Buyers guide to garden parasols
A garden parasol is a fantastic addition to any outdoor space, providing shade and protection from the sun's rays during hot summer days. Whether you have a spacious patio, a cozy balcony, or a lovely garden, a garden parasol can enhance your outdoor experience. However, with various options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. This buyer's guide will help you make an informed decision when purchasing a garden parasol.
The first consideration is the size you will need, measure the area where you plan to place the parasol to ensure it fits properly. Standard sizes range from 2 - 4m in diameter. Square, round, and rectangular shapes are commonly available. The shape you choose will depend on your personal preference, size of the garden furniture to be covered and the layout of your outdoor area. Make sure the parasol covers the whole of the garden furniture and not just a little bit of the table.
The most common materials used are aluminum which are lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust. They are easy to move around and require minimal maintenance and are ideally suited to a contemporary outdoor space.
Wooden poles offer a natural and elegant look, blending well with a quintessential English garden surroundings. However, they may require more maintenance and care to prevent weather damage.
Polyester is commonly used for the canopy fabric, being durable and water-resistant. Look for a parasol with a high-quality and UV-protected polyester canopy to ensure longevity and protection from the sun.
The stability of a garden parasol is crucial, especially during windy conditions so make sure it includes a base or opt for a sturdy base, preferably made of materials like concrete or metal, which can withstand wind gusts. Some parasols come with a built-in base, while others require a separate base or stand. Ensure the parasol and base are compatible and provide sufficient stability. Be aware we do recommend that the parasol be taken down if high winds are imminent or at the very least wrap up the canopy so that it doesn’t flap around. There are various styles of parasol available, those which go through the centre of the table don’t need a heavy base as the table provides some of the support. The disadvantage is that it cannot be moved unless it has a tilt mechanism. Free standing parasols need a heavy base but they can be easily moved if you choose a wheeled base, however they are much more flexible. If space is an issue there are wall mounted parasols but their flexibility is restricted. Our most popular parasol by far is the cantilever parasol which is extremely flexible, able to track the sun throughout the day.
Consider the opening mechanism of the parasol, as it affects convenience and ease of use. The common opening mechanisms include:
- A crank system which utilizes a handle or crank to open and close the parasol effortlessly and is the easiest to use.
- The pulley system is operated by a rope and pulley mechanism that requires manual operation to open and close the parasol.
- A push-up system is basic and involves manually pushing up the parasol and securing it in place so may not be appropriate if you have mobility issues.
A tilt function provides additional flexibility to block the sun's rays at various angles throughout the day. Some models offer a tilt feature that allows you to adjust the canopy position easily. This feature is particularly beneficial if you have a patio or garden with changing sun angles.
UV protection is essential when spending time outdoors, especially for children and adults with a sensitive skin, so look for a garden parasol with a high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating to ensure it effectively blocks UV radiation. A UPF of 50+ is recommended to provide optimal protection.
Consider whether you require any additional features or accessories that might enhance your parasol experience such as; LED lights, solar lights, heating and a cover. Lights and heat will allow you to use the parasol in the evening whilst providing some protection from the wind. A cover is essential in order to prolong the life of the parasol so if there is not one included consider a separate purchase.