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While traditionally you would expect garden umbrellas, outdoor furniture and porch swings to spike in sales during the warmer months, over late February 2021 these items have being trending in online sales, according to google retail trends.
It’s simple to see why: the last year has made us abundantly aware of our home surroundings, and clearly people are seeking to turn their outdoor areas into a comfortable one - perhaps, by chance, suitable for entertaining once it is allowed.
Consider it an act of hope, then, to invest in a great garden umbrella or parasol, a down payment on enjoying drinks and BBQs in the sun in the next few months.
Do I want a normal parasol, or a cantilever?
Normal parasols and umbrellas have minimal flexibility - you can’t really tilt them to alter the cast of their shade. By contrast, a cantilever parasol can flex it’s ‘hood’ away from the stand, to lend its shade to where you want it to go.
Cantilever parasols have the benefit of flexibility, the trade off is that normal parasols are generally sturdier (if you live in an exposed, windy area, this is a consideration).
What size should I go for?
At least 2 metres, to ensure a reasonable cast of shade. 2.4 metres is industry standard. Of course, if you have a larger backyard, go for something a little wider.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a larger parasol requires a stronger base unit, so make sure to purchase accordingly. Some models will come with the base unit included, other garden umbrellas comfortably fit into a garden table. If you don’t have a table and the parasol doesn’t have a base unit, we recommend this option, the Aria Resin Free Standing Parasol Base, £45.99.
Maryam 3m Cantilever Parasol
There’s very little to quibble with with the Maryam Parasol. With a 3 metre wide circumference, it offers a wide circle of shade.
A wind outlet in the canopy prevents the cantilever parasol from being buffeted about - notoriously an issue with these models. The base is included with the unit, and ensures the parasol itself is sturdy.
With a crank handle for open and closing, it’s no effort and all to put up or take down. Easy to assemble, too. A great choice.
Afer Balcony / Patio Parasol
Short of space? Don’t let that prevent you from having sundowners in the shade. This parasol sits flush against your wall, making it ideal for saving space. It will still cast three meters of shade, though, so even though it doesn’t take up too much space, it still provides plenty of room for sheltering. The charcoal grey looks great, too.
Bahamas Fir and Braided Vegetable Fibre Parasol
Want to make a statement? Bring a taste of the tropics to your garden with this lovely, Bahaman-style beach parasol. The canopy is made from braided plant fibre, and with a 2.2 metre diameter, is large enough to keep multiple family members covered (There’s also nylon in the upholstery - don’t worry, this will protect you from sun and light showers).
With a simple up and down lever, this is the type of dream parasol you want to lounge under with a tiki cocktail. Can’t go abroad? Go on holiday in your backyard.
Charles Bentley Hanging Cantilever Parasol Light 3M Grey
Charles Bentley cantilever parasols tend to sell out each summer, being - as they are - some of the best on the market, and very reasonably priced.
This hanging umbrella makes a great alternative to a more traditional parasol. Free-standing, you can place whether you want in the garden (you simply need a weight at the bottom to secure fast) - so the canopy can hang atop a BBQ or hot tub.
It’s easily adjustable, too, so you can tilt to cover as required, as the sun moves.
It comes without a base - we recommend pairing with Sturdi’s 25kh parasol base, a heavy, reliable number.
All Things Brighton Beautiful Garden Umbrella
Keep it simple and chic with this beach-style umbrella. Timelessly stylish, with the monochrome stripes, this parasol is a great choice if you’ve limited space and a lower budget. 1.8 metre in parasol, it provides reasonably shade coverage.
The canopy is durable and weatherproof, while the stainless steel pole is sturdy but light. A very reasonably priced, adaptable number.
Geisha Garden Parasol in Taupe
So elegant: this garden umbrella is modelled on traditional Japanese geisha parasols, and captures their serene beauty.
Available in five colours, it’s canopy is stretched across 24 fibreglass ribs, to give it the classical, beautiful form. But besides looking good, this umbrella performs well.
It has a weatherproof canopy, a strong aluminium central staff. To be put up and down with a non-sticking easy to use crank handle - it’s a distinctive, pretty choice. Please note, though, the base comes separately.
Camberra offset parasol
Want to throw some serious shade? You won’t find better than the Camberra offset parasol.
In sleek anthracite, this square offset parasol is ideal if you want to create a perfect al fresco dining room.
Three meters wide, it will provide ample coverage. The coverage is UV light proof, the canopy rain proof. It comes with a 100kg concrete base and is made of sturdy aluminium, so this parasol won’t be going anywhere in wind and rain. Big, beautiful, and strong: well worth the price tag.