in almost any weather. Whether you need shade for a small 3 pc bistro set or a large 9 pc dining arrangement, you can find a table umbrella to suit the dimensions of your space. Some popular colors for table umbrellas include:
A popular choice for balcony decor, tilting umbrellas are essentially adjustable table umbrellas. You can adjust the canopy throughout the day, using it as a sun or wind blocker depending on the weather and the direction of the breeze.
Offset or cantilever umbrellas have a full range of motion and a wide canopy to protect your chaise lounges, sofa, sectional or entire seating arrangement from intense sunshine. Freestanding umbrellas provide about 95 square feet of shade, making them the perfect options for full patio layout coverage.
Each patio umbrella type comes in a range of different sizes, so you'll need to measure your outdoor space to determine which model can provide the coverage you need.
ShapesHow to Measure a Patio Umbrella by Shape
Whatever type of outdoor umbrella you choose, it needs to be proportional to the rest of your patio setup. Canopies should be large enough to provide the necessary shade for your layout yet small enough to avoid a dark, crowded look.
Octagonal Outdoor Umbrellas
Most outdoor umbrellas have a round or octagonal canopy. Table models tend to be between 7 feet and 10 feet wide, while cantilever or freestanding umbrellas in this shape range from 9 feet to 11 feet in diameter. To find the exact dimensions, measure your round or octagon patio umbrella diagonally along the length of the ribs and through the center.
Wide octagonal patio umbrellas work best for round bistro sets and small seating areas.
Square Patio Umbrellas
Four-sided, square umbrellas let you create a cohesive look on a patio with a square outdoor dining set or U-shaped sectional. Some of the smallest patio umbrellas in this style measure 6x6, while larger freestanding models are usually 10x10. Measure along the edge of one panel to find the precise length of these umbrellas.
Rectangular Outdoor Umbrellas
Patio umbrellas with rectangular canopies ensure that each end of your rectangular or extending dining table gets protection from the sun. When measuring outdoor umbrellas, the length and width of the canopy should be similar to or longer than the corresponding edges of your table or sofa. Many rectangle umbrellas measure 8x10, but some models are about 6 feet wide and 11 feet long.
Patio Umbrella Stands and Bases
Selecting the right umbrella stand and base is just as important as choosing an outdoor umbrella with the right canopy dimensions. An umbrella with the wrong size stand can easily topple over from a stiff breeze or a gentle nudge. Most patio umbrellas come with the correct pole and base. If yours is the exception, use the following information to bring home the right umbrella stand for you.
Weights for Umbrella Bases
You'll need a heavy base to stabilize your umbrella and keep it from falling over or flying away. Depending on the size of your patio umbrella, you might have to add sand or water to the bottom of your umbrella stand to weigh it down. Weight recommendations for each umbrella size are as follows:
- Small patio umbrellas measuring between 6 and 6.5 feet wide need a 20 to 30-pound base.
- Use a 40-pound base to stabilize offset umbrellas under 5 feet wide and table umbrellas under 8 feet wide.
- A 7.5-foot cantilever umbrella or 9-foot table umbrella should have a 50-pound base.
- If your umbrella measures 10 or 11 feet wide, you'll need a 70-pound base to weigh it down.
Patio Umbrella Pole Diameter and Height
Umbrella poles should extend high enough to keep tall guests from bumping their heads when they stand up. They also need to be wide enough to ensure a snug fit in the umbrella stand or the tabletop and the base below. Generally speaking, your umbrella should stand at roughly 7 feet tall. Most umbrella poles are between 1.5 and 3 inches in diameter, depending on the canopy size.
Umbrellas with adjustable poles let you raise or lower the canopy to suit your needs.
Whether you're furnishing a spacious grand terrace or a small layout such as a condo deck or apartment patio, it's important to understand what size umbrella would work for your setup. Use this outdoor umbrella size guide during your next patio furniture shopping trip to ensure you bring home the perfect model for your space.